In celebration of the fifth annual Pecan, Wine & Antique Festival on Feb. 11-13, organizers are jazzing up the event with more jazz and bluegrass music.
“Jazz and wine go together,” said Michelle Ashley, events coordinator at the Camp Verde Parks & Recreation Department, which presents this festival.
The event provides festival-goers with an opportunity to purchase and taste wines from a variety of Arizona’s most premier wineries including Kokopelli, Village of Elgin, Fort Bowie, Charron, Oak Creek Vineyards, and Page Springs Cellars. In fact, only Arizona wineries are invited to attend this event.
In addition to the wineries, the festival will feature locally grown pecans for sampling and purchasing, a pecan bake-off, local blacksmith Gordon Williams, free hayrides, tours of Summer Place Pecan Farm, demonstrations by the Yavapai County Master Gardeners, more than 30 antique vendors from across the state, and don’t forget indulging in Sinful Delights homemade pecan pie.
Another treat is the addition of live jazz to the musical lineup this year, which was organized by music producer and vocalist Bobby Cottonwood.
Kicking off the festivities at noon Friday is Dos Geckos, featuring Bill Barns and Larry Perkins. This duo performs folk and bluegrass. At 1 p.m., catch Bel Canto featuring Laurie Burke and Bill Barns. Bel Canto means “beautiful singing” in Italian. It also is the name of the popular duo that has been performing locally for the past five years. Bel Canto is known for its eclectic style, which includes original music, Brazilian jazz, pop, rock, folk and Celtic.
Burke, a Sedona recording artist, has performed in Arizona since 1993. She has released three CDs including the award-winning children’s lullaby CD, DreamSongs. Barns, a guitarist, vocalist and sitar player, is the other half of Bel Canto. Barns’ talent and versatility on the guitar greatly contribute to the eclectic nature of Bel Canto. Barns released a CD entitled Gecko Echoes with violinist Larry Perkins.
Beginning at 3:15 p.m., the Bobby Cottonwood Jazz Quartet joins Sedona vocalist Vismaya. Vismaya, a charming Swedish import, has entertained audiences here and abroad not only in English, but also in several other languages. She particularly excels in and enjoys performing lilting Brazilian tunes along with many jazz standards.
Bobby Cottonwood is a regular performer, vocalist, drummer and recording artist throughout Sedona, the Verde Valley and Northern Arizona with his own popular jazz ensembles as well as performing with many other groups in the area producing and appearing at fairs, festivals, restaurants, night clubs, race tracks and casinos.
Dos Geckos return at 9:30 a.m. Saturday followed by the five-piece band Midlife Crisis at 11:45 a.m. Midlife Crisis Trio has been together for four years, but last year it added two more talented musicians to become Midlife Crisis Band. Over time they’ve put together a collection of eclectic music, written original pieces and taken pride in contributing to the community spirit of the Verde Valley. Heavenly harmonies and acoustic rock/classic rock are its trademarks.
The Bobby Cottonwood Jazz Quartet returns at 2:30 p.m. Saturday with vocalist Amanda York, Sedona’s newest addition.
On Sunday, enjoy Bel Canto at 10:30 a.m. The festival concludes with the Jack Webb New Orleans Jazz Band from 1:45-4 p.m.
Other extras this year include a glass blower and Harmony on the Rocks, a strolling barbershop quartet and chorus. The group will be singing in the gymnasium on Saturday at approximately 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m., and on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Harmony on the Rocks is a group of Sedona and Cottonwood men who enjoy singing in the traditional barbershop quartet style. The chorus performs locally, often for civic and church groups.
The Pecan, Wine & Antique Festival was voted by the Arizona Parks & Recreation Association as the Best Special Event in 2004 and was nominated for the 2004 Governor's Tourism Award in Special Events. Last year approximately 3,500 people attended this Camp Verde festival and its popularity continues to grow with 5,000 expected to attend this year.
Trapper Moore, executive director of the Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce, said the festival is successful because it allows adults to enjoy top-notch wines from six different Arizona wineries without having to travel to Napa Valley. It also introduces visitors to the variety of businesses that the town has to offer, he added.
“You can get it all here. We have a lot to offer,” Moore emphasized. “We’re not a dead cowboy town, we’re a thriving community.”
“It’s an extremely fun event. The atmosphere and music is great,” Ashley added. “We appeal to the senses of everybody. Every one will like one of the above or all of the above.”
Festival-goers will have the opportunity to participate in a raffle offered throughout the weekend. Each patron will be given a Main Street card at the festival and as they visit Main Street merchants and complete their punch card, they will be entered into a raffle to win $500 as well as many items from Main Street Merchants. Winner does not need to be present to win.
The Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce also is selling raffle tickets for its festival fund-raiser. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5 and are available at the festival and at the chamber office, 385 S. Main St. Prizes will be raffled off every hour during the festival and winners need not be present to win. Among the prizes being offered are a gift certificate for one adult tour from Air Grand Canyon, dinner/show tickets to the Blazin’ M Ranch, a one-night stay at both the Super 8 Motel and the Comfort Inn, $50 gift card to Wal-Mart, $90 gift certificate to Mr. Windshield, a one-night stay at Luna Bed and Breakfast, binoculars, a DVD player, a one-year pass to the Arizona State Parks, as well as a variety of antiques and slices of pecan pie. For details, call the chamber at 567-9294.
The festival, held downtown at the Camp Verde community center at 395 S. Main St., opens Friday, Feb. 11, noon-6 p.m., and continues Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $3 for antiques only and $6 for antiques and wine tasting, including a commemorative wine glass.
All pecan growers are welcome at no charge to set up a table and sell their pecans at this event. Those interested should call Michelle Ashley at 567-0535, Ext. 135.
Event sponsors include Days Inn, Phoenix Cement, Rinker Materials, KSLX, Radio Shack and QWEST.
For information about the festival, contact Michelle Ashley at (928) 567-0535, Ext. 135, or visit www.cvaz.org.