Chocolate & Wine cheers crowd

BY STACI WILSON

Mother Nature must be a chocolate and wine aficionado.

After days of clouds and rain, the sun brightened Montrose during the fourth annual Chocolate and Wine Festival making way for the crowds to enjoy samples of wine and gourmet fare.

The event’s coordinator Tom Follert said, “This year’s festival was beyond our best expectations. Perfect weather, great vendors and incredible music.”

Chocolate & Wine Festival-goers line up to sample Antler Ridge Winery offerings, including award winners from past PA Farm Shows.

Follert estimates about 2800 people attended this year’s fourth annual festival.

Proceeds from the annual festival benefit building funds for the Montrose library branch and Endless Mountains Health Systems.

Gourmet food vendors and 11 wineries and one brewery offering samples and tastings were featured during the four hour Montrose festival.

Fastball was the featured performer on the Chocolate & Wine Festival stage. Local favorite The Lonnie Griffiths Band also made its fourth festival appearance.

After attendees’ thirst and hunger was sated, rock band ‘Fastball’ took the stage, performing hit songs “The Way” and “Out of My Head” from their repertoire.

Local non-profits were also involved in the event, including the United Way, Montrose United Fire Company & True Friends Annual Welfare Center.

Cabot Oil & Gas, a festival sponsor, also pledged a dollar for dollar match in funds donated during the event to the shelter that is now under new, local management.

Dessert contest winners were announced with Judy Phillips’ wine soaked chocolate cake nabbing a first place win. Second

By early afternoon, only a few samples remained of Judy Phillips’ wine soaked chocolate cake that took first place honors in the Chocolate & Wine fest’s dessert contest on Saturday.

place was awarded to Kay Garner for her chocolate walnut torte; and third place went to Betty Humpter’s chocolate stout cake.

The “chocolate quilt” raffle was won by Kathy Woodward.

In conjunction with the festival, a juried art show, ‘focus,’ was held at Butternut Gallery and Second Story Books. Tom Noone’s ‘Betty Grable Table’ took the Best in Show award.

This piece, ‘A Gathering of Friends,’ by Laurel Nugent Bergin received the Chocolate & Wine Festival Award as part of ‘focus,’ a juried art show currently on display at the Butternut Gallery in Montrose.

The Wine & Chocolate Festival Award was given to Laurel Nugent Bergin for her piece, ‘A Gathering of Friends.’

Juried awards went to Andrew Gardner, Best 3-Dimensional; Brian Keeler, Best Painting; and Paul Funke, Best Photograph.

Honorable mentions were awarded to Dorothea Fitzgerald, Kirk VanZanbergen and Roger Hayes.

Awards in a new category this year, Jurors Citations, went to Marc Chuck, Earl Lehman and Marc Schimsky

Those visiting the gallery in upcoming weeks may cast votes for the people’s choice award until June 4. That award will be announced on that date.

True Friends Animal Welfare Center director Dory Browning and a Yorkie terrier she is currently fostering greeted people at the festival. True Friends is a locally operated non-profit organization taking over operations of the Montrose Shelter from the PSPCA. Cabot Oil & Gas, a festival sponsor, matched funds collected at the fest for the shelter.