The ninth annual Sykesville Art and Wine Festival is coming back this year in a new way, breaking from old traditions.
This year’s festival, set for Sunday, will feature international wines for the first time ever. For the entirety of the festival’s history, it has only featured Maryland wines.
It has been complicated to get wines from outside the country in the past, according to organizer Julie Della-Maria, but things have changed.
“It has grown significantly from the very beginning but what we have not changed in the past was the type of wine that was available at the wine festival,” said Della-Maria, executive director of the Downtown Sykesville Connection. “We realized a good wine tasting is a social and cultural event.”
Downtown Sykesville Connection organizers realized that they would bring in more people if they broadened their wine selection. This year, they are expecting about 1,000 to 3,000 people at the festival.
The event will feature more than 50 vineyards from the Sonoma Valley, Argentina, France and Italy. There will still be some Maryland wines present. The festival will also feature live entertainment, local artists and food trucks.
Featuring only Maryland wines was a longstanding tradition for the festival.
“It was sometimes complicated to coordinate with other wineries,” Della-Maria said. “Maryland has very specific rules when it comes to wine tastings and wineries. So, it took us some time to understand how to grow into being able to do that as a nonprofit. It was originally by tradition.”
According to Della-Maria, this year’s wine festival is possible thanks to their sponsors: Carroll Community Bank, Granite Pro LLC and Assist to Sell.
According to a news release, “the event also showcases the local business community, embodying an atmosphere of old-fashioned, historic, small town charm.”
“This is really how we showcase our small town twice a year,” Della-Maria said.