WARSAW — Everyone had their hands full Saturday as Warsaw’s first ever Wine in the Valley attracted a festive large crowd.
The event gives established merchants a chance to show off their stores and services while introducing patrons to a number of recently-opened shops.
Downtown merchants put their best foot forward, offering friendly atmospheres, special displays and voluminous offers to wine walkers.
Kimberly May’s Envision Salon had samples of hair products and mini-cupcakes by Lisa Little Cakes of Attica to go along with a dry red wine. May remodeled the salon three years ago and was happy to welcome potential new customers.
“I think we have a good atmosphere here that people like,” May said. “We’ve kept the feel local and welcoming.”
Envision and 21 other businesses were greeted by a stream of 450 umbrella and glass-bearing patrons eager to sample wines and businesses.
“We’re here to have fun and support the community,” said Kim Monahan, whose group of seven were decked out in bright ponchos as they waited to pick up their maps and glasses.
Event organizer Kevin Carlson said the event is modeled after successful wine and beer tasting tours held in Medina and Batavia. Both have drawn increasing crowds and long-term business benefits, something Carlson has seen firsthand in Batavia.
“It’s just great to have people come into the door and have a chance to show what we can offer,” Carlson said.
No more so than at Warsaw Wine and Spirits and Stellar Spirit, who could offer tour takers a bottle of the wine they just tasted. Ariana and Tom Sylvester opened the former last November and have hosted small monthly wine tastings.
“They’ve went well, but this is a lot better,” Ariana said as Tom poured glasses of Three Brothers Wineries’ Scandelicious.
Across South Main Street, Ed Jordan shared his love for Dr. Konstantin Frank’s wines and the wall-to-wall selection at Montgomery Shoe Store. The shop has been in place for more than a century, so introductions weren’t needed.
Jordan smiled as he passed out coupons and chatted up a short line of customers.
“It’s nice for people to pass through, but most of our customers are loyal families,” Jordan said. “I’m excited to see what transpires.”
Unlike the Medina and Batavia wine and beer tasting tours, Wine in the Valley is put on by a fraternal organization instead of a business association. Carlson said the impact would be same, with the sponsoring Kiwanis club planning to use the proceeds for downtown improvements and community activities.
“100 percent of this is going right back into Warsaw,” Carlson said. “Our businesses have the biggest benefit, but we’re giving back to the community and people are having a good time.”