Poconos Coal

Hundreds gather at local wine festival

Organizers credit weather for good attendance

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa - Look around.

Every weekend there are multiple craft beer fests, music fests, food fests and any other fest you can think of. Maybe you're all fested out.  Or maybe you're not.

Each year they seem to get bigger and bigger.

Except at St Ambrose.

"The goal isn't necessarily to make it bigger. The goal is to make it worthwhile." said organizer Jack McGowan.

In an effort to continue to raise money for the church, it's about making these often interchangeable festivals stand out.

Including the 2nd Annual St. Ambrose Wine Festival held over a warm weekend in the church parking lot in Schuylkill Haven.

"We'd rather have a nice selection of six or seven wineries," McGowan explained.

One of those selections hails from the Bethel Tasting House and Bouchette Winery in Bethel, PA. Michele Kline runs the tasting house and says they've been busy.

"It's really been a booming business over the last few years," said Michele Kline, in between pours at her stand. "We'll do seven or eight more wine festivals before the end of the year."

The constant critique on our current culture has us sitting at home and always in our phones. But Michele says that's exactly what brings people out.

"Now, it's about being much more widely advertised," Kline said.

And then, there's the entertainment.

"We used to play at the Tremont Homecoming. That's going back," said Joe Jordan, of the Jordan Brothers.

As St. Ambrose festival goers knocked back wine and local food fare, they also traveled back in time with Another Side and guest vocalist Joe Jordan, whose group performed on Dick Clarks.

American Bandstand back in the day.

"They saw me back in 1958, '61, and they're is still some people around that enjoy listening to me sing."

Organizers said last year's inaugural event drew 300 people. They had nearly that number in presale alone this year and expected to exceed last year's numbers.

St. Ambrose Men's Club President Jack McGowan says he knows another reason as to what brought more festival goers out.

"We got a beautiful day like this, people are more inclined to come out.

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