Wine and Art Festival to return

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2022

Merry Family Winery will be featured

The Ohio River Wine and Art Festival is returning to Ironton in September.

The event wasn’t held for the past couple of years because of the pandemic and Sam Heighton, the market manager and executive director for Ironton aLive, said the group is happy to have it back.

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This year, the event will be held starting at noon on Sept. 24 at the new Townplace Suites by Marriott at 802 Washington St. in Ironton. It runs until 4 p.m.

“We have a good venue in the Marriot,” Heighton said. “There is a lot more space than (at the transit center). Probably our best event was when it was held at the Holiday Inn Express, but there really wasn’t enough room.”

There will also be an art show of works by local artists at the wine festival.

The event will also feature music by Wiley Dew, the Appalachian folk duo of Steve and Karen Byington, who are from Ashland, Kentucky. They sing originals and cover songs and have played Ironton numerous times.

This year, the Merry Family Winery will be the featured vendor and they will be bringing many of their finest wines. The winery is located in Bidwell and produces over 20 wines as well as craft beers and root beer at their rural location in Gallia County. The winery was chosen because they are with are close enough to Ironton that a person could make a day trip of visiting them.

The mission of Ironton aLive is to bring tourists to Ironton and Heighton said events like this bring in people who may not normally make a stop in town.

The festival was started in 2014 to fill in a gap on the Ohio River Valley Wine Trail, which runs from Paducah, Kentucky to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

Heighton said the number of people attending varies from year to year, but generally attracts around 100 or so people to Ironton. Some come from as far away as Toledo and Cleveland in northern Ohio, as well as Illinois, Pennsylvania and Indiana.

“We get people from all over the Tri-State and others who travel quite a piece to get here,” he said. “There are people who collect wine glasses with dates and locations on them. And everyone is ready for a new wine.”

Heighton said the annual Lawrence County Historical Society’s Historical Ghost Walk at Woodland Cemetery is on the same day at 5 p.m.

“We are going to have transportation to that, if anyone wants to go that from the wine tasting,” he said. “We did that one year and it worked out really well.”

Online tickets will be available at 5 p.m. on Aug. 5 on Additional purchase options to be announced at a later date.

Each ticket gets a person a souvenir wine glass, six wine samples and hors d’oeuvres. More samples, full five-ounce pours and bottles of wine will be available for purchase. Catering will be done by The Mill Cafe’ and Bakery.