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First ‘Wine in the Park’ festival today, Saturday in north OC

(June 28, 2013) Ocean City’s inaugural “Wine in the Park” festival will run today and tomorrow, June 28-29, at Northside Park on 125th Street.

Fifteen wineries from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia, each with about six to eight varietals, will have tastings for ticketholders. Food, micro-brews and artwork will also be for sale.

The event was inspired by the annual Wine on the Beach event, 18 years in the running in downtown Ocean City, and promoters Christine Nokes and Jerry Hardesty wanted to bring a similar outdoor wine festival uptown.

“It should be a real fun event,” said Dick Seidbert, manager of Knob Hill Winery in Clear Spring, one of the wineries featured at the event.

Knob Hill has presented its wines at Ocean City’s downtown wine festival and will be bringing selections such as its award-winning Le Rêve Rouge and Vidal Blanc to Wine in the Park.

“Wine is highly individualistic. What I like, you may not like, and everybody’s palate’s a little bit different,” Seidbert said. Wine festivals are “a fun way of trying new things and seeing what you like.”

Wine aficionados will be able to buy the wines they fancy at the festival.

Area musicians Bird Dog Wheeler and the Road Kings will play live music from 4-7 p.m. both days, with other local musicians playing earlier in the day at the Stage on the Bay.

“The wines are the center stage,” Wheeler said, but the atmosphere and music come together to make the tasting a festival.

Wheeler and his troupe will play classic rock and country — “anything basically from Bob Dylan to Willie Nelson,” he said — and original songs.

He called Wine in the Park’s fall counterpart a “screaming blast.”

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Saturday, rain or shine. Tickets cost $25 each day at the gate and include a wine glass and tastings. For those ages 13-20, admission is $15 and includes a wine glass and unlimited soft drinks. Children under 12 get in free.

Designated drivers get free, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages in their glasses for the cost of admission. Remember to bring your ID and that an adult must accompany everyone under 21.

Pets, picnic baskets and coolers are not allowed.

For more information, call the Wine Line at 410-280-3306. Visit www.winefest.com for more information, including a list of breweries and a discount coupon.

“Bring a lawn chair, sit on a blanket, listen to the music and enjoy the day,” Hardesty said.

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