Fleurs de Fete, Dayton’s largest wine and food festival, can be great fun.
But it can be FANTASTIC fun if attendees follow a few survival tips (well, let’s call them enhancement tips) from a savvy veteran (and some of his even more savvy wine-geek friends) who went to the first one in 1990 and darn near every one of them since then.
But before the tips come the vital statistics: This is the 28th year for the festival, which will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 19 at Carillon Historical Park.
More than 400 wines from throughout the world will be available for sampling. The Belgian Beer Garden will return with offerings from Rhinegeist, Taft's Ale House, Stella Artois, and other regional and national breweries. And more than 20 restaurants are scheduled to serve their delicacies for this year's event, including The Oakwood Club, Jay's Seafood, and Carver's Steaks & Chops.
Don’t underestimate the dining component of this wine-and-food event. Many of the participating restaurants use the Fleurs de Fete to strut their stuff in front of prospective customers, and their offerings have improved markedly over the years, elevating the status of the event.
A silent auction also will be available, and live music will be provided by the Kim Kelly Orchestra.
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Fleurs de Fete was conceived by Heidelberg Distributing Co. CEO Vail Miller and Arrow Wine Owner Mike Frank. Today their sons Vail Miller Jr. and Mif Frank continue the community tradition.
The festival was held at Carillon Park for a few years following its inception, spent several years at Lincoln Park Civic Commons in Kettering, returned to Carillon Park from 2001-2014, briefly changed its name to “Fleurs et Vin,” spent 2015 at Welcome Park near Welcome Stadium, then returned to its roots in 2016 with its original Fleurs de Fete name and its original venue at Carillon Park.
All proceeds from Fleurs de Fête benefit Dayton History in its mission, which the organization describes as “to inspire generations by connecting them with the people, places, and events that changed Dayton and the world.” Donations will also be made to two other non-profit organizations: A Special Wish Foundation and Rebuilding Together Dayton.
Follow these tips, and you’ll thank me later:
- Arrive early.
- Don’t wait too long to sample the foods.
- Use the dump buckets and don’t be afraid to pour out wines you don’t love.
- When you've poured a sample of wine — and there's a line of folks with empty glasses behind you — get out of the way!
- Wear sensible shoes. Leave the stilettos for another occasion when you're not tromping around in grass.
- Don’t wear white. White clothing is a magnet for red-wine spills and chocolate smears.
- Drink water — lots of water.
- When the event begins, move to the far end of the tent to get away from the initial crowd surge.
What: Fleurs de Fete
Where: Carillon Historical Park (rain or shine)
When: 1-4 p.m. Sunday, May 19, 2019
Tickets: $75 day of the event, $70 in advance (Purchase online at DaytonHistory.org or paper tickets at Arrow Wine or Carillon Historical Park)
More info: fleursdefete.com