Wine and Beer Fest in New Kensington gets an enthusiastic crowd
Robin and Rob Taylor, self-styled “beer snobs” from Cranberry, liked samples they tasted of a gold, light beer at the first festival of its type in New Kensington on Friday.
Visitors like them from the Alle-Kiski Valley and beyond sampled the food and libation at the Alle Kiski Strong Chamber of Commerce Wine and Beer Fest.
While bands performed in the background, two Middle Eastern dancers showed almost impossible moves and five wineries, two distilleries and two breweries offered samples of their wares for adults at the Fest along Fifth Avenue.
Some of the businesses had long lines at times but the crowd was friendly and interested in a good time.
More than a dozen food trucks and vendors in tents offered so varied a cumulative menu that it was hard to keep track of unless consulting the colorful guide handed to all visitors.
Some lines were long, but a wait of only a few minutes was all that was needed to get served.
Taking over the food area was the savory aroma of authentic tacos, curry and Indian grill offerings, smokehouse fare and wood-fired pizza.
In addition, Knead Cafe, a short walk around the corner, offered a coffee and dessert special.
The music was briefly overshadowed by fire engine sirens moving toward Ninth Street to the scene of Thursday’s major fire, which rekindled four times Friday, including once at about 7 p.m.
Autumn Walker, who owns BoHo Bath & Bubbles, said a collection was being taken for the people whose homes were lost by the fire.
Walker, who lives above her soap-and-more store, had to leave her home briefly because of the fire.
Odi Wafo, who owns a general store of gently used items, liked the festival that brought hundreds in front of his business.
Alle Kiski Strong Executive Director Lynda Pozzuto was pleased with the event’s first run.
It was good for businesses and the city, she said.
Ed and Jodi Buzzell, of New Kensington, were enjoying the Fest’s atmosphere.
“Some of the wineries drew me here, and I’m looking for the food trucks,” she said while shopping at a boutique on Fifth Avenue.
“I love it,” said Jack Thompson, New Kensington, accompanied by wife, Marissa, and children, Andrew, 4 and Steven, 3 months.
“Look at this,” a smiling New Kensington Mayor Tom Guzzo said. “There’s a lot of people downtown on a Friday night. There is excellent food and drinks. It’s very nice.”
Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.