Carroll County will be rolling in the grapes this weekend.
The 10th annual Maryland Wine Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster.
The Farm Museum's 140 acres will be filled with activities. Tents have been set up to house wineries and artisans from all over the state, as well as food vendors. With all of the activity, the Farm Museum has had to rely on the kindness of strangers.
"There are so many behind-the-scenes efforts," said Dottie Freeman, the museum's administrative marketing specialist. "We need about 900 volunteers to get things going."
The volunteers will be working two- to three-hour shifts and will be doing everything from selling tickets to stamping hands. They will also provide support for the Farm Museum's staff.
"We've had a lot of office help, and we need it," said Mrs. Freeman. "We get quite a few phone calls from people asking questions and needing directions."
Admission is $12 for those 21 years and older and includes a commemorative 10th-anniversary wine glass, tickets for 10 one-ounce samples of Maryland wines, attendance at the wine-tasting seminar, guided tours through the museum farmhouses and self-guided exhibit tours of 19th-century living. Those under 21 will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Identification is required.
Over the past few weeks, 30,000 brochures and 500 posters have been circulated to promote the wine festival. The Farm Museum also has been promoting the festival in the news media and at trade shows. The attendance has topped 25,000 in the past, Mrs. Freeman said, and this year's festival offers a variety of special events and items intended to draw an even bigger crowd.
There will be ride-at-your-own-pace bike tour to benefit the American Lung Association from 8 a.m. to noon tomorrow. Cyclists can choose from 10-, 25- or 50-mile tours. Registration is from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. The $15 registration fee entitles the rider to free admission to the festival, preferred parking, a long-sleeved commemorative T-shirt, a wine glass and coupons for wine tasting for those 21 and older.
It is the American Lung Association's biggest one-day tour, and its goal is to raise $45,000 to fight lung disease in Maryland. This is the tour's third year at the wine festival. The idea arose from some volunteers for the Carroll County chapter of the Lung Association who also were volunteers at the Farm Museum.
Also returning this year will be the Monumental Brass Quintet, which will be will be one of the many musical groups on hand. The quintet will appear at 3 p.m. Sunday to perform jazz, popular music and show tunes. Its members are artists in residence at the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C., and winners of the 1987 Rafael Mendez Brass Quintet Competition. They perform all over the United States and Canada and are no strangers to Carroll County.
"We've been at Western Maryland College, Piney Run, area schools, at this year's July 4th celebration there," said founding member Patrick Whitehead. "We've played for the wine festival every year."
Festival vendors have donated prizes from their businesses for giveaways throughout the day. Visitors can visit the Carroll County Tourism tent, give their zip code and receive a ticket for a chance to win some of the prizes.
"We have had a tremendous response from the business community," said Mrs. Freeman. "We have enough for three or four giveaways an hour."
Some of the things up for grabs are a gift certificate from the Westminster Inn for a one-night stay, a free haircut and blow dry from the Hair Cuttery, a wine festival poster and T-shirts.
The Farm Museum is hoping for favorable weather, but the show will still go on if it rains. Organizers have even thought of a way to use the rain to their advantage.
"The Enterprise Booth will be selling Maryland Winefest umbrellas," said Mrs. Freeman. "We're ready for anything."
Volunteers are still needed for Sunday and must sign up by 4:30 p.m. today.