Raise a glass at the New Kensington Wine & Beer Festival
For Jimbo Jackson, it’s about giving back.
The entertainer, who lives in Arnold but was born in New Kensington, will take the stage at the second annual New Kensington Wine & Beer Festival. The event is from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 20 along Fifth Avenue.
The event is free to attend. Tasting tickets are $20.
“I am excited to be a part of this festival,” Jackson said. “It is a vital piece to the resurgence of New Kensington. This event brings a positive feeling to the community and it’s an opportunity for me to do something for a town that means so much to me.”
Vocalist and guitar player Jackson will perform from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with Jason Caliguri of New Kensington on guitar and Derrick Edwards of Pittsburgh on electronic percussion kit on the festival’s main stage. They will feature some of Jackson’s songs, as well as other tunes people will be familiar with, he says.
Guests will hear everything from soul to rock, including what he calls music that’s a “little bit funky.’”
“When you have beer, wine, food and music, you can’t go wrong,” Jackson says.
Going for two
The festival was started last year by the Alle Kiski Strong Chamber of Commerce, which formed a committee to plan the event. It was so successful organizers decided to bring it back and host it again, making it an annual happening in New Kensington, says Lynda Pozzuto, executive director of the Alle Kiski Strong Chamber of Commerce. The event is a fundraiser for the chamber.
“Support from local businesses has been phenomenal and we couldn’t produce this event without all the wonderful sponsors,” Pozzuto says. “Everyone really works well together to put on this special night.”
The evening includes Jackson’s performance as well as participation from wineries, breweries and distilleries, food trucks, street performers, crafters and other vendors.
“We will have so much going on,” Pozzuto says. “It’s a beer and wine event, but don’t forget about Jimbo Jackson’s music, as well as an area for games such as cornhole and Connect Four. It’s a family-friendly event so bring the entire family. Last year, we had a belly dancer and the kids loved her, so we’ve brought her back again this year.”
One of the featured wineries is Bushy Run Winery in Penn Township. Its products are sold at local farmers markets in Murrysville and Monroeville and events such as this one. The company is working on purchasing a 30-acre farm near the Bushy Run Battlefield which owners hope to open in May 2020.
Co-owner of Bushy Run Winery Karen Gourdie says this festival is a popular one and she wanted to be part of it for a second year. She says it’s a fun time to sample wine, enjoy a meal and relax while listening to music. She plans to bring some cranberry, moscato and the winery’s signature lemon kiss wine, as well as others.
People can taste the vino as well as buy a bottle to take with them.
“Festivals like this one are the perfect place to introduce a selection of wines to guests,” says Gourdie, whose winery is part of the Laurel Highlands Pour Tour, a craft beer, wine, cider, mead and spirits trail through scenic Southwestern Pennsylvania.
“Last year was a great time,” says Gourdie. “They had really good attendance and people had a lot of fun.”
This will be the first year for Conny Creek Brewing Company to participate. The Allegheny Township brewery is co-owned by Lee and Erin Layton and will celebrate its second anniversary on Oct. 21. The brewery regularly has 12-15 brews on tap.
The couple plans to bring three or four different brews for guests to try at the festival.
“We enjoy doing the tastings, because we welcome the feedback,” says Lee Layton, who also is the brewer. “It is also an opportunity to introduce our beers to people who might not have heard about us. We aren’t too far away from the festival so we might form new relationships and establish new customers.”
Details: 724-224-3400 or eventbrite.com
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .