The second annual Gonzales Inquirer Come and Taste It Craft Beer and Wine festival this past weekend reminded of the title of one of Charles Dickens’ novels. It felt like A Tale of Two Cities. Actually, it was more of a story of the difference between night and day. Literally.
Everything started out perfect on Friday night. The weather was fabulous at 82 degrees, there was not a cloud in the sky, and everyone was ready for the big VIP night. The event was sold out, and the music of Gabe Gallardo filled the night air for a couple of hours. The stage and sound system provided by RoadWay Productions made the sound and entertainment utterly fantastic. Everyone enjoyed the music.
The Come and Taste It portion of the event was wonderful as well, as Baker Boys, Kitchen Pride, Running M and Sweet B’s presented the most delicious food for the revelers. Shannon and Amy from Majek Winery and Vineyards were great presenters of the four different varietals that were there for the crowd to taste. Jimmie Perez and the crew from Hartman Distributing worked their magic for Shiner Beer and Blue Moon. I could not have asked for a more perfect evening and a great start to the Craft Beer and Wine Festival.
The night part of the festival was a rousing success, and I want to commend and thank everyone who turned out and made the evening such a fun and fabulous affair, especially all the hard-working volunteers.
The day part of the festival — as in the very next day — was a completely different story than the night version.
The day started out fabulous weather wise, as clear and sunny skies graced Confederate Square. The temperature started in the low 80s, and I thought we were on our way to a big day. It turned out to be a really slow day. There was never more than a hundred people in the tent area at any one time, and people trickled in and out all day and night long. Those who stayed got to hear some of the best music Gonzales has heard in a long while. O.S. Grant started, but he played to a largely empty house. As the afternoon went on, more people trickled in. The Bethany Becker Band out of Austin rocked the house and everyone who was there is still talking about the outstanding performance her five-person band put on. Then it was the Oliver White Group out of Sherman, Texas, and those boys could play Stevie Ray Vaughn! Finally, as evening came on, The Hot Attacks out of Victoria wowed the crowd with wonderful guitar playing under the stars.
Sadly, there were not a lot of people there. We sold 55 fewer tickets over last year, and there were a couple of reasons probably for some of that loss. There was a massive crawfish tournament going on at Independence Park, and a lot of that crew stayed there all day. There were also four big class reunions in town on Saturday night.
But be that as it may, we should have done better. I should have done better. I will do better next year—I promise. I will also work with other groups to make sure we are not competing against each other when we are all trying to raise money for scholarships or increase our attendance.
I think we all need to do a better job of communicating in Gonzales to make sure we don’t overlap with events, activities, etc. so that we can maximize our fundraising capability and to spread events out so that we have something to offer on every weekend to a variety of different interests and tastes. That is a cause I am going to push to the forefront.
Then to compound the low attendance figures, on Sunday when I went to the gated area to begin the cleanup, I discovered that someone had stolen my Rtic64 cooler. I had left it there for the sound company to have cold water available as they tore down the stage overnight. Talk about adding insult to injury!
Regardless of the low attendance, the festival was an overall success and we will be making another donation to Project 2030 to help benefit Victoria College here in Gonzales. I also learned not to assume or to take anything for granted and will rededicate myself to increasing attendance for the day portion of next year’s event.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful volunteers who came to work the festival. Some came from Sealy, Cedar Park and Austin to volunteer, and the many locals who helped were fabulous as always. I also want to thank Marlene Metzler for her friendship, support and help during the event. I could not have done it without her. I want to thank the sponsors: David Stewart Trucking, Texas Benefit Solutions, Flare Energy Services, Something More Media, Ken Stewart Trucking, Mi Academy, Mark Pravel Insurance Brokerage, Running M Bar & Grill, Gary Henderson and the OB Ranch, Shiner Beer and Hartman Distributing.
And to those who came to the festival, thank you. See you in 2020.