The Hilton Head Wine and Food Festival continues to attract record crowds from all over the United States and the world. The festival, which took place March 10-15, celebrated its 29th year with impressive growth.
- Ticket sales were up 40 percent.
- 65 percent of online ticket purchases were from outside the area.
- Online ticket purchases came from 33 states, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Alberta.
- Festival attendees came from France, Great Britain, Italy, and Australia, among other countries.
“These numbers demonstrate the excellent reputation the festival has earned over the years as a destination for wine and food lovers,” said Tami Bream, Chair and President of the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival. “It shows everyone that the Hilton Head Island Wine and Food Festival offers a first-class experience for people from around the globe.”
This year’s festival featured 189 wines that received medals during the International Wine Competition, which saw a record number of domestic and international entries. Several of the festival’s headline events also proved to be in high demand. The Wine and Cinema Kickoff Event, the Grand Tasting, and the VIP Tent at the Public Tasting were all sold out.
“We are so proud that our festival continues to set records,” said Bream. “Our goal is for the event to keep growing and evolving as one of the most respected wine and food festivals on the East Coast.”
The Grey Goose Bartender’s Challenge continued to draw the creativity of local mixologists. Marea Reyes of HogsHead Kitchen & Wine Bar earned first place for “Jezebel.” Second place went to Cliff Bernard of Cool Cats for “The Peralleled Martini,” and third place honors were split between JJ Johnston of San Miguels for “Pedro’s Castle” and Steve Flannery of Okko for “Tangerine Rose.”
Another popular local event, the SeaGlass Waiter’s Race, brought out the best in the island’s restaurant industry. Michele Soulia of Charlie’s L’etoile Verte earned first place with a time of 49.29 seconds. Second place finisher Alex Vitto of The Studio followed close behind with 50.58 seconds, while third place went to Mac Derose of Black Marlin/Hurricane Bar with a time of 51.9 seconds.
A portion of the proceeds from the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival benefit the John and Valerie Curry Educational Scholarship for students at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and Technical College of the Low Country pursuing degrees in hospitality management.
Plans are underway for the 30th Annual Festival to be held March 9-14, 2015.
For information about the festival, visit www.hiltonheadwineandfood.com.