GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE — Fans of all things grape will have a festival to attend this year, as a new event has been announced for late September.

The Grapes on the Lake Festival will take place on Sept. 25 and 26, said Pam Coulter, office manager at the Geneva-on-the-Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The event will feature a parade on Saturday, rides, food trucks and vendors, Coulter said. Additionally, the Old Firehouse Winery has weekly craft shows, including one on the weekend of the festival.

A committee has been put together for the event, and there have been many positive responses to it, Coulter said.

The idea for the event stemmed from the cancellation of the Grape Jamboree earlier this year. In May, Jamboree organizers released a statement announcing the cancellation. The statement cited high levels of uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason.

Tim Mills, president of the Geneva-on-the-Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, said after the Jamboree committee made the announcement, lodging properties and wine tours saw reservations being canceled. There was a lot of positive response to the idea of hosting an event at the village, Mills said. The event is also an attempt to extend the tourism season for the area.

There are some additional events being planned that have not been finalized yet.

The CVB have been contacted by churches that use the Jamboree as a fundraiser, he said.

“We’re just trying to help the local churches out by having the festival,” Mills said. “Hopefully they can make some money, things like that.”

The festival will not be as large as the Jamboree, and is in no way seeking to take away from the Grape Jamboree, Mills said.

“We’re not trying to move in on their territory or trying to take over doing something,” Mills said. He said the Jamboree has been good for the entire area.

If the festival does continue beyond this year, it will not take place on the same weekend as the Jamboree, Mills said. 

“We don’t want to step on our neighbor’s toes, and they do an excellent job, and I know they work real hard,” he said. “When one Jamboree’s over, they’re starting [work] on the following year the next day.”

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