Hundreds of people flocked to Staunton on Saturday for the 3rd annual Winter Wine Festival. The event benefits the Historic Staunton Foundation, and brings some added bonuses to the city.
A thousand tickets were expected to be sold. A surprising thing, many of them were to people from out of the area. People who has never been to Staunton before.
Just two of them are Jim and Letty Roady. Jim has been to Staunton a few times, Letty hasn't. Usually the couple visits places close to their home in Connecticut.
"Some of those shoreline town with the nice cobblestone streets. Staunton's like that, but not commercial," said Jim. "It's a legitimate downhome, really nice, friendly place to go."
On one of his trips down to the Valley on business, Jim saw an ad for the wine festival. Cleverly timed with Valentine's Day weekend, he knew it would be the perfect way to introduce his wife to the city.
"The vineyards here are some of the wines that we might taste up north-east," said Letty. "It's just wonderful to be in the foothold of where great wines come from. I love to support a town that has such great people who do such great work."
The Winter Wine Festival has been highly rated in Virginia Wine Lover Magazine. That message has spread like wildfire, bringing a much needed boost to Staunton's slow season.
"Why not bring people from elsewhere to come Downtown and enjoy Staunton at what is really a beautiful time of year," said Frank Strassler, Executive Director of the Historic Staunton Foundation. "We have some nice general snowflakes flying outside, shops are all open, and the hotel is just vibrating with people."
Hundreds of people from out of state were exploring Staunton Saturday evening
The Roady's are just two of them.
"We like to go to places where we can relax and now worry about having to be somewhere at a certain time, kind of just go with the flow, and this is the kind of town that welcomes that," said Letty.
"Biggest decision we have to make tonight is where to have dinner, and it's a tough choice around here. There are some really great places," Jim chimed in.
Another benefit for out-of-staters coming to the Valley, there's an underlying message of preservation to the festival. Organizers hope they'll take that message home with them to their own towns.
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