Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sunset Celebration Weekend

Sunset Magazine’s annual Celebration Weekend is thirteen years old. In all that time, we have never attended, even though it is only a few miles away. It always sounded interesting, but it just never worked out. Since we had no plans this weekend, we decided to finally check it out. The event includes home and garden exhibits, demonstrations and vendors, cooking demonstrations, a “glam” camping exhibit, test kitchen tours, garden tours and everything imaginable related to Western Living.

We didn’t see any of that. Larry recently joined the Sunset wine club, using the excuse that we need to add more “lifestyle” wines to our collection. Not that we need another wine club membership, but we do have a large collection of more expensive wines. We were latecomers to the club, and hadn't joined in time to get all the regular benefits of membership. But it did allow us to enjoy the members only lounge, where we tasted quite a few wines at no charge. We also took a seminar/tasting program on Washington state wines. So I thought I’d be writing about wine today. Not so.

It was all about the food for us. There was food sampling everywhere. From the Safeway deli handing out samples of salad, cookies and dip, to vendors with ice cream, candy, cheese, cereal and lemonade hoping to convince you to try their brands. But I thought the best part was a new addition to the event, the Artisanal Food Pavilion. There was a long line to get inside, so it was obviously a big hit. Sunset invited a variety of  food vendors to exhibit, offer samples and sell their products. We tasted chocolates, cheeses, breads, candies and cookies, tea and coffee, jams, olive oil, honey and sauces. This seems like a great way for these small food companies to show off their products and get exposure to thousands of new customers. We had a great time trying out all the different offerings.

There were definitely thousands of people in attendance on such a beautiful, warm day, but Sunset has their system well organized and under control. The shuttle system was efficient for parking and the venue is spaced so that it never seemed overcrowded like often happens at craft shows or art and wine festivals. I am thrilled that warm weather has finally arrived and this is a great way to spend the weekend if you love food and wine, like we do. I’ll share some of our favorite finds in subsequent posts.

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