Summer ‘Toast’ returns to county


Fayette County will once again serve a toast to summer this June with an event featuring wine, art, food and music.

The second-annual “Toast to Summer,” presented by the local Chamber of Commerce and the Fayette County Pilots & Friends, will be held on Saturday, June 25 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the Fayette County Airport, 2270 State Route 38 in Washington C.H.

Last year’s inaugural event was well-attended, but the weather just did not cooperate as it felt more like winter than summer. “It was the worst weather you could have in June,” said Whitney Gentry, president of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce. “It was a great turnout considering the weather. And it was a good practice run for us. Now we can make it even better this year.”

Close to a dozen wineries and more than 30 art vendors will be on hand for the event. This year’s Toast will also feature a beer garden that will be open throughout the event. Check out to see a full list of wineries and art exhibitors that will be in attendance.

Hot air balloon rides will be available the evening before the Toast, Friday, June 24, and also early in the morning on Saturday, June 25. However, those who want to experience a balloon ride MUST schedule them in advance. To schedule a ride, visit or call 513-932-9007. A ride is $225 each or $400 for two individuals.

“These hot air balloon rides make for great gifts,” said Jolinda VanDyke, executive director of Fayette County Travel & Tourism. “Graduation gifts, wedding gifts and many people have used these as a way to propose. The rides generally last 45 minutes to an hour. But the only way to purchase one of these rides is to pre-schedule it.”

At around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, the evening sky will illuminate when hot air balloons of many colors will “glow” for all to see. “It’s really beautiful when they light up the sky,” said VanDyke.

There will also be live music throughout the day, including Katy Large and John Yancey from 12-1 p.m.; Michael Boyle from 1:30-2:30 p.m.; Pete Blevins from 3-4 p.m.; Levi and Tisa Fraley from 4:30-5:30 p.m.; and Taking Back Summer from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Also on Saturday, great food will be served by local vendors The Rusty Keg, Streetside 62, and Roosters. For the wine tasting packages, those in attendance must have one ticket per tasting. The tickets individually are $3, but there are also $20 packages that include eight tickets and a souvenir glass. “You can also buy bottles of wine from the wineries to take home if you wish,” said Gentry.

Parking is $5 per vehicle and that is the only cost to get into the event.

The primary sponsors for this year’s event are Gusweiler and Vermeer. Other event sponsors are First State Bank, Huntington Bank, YUSA, Merchants National Bank, Fifth Third Bank, the City of Washington Court House, LCNB National Bank, and Parrett Insurance Agency.

The balloon sponsors are Vermeer, Mid Atlantic, CARR Construction, WVNU, Jim VanDyke’s, The Rusty Keg, Fayette County Travel & Tourism, and Fairfield Marriott.

“We are hoping for great weather this year,” said Gentry. “We do have a back-up plan if the weather is bad…there is hangar space and tents, so the event will go on. We appreciate the Pilot’s Association working with us, as well as the airport and the commissioners for letting us use this great venue.”

“Last year, we had vehicles from 17 or 18 different counties and even some from out of state,” said VanDyke. “We encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the festivities. It’s going to be a great event.”
June 25 event will include hot air balloon glow

By Ryan Carter

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Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica

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