Fayette County’s third-annual Toast To Summer will feature wine, art, food, bi-plane rides, music, a beer garden and the always-popular Hot Air Balloon Glow.
This year’s event, organized by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce and the Fayette County Pilots & Friends Association, is set for Saturday, June 24 at the Fayette County Airport, 2770 State Route 38, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“The idea came from wanting to do something different and fun for the community,” said Whitney Gentry, president of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce. “It ties in not only local vendors, but wineries from throughout Ohio. So it’s actually a Fayette County and Ohio showcase that draws people from many areas outside of our community. Or if you’re local, it’s a fun day of activities and people don’t have to leave Fayette County.”
Parking for the event is $5 a vehicle but admission is free.
The wine tastings are always a strong draw and this year should be no different, according to the organizers. The 11 participating Ohio wineries are: Brandeberry Winery from Enon, Buckeye Winery from Newark, Deer’s Leap from Geneva, Dutch Creek Winery from Athens, Hanover Winery from Hamilton, Olde Schoolhouse Winery from Eaton, Meranda-Nixon Winery from Ripley, Plum Rum Winery from Grove City, Soine Vineyards from Powell, St. Ives from Cable, and The Winery at Versailles from Versailles.
Tickets for the wine tastings must be purchased the day of the event. Each ticket is $3.
A tasting package, which includes eight tickets and a souvenir glass, is $20.
“If you find your favorite wine you can also purchase bottles to take home,” said Gentry. “It’s a great way to find great wine and support the wineries.”
Bi-plane rides from GoodFolk O’Tymes will also return this year to the Toast. A bi-plane ride is an opportunity to experience the unique feeling from the early years of aviation. GoodFolk O’Tymes is the only commercial bi-plane ride company in the Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati area.
These bi-plane rides, which can fly up to four people, cost $60 each, according to Jolinda Van Dyke, the executive director of the Fayette County Travel & Tourism Bureau.
“There will be two bi-planes available and they will run until 6 p.m.,” said Van Dyke.
The Hot Air Balloon Glow will begin at dusk, probably around 8:45 or 9 p.m.
“The balloon tethering rides will begin at 6 p.m., weather permitting,” said Van Dyke. “The cost is $10. There won’t be any balloon rides this year….they will be anchored to the ground, you go up 200 feet into the air and then you come back down. The balloons will not be available until the evening.”
The line-up of live music will include Michael Boyle, the Tim Owings One Man Band, Austin Fitzpatrick, Paul Blankenship, and Creek Don’t Rise.
Thirty-six art vendors at the Toast will offer a wide variety of hand-made original creations, including jewelry, soaps, quilts, wine items, crafts, etc.
“There will be a great selection for everyone,” said Gentry.
For beer drinkers, a beer garden featuring beverages from Pour Boys’ Brew House will be available throughout the event.
The Fayette County Memorial Hospital Foundation will hold a “Shoot To Summer” drawing at 7:30 p.m. with the winner receiving a gift card in the amount of the firearm to pick up at Gunnersville Custom Firearms. Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased by calling 740-333-2710 or from a FCMH Foundation board member.
The Toast and Balloon Glow sponsors are: Jim Gusweiler General Motors, Buckeye Propane, Fayette County Pilots and Friends, Fayette County Travel & Tourism Bureau, and Vermeer Heartland.
“Rain or shine, the event will go on,” said Gentry. “We have limited seating, so those attending are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs. Have a seat, relax and enjoy all of the entertainment. We’re hoping to have great attendance again this year.”