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Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011

Cedarburg's Wine & Harvest Festival

'Cheers' to 39 years

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The festival season in Wisconsin doesn't end when the leaves begin to turn colors. Cedarburg's Wine & Harvest Festival offers opportunities to enjoy live outdoor music while sipping wine or beer, sampling tasty foods and browsing the wares of local merchants. Now in its 39th year, this free festival has long established itself as one of southeastern Wisconsin's most popular autumn celebrations.

The 50,000-plus visitors over the course of two days will have much to keep them entertained in the five-block span of Washington Avenue that hosts the festival.

Many of the merchants along the avenue are planning specials, demonstrations and activities, including face painting, hayrides, pumpkin decorating, art shows, author signings and makeovers.

Twice a day, both Saturday and Sunday, kids and adults will stomp themselves silly during the Cedar Creek Winery's classic "grape stomp" contest. When the stomping is over, take a tour of the winery and sample some of their award-winning wines.

The crowd-pleasing Giant Pumpkin Charity Regatta is back by popular demand. Watch as several 500-pound pumpkins are carved into boats and then raced across Mill Pond by the Cedar Creek Settlement. The skippers of the first three pumpkins to cross the finish line will name a charity of their choice to receive prize money. The race begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

For Green Bay fans who don't want to miss Sunday's football game, head to the Cedarburg Cultural Center for a party with former Packers players Gilbert Brown, Santana Dotson and Lynn Dickey. TVs will be in place so fans can watch the Packers take on the Carolina Panthers while waiting to meet these legendary players.

Music is another important part of the festival. Live performances are featured on four stages all weekend long. Rock, folk, bluegrass and Top-40 groups ensure there is a mix to satisfy all tastes. Headliner and rising Nashville star Erica Hoyt performs 3:30-5:30 p.m. Saturday on the Kapco/K-Nation Main Stage. On Saturday, in a bonus for fans of blues music, free shuttles will take patrons to and from the neighboring Paramount Blues Festival in Grafton.

Food offerings from stands and restaurants throughout the festival include apple brats, turkey legs, roasted corn, barbecue ribs, caramel apples and homemade pies, among other goodies.

The festival runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 17 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 18.

For more information, call 262-377-9620 or visit www.cedarburgfestivals.org.