Harford Community College will host Wine Expo 2013 this Sunday, the 14th annual incarnation of the event.
Lanell Patrick, alumni coordinator for HCC, said the Expo has been held in "various locations" around the college's Bel Air campus in past years, but this year is the first it will be held in the new APG Federal Credit Union Arena.
The Wine Expo is the "primary" annual fundraiser for the HCC Alumni and Friends Association, and proceeds benefit Alumni and Friends Association programs and scholarships. The Association is partnering with Wine World Beer and Spirits of Abingdon to put on the event.
The 3,200-seat basketball and volleyball arena – built as part of ongoing renovations to HCC's Susquehanna Center – opened to sports fans last fall.
It will not be screaming Fighting Owls fans packing the arena Sunday, instead it will be wine and beer enthusiasts from around the region, eager to sample libations hailing from Maryland, the United States and the world. The festival runs from 3 to 6 p.m.
"We're very excited to have it in the Arena this year," Patrick said. "It affords us a fantastic venue for the [Wine Expo], plus it gives the public a chance to enjoy the event and see the arena space."
She said there will be 50 vendor tables set up in the Arena, featuring distributors of wines, as well as craft and import beers.
Maryland wine and beer makers scheduled to be represented include Boordy Vineyards, Linganore Winecellars of Mt. Airy, Knob Hall Winery of Washington County and the DuClaw Brewing Co., which operates brewpub restaurants in Bel Air, Bowie, Anne Arundel County and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and whose president and founder David Benfield is from Harford County.
Patrick said there will also be wine and beer distributors representing California and other parts of the U.S., as well as Germany, Italy, Spain and other countries.
"It's hundreds of wines from around the world," she said.
The drinks will not be the only items available to Wine Expo guests.
"Certainly the wine and beer selections are the main features, but the guests also have a large selection of hors d'oeuvres and desserts," Patrick said.
Tickets are $40 each in advance and $50 each at the door.
Anyone who wishes to be a designated driver can purchase a ticket for $20, and will receive a wristband identifying them as such.
"There will be a selection of non-alcoholic beverages that they will be able to partake in, and certainly they will be able to enjoy the food and the desserts," Patrick said of the designated drivers.
All Wine Expo guests must be age 21 and older. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at tickets.harford.edu or at Wine World, 406 Constant Friendship Blvd. in Abingdon.
"[The Wine Expo] is the primary fundraiser for the year, but we are looking to grow the Alumni and Friends Association," Patrick said. "The Association is constantly working to identify ways to engage former students and keep them connected to the college."