Festival takes Demopolis back to its ‘roots’

Published 5:19 pm Monday, October 1, 2012

The newest event to hit West Alabama is taking the city of Demopolis back to its roots…vine and olive roots to be exact.

The first Vine and Olive Wine Festival slated for Oct. 5-6 in historic downtown Demopolis would surely make the city’s founding French exiles proud. While they didn’t manage to get their dreams of a vine and olive colony to come to fruition initially, apparently the seeds planted are now ready to harvest.

A joint venture of the Marengo County Historical Society (MCHS), the Two Rivers Arts Council (TRAC) and Spec-tacular Vine and Hoof, the weekend event features something for shoppers, spectators and sippers alike as it kicks off on Friday, Oct. 5 with the MCHS Tag Sale and Talk in the Marengo County History and Archives Museum (MCHAM) located in the Rosenbush Building.

The first Vine and Olive Wine Festival is set for this weekend in Demopolis.

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There’s no entry charge for the sale, which begins at 6 p.m., and will feature antiques, treasures and “finds” of all kinds. Homemade casseroles, desserts and more will also be available from some of the area’s most talented cooks.

The highlight of Friday night’s event will be a presentation by Mary Jones-Fitts, MCHAM President, focusing on the French exile’s attempts to cultivate the vine in Marengo County.

The festival hits its stride on Saturday when the Coplin Building downtown opens its doors from 1-5 p.m. for a wine tasting complete with an art show and live music. The festival is the brainchild of Demopolis attorney Billy Coplin, a former MCHS Board member, who is providing the location for the celebration. The TRAC will present several area artists displaying and selling their work – photography, painting, pottery and more. Guests will enjoy the musical stylings of two acts – Bryan Yeager and Michael Walker, and Will Ulmer. Food vendors will also be on site. A $20 donation per person to the MCHS would be greatly appreciated. Spec-tacular Vine and Hoof will be open for those who wish to purchase some of the wines tasted.

Demopolis’ historic home museum Bluff Hall will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday for festival goers. Located on the White Bluffs of the Tombigbee River, the historic townhouse was built in 1832 by Francis Strother Lyon and boasts an extensive collection of period furnishings and clothing. Admission is $5 per adult and $3 per student. The Canebrake Craft Corner gift shop next door features local art, pottery by Susan Brown Freeman, crafts, Southern literature, and Demopolis souvenirs.

Sponsors for the two-day event include Best Western Two Rivers Hotel and Suites, Naheola Credit Union, Parr’s Chevron, Robertson Banking Company, Sweet Water State Bank and The Red Barn.