Get crackin' for Pecan, Wine Fest

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LAST year, crowds tried pecan dishes and assorted wines at the annual Pecan/Wine and Antiques Festival in Camp Verde.

But even more that that, the Pecan Festival has become one of the premier events in the entire state.

Last year it was named the No. 1 special event in the state by the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association and it was been nominated for the 2004 Governor's Award in Tourism.

This year's event is expected to exceed last years.

The three-day festival will run from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

There will, of course, be pecans –– lots of pecans.

They will be baked into pies, judged on their beauty, available for purchase and generally lauded for their long history in the valley.

The largest pecan farm in town, Summer Place, owned and operated by the town's premier pecan Poobah, Dick Tinlin, will be giving tours and vending pecan goodies. You can even ride on the back of a hay wagon if you like.

The Yavapai County Master Gardeners, a group of very knowledgeable green thumbs, will be giving advice on the care and feeding of healthy trees and other such greenery.

And there will be wine –– lots of wine.

The festival offers a unique opportunity to sample wines from six of the state's homegrown wineries.

The list will include Charron, Fort Bowie Vineyards, Kokopelli Winery, Oak Creek Vineyards and Winery, Page Springs Cellars and the Village of Elgin Winery.

Festival-goers will be able to purchase six tasting tickets and admission to the antique show for $6. The tickets come with a commemorative wineglass that is yours to keep.

If you like what you taste, there will be plenty of it for sale to take home and enjoy.

And there will be antiques –– plenty of antiques.

The festival will offer a chance to browse over 40 antique vendors from the local area and throughout the state who will be displaying glassware, furniture, and a variety of other collectibles and clutter.

The antique show is housed in the Community Center and admission is $3 or included in the purchase of a wineglass and tasting tickets.

This year's festival will also include blacksmith demonstrations, yarn spinning, glass blowing, hay rides and live jazz music.

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