Chocolate & Wine Fest draws crowd

Emily Reynolds and Stacy Griffiths prepare to sample a taste of Hidden Creek Vineyard and Winery’s ‘Glass Slipper’ at the 5th annual Chocolate & Wine Festival held Saturday in Montrose. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

BY STACI WILSON

A sunny, warm May day was made all the brighter in Montrose with the return of the annual Chocolate & Wine Festival.

The festival, now in its fifth year, has grown since its inception, added new events and features top-notch entertainment.

Organizer Tom Follert estimated about 3,300 people attended this year’s event – beating out attendance of previous years.

In its inaugural debut, nine contenders vied for the Barbecue Cook-off title.

Team T-Rex’s Ribs, representing EMHS and headed up by CEO Rex Caztlin, took the trophy and $700 prize money.

The winnings were immediately donated to the Cabot-EMHS Community Challenge matching fund program – netting the new hospital building project $1400.

Lucky winner of the handstitched “Chocolate” quilt was Patricia Follert.

Susquehanna County’s Hidden Creek Vineyard & Winery servers pour a sample taste into Chocolate & Wine Festival commemorative wine glasses.

Eleven Pennsylvania wineries, as well as 70-plus vendors provided festival goers with food, drink and one-of-a-kind merchandise.

On the Chocolate & Wine stage, theBaltimorearea Kelly Bell Band headlined the entertainment lineup that also featured The Scott Weis Band, Jake Lear and local favorite, The Lonnie Griffiths Band.

Around Montrose, the juried art exhibit, ‘focus,’ opened at the Butternut Gallery & Second Story Books. The exhibit will remain on display through June 2. Votes can still be cast for the “People’s Choice” award.

Hill Country Artists held an art show and sale in the former Montrose Country Store building – which is also where hourly tours of the Chocolate Factory started.

Proceeds from the annual festival benefit local non-profit organizations..