Bring more than 75 artists and 20 wineries to downtown Modesto and what do you get? The sixth annual Modesto Art & Wine Festival.
The event returns to downtown Saturday a month later than usual to take advantage of more pleasant temperatures.
For the first time this year, the event is sponsored by the Gallo Center for the Arts rather than the Central California Art Association, which has driven the event in the past. Organizer Brad Hawn, a City Council member, said the art association was no longer interested and the Gallo Center was eager to step up. The festival will include a silent auction that benefits the Gallo Center.
"It felt like a good fit for us since we are a pretty big player in the downtown arts scene," said Lynn Dickerson, the executive director for the Gallo Center. "Using the Gallo Center will give artists a nice place to show their work and allow us to show off the Gallo Center to people interested in the arts who may have never attended a show."
Hawn said he's just happy the festival is continuing. As usual, the event is expected to attract 5,000 people.
"It's important to our community," he said. "We need to gather together as a community to be able to celebrate our living here."
There will be demonstration areas this year for clay and raku Japanese pottery. Photographer Doug Holcomb will take portraits of festivalgoers in a photography studio set up in a trailer. Memorial Medical Center will display art by cancer survivors and their families and friends. Kids will have the opportunity to make eight different art projects in the children's activities station.
More than 25 wineries from throughout the region will offer tastings, including Barsetti Vineyards, Bear Flag, Duarte, Silkwood, Bonny Doon Vineyards, Frog's Tooth Vineyards, Lucas Winery and Wend-Tyler.
Cooking demonstrations from Modesto chefs will take place throughout the day. Participants include Edible Artistry Chef José, who carves food sculptures at the 10th Street farmers market; Chef Terrence Braxton who runs the At Home Gourmet Kitchen on Tully Road; Annie Thu Henrich of the French club Cercle Des Amis; and Linda Silva of the Norwegian club Sons of Norway, who will make Norwegian krumkaka cookies.
Downtown restaurants will be open and food booths will be available serving everything from Mexican food to barbecue, ice cream and kettle corn.
Modesto area musicians will play mellow acoustic sounds in three areas scattered throughout the festival grounds. Performers include Scott Bartenhagen, Robert Myers, Meghan Baker, Richie Cooks, Ostinato Swing, Jeff Elder, Sean Duncan and the Sammy Leverone Family.
Lisa Gotelli, senior marketing consultant with Clear Channel Radio, which is promoting the event, said the festival has improved from past years.
"It's hard to have an event that pleases everyone, but I think we're getting really close," she said. "It's a nice flow between music, art and wineries."