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Wilson festival celebrates art, wine

WILSON – Look for a ramped-up art aspect to this year’s Wilson Wine and Art Festival, scheduled for 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday on Young Street.

For the first time, the show will be judged – by the newly organized Wilson Art Guild (WAG) – and prizes will be awarded, accorded to organizer Colleen Leiker. WAG will award the “best of show” prize, while Watch Wilson Grow, which sponsors this free event, will distribute first-, second-, and third-place awards. All carry a cash reward, as well.

In addition, Leiker said more than 30 vendors will participate, including four local wineries. Along with artists, vendors also will include high-end crafters, local restaurants and a farmers market, as well as a few “unusual” selections, she noted.

Participating wineries include; Victorianbourg Wine Estate, Midnight Run Wine Cellars, Black Willow Winery and A Gust of Sun Winery. Local restaurants include; Wilson House Inn, Fire House Tavern, Matty’s Pizzeria and Jean’s Bar & Grill.

A $10 ticket buys unlimited wine tastings and a commemorative glass.

“And we will have artists from all over Western New York this year,” said Leiker. “This event is really going to launch Wilson into an art mode. We have been attracting a lot of art conversation and we have a number of artists right here in Wilson. I think this new Guild will really be stepping up the game.”

Marilyn Wilson is one WAG’s founders and a retired elementary and college art instructor.

“We wanted to form a group like the Lewiston Council on the Arts, which would promote Wilson as an artistic community,” Wilson said. “We will have a tent at the Wine and Art Festival, where we will be sponsoring a fundraiser and people can get information about our group. We want to bring year-round art venues to Wilson.”

Wilson said WAG – formed less than two months ago – meets the first Tuesday of each month in the studio of Dennis Fulton-Sears, 3608 Wilson-Cambria Road, and anyone is welcome to join. For information, contact Wilson at 435-9115.

Wilson said this year’s Art and Wine Festival already has attracted twice the number of artists than previous years, “and we’re really excited about it.”

In addition to art and wine, the event also will feature live music performed by brothers Dave and Joe Mombrea – “both a big draw,” Leiker said.

This is the eighth year for the festival, which is sponsored by Watch Wilson Grow, a group of community volunteers that has focused on building tourism and beautifying the area for the past two decades. This is one of the group’s two yearly fundraisers.

“We also try to bring people into the area with events like the townwide garage sale and Kite Day for kids and we work with the schools for Care and Share Day,” Leiker added.