A bouquet for the senses

Judy Tompkins

Wine tasting, auction highlight Arts Expo

Before the Ohio Ballet put on their second performance of the weekend on Friday, an instructor invited young children on the stage to learn a few basic ballet moves and a couple dance combinations. The Ohio Ballet gave three performances as part of the Ak

Credit: Beth Rankin

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Thousands of Akronites headed to Hardesty Park this past weekend for the 26th Annual Akron Arts Expo, which featured live entertainment, over 160 vendors and the seventh Annual Wine Tasting and Silent Auction.

Visitors perused tents filled with handmade wares from artisans working in every medium. Live entertainment was continuous and included folk singers, children’s music and belly dancers. A carnival-like causeway satisfied sweet tooths with standard festival treats.

For those uninterested in purchasing a handmade hammock or metal lawn sculptures, the wine tasting took place inside a tent, overlooking a stage filled with leaping Ohio Ballet dancers as quiet, mellow steel drums played in the background.

Tables displayed 117 different wines from seven wine distributors with a few tables reserved for beer tasting, sponsored by Anheuser Busch. Acme Fresh Market sponsored the tasting and catered a variety of fresh fruit, cheeses and hot and cold hors d‘oeuvres.

The wine tasting and auction was started because of a lack of funds to pay cash awards to juried artists, said Yvette Davidson, community event coordinator.

Davidson chose to upscale the Arts Expo to include wine tasting and auctions. The $40 entrance fee enables the Expo to break even, she said.

The auction generates profit by auctioning gift baskets full of bottles of wine. A favorite basket was called the Elvis Presley Wine Collection, which included Jail House Red.

Private Reserve, an importer and distributor specializing in boutique wines, had a large selection.

Anheuser Busch featured 11 beers. Widmer Hefeweizen, a popular beer served with a twist of lemon, had a dry, crisp taste with a subtle coolness.

The atmosphere was tranquil but became a bit merrier as bottles of chardonnays, pinot noirs, merlots and beer were emptied. Few people paid attention during the oral auction. But, at least one person went away with an Adirondack chair, retailed at $250, for only $100.

Web editor Beth Rankin contributed to this story. Contact general assignment reporter Judy Tompkins at [email protected].