The wine tasting station at Café Aroma during last year’s Art Walk & Wine Tasting. Photo by John Drake
The wine tasting station at Café Aroma during last year’s Art Walk & Wine Tasting.
Photo by John Drake

A day-long art event, capped with a three-hour wine tasting, will again crowd North Circle Drive with hundreds of pedestrians Saturday, Oct. 10. For the 18th consecutive year, the Art Alliance of Idyllwild will host the Art Walk and Wine Tasting.

“This year will be a strong emphasis on the art component of the event,” said Byron Ely, AAI’s vice-president of collaboration. While the major attraction is 19 wineries from large to small, AAI has heard from many attendees that they want to see more art and artists, too.

In response, AAI will have 36 artists displaying their work all along North Circle and the number may grow during the two weeks before the Art Walk. The Art Walk is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wine tasting is from 2 to 5 p.m.

“The all-day event will be good for our members and great for the community,” said Shanna Robb, AAI president.

“There will be wineries and artists from top to the bottom of North Circle,” Ely added. AAI has arranged for shuttle service along the venue. The 12-passenger vans will run on 15-minute cycles. The route will start at Harmony, the tree monument, in the center of town and end at Fern Valley Corners, where North Circle Drive, South Circle Drive and Pine Crest Avenue intersect.

“I’m really pleased how user-friendly the day will be,” Ely said. “This is our biggest fundraiser of the year.” AAI donates to a scholarship fund for student artists and to help the local schools’ art programs.

Besides attendees, artists, galleries and wineries, AAI hopes the extended hours will benefit local retailers — inns, restaurants and others in town — and the whole community, according to Robb. “We want to bring visitors to your doorstep,” she said.

For attendees who purchase tickets in advance, they will be available at the new Middle Ridge Winery facility, formerly the Grey Squirrel, 54295 North Circle Dr. On Oct. 10, tickets may be purchased across the street for the online will-call site. AAI will be able to accept cash and credit cards.

The event’s popularity is increasing, according to Ely, who said the advance sales are well ahead of the 2014 sales and the number of volunteers helping during the event already exceeds 130.

To purchase tickets online, visit Online ticket sales close Oct. 7.

Groups of 10 or more who register online before Oct. 7 also will receive a discount.

For questions, call 951-692-6135 or email [email protected].

“At the end of the day, it will be an incredible marriage of art and wine,” Robb promised.

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