The Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival is moving to Mariners Landing in Huddleston, organizers announced Jan. 28.
“We are excited about the opportunities this impressive venue will present for both vendors and attendees,” said Christopher Finley, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the event.
Now in its 32nd year, the festival will take place Sept. 26 and 27 at the 1,000-acre resort in Bedford County that features a conference center and a golf course.
Finley said a number of factors led the chamber’s executive board to endorse moving the event from Crazy Horse Marina where it has taken place the past four years.
“We’ve greatly enjoyed having the wine festival at Crazy Horse,” Finley said. “However, Mariners Landing offers indoor facilities and resort amenities that will benefit not only those who attend the festival, but also the hundreds of volunteers and vendors who participate each year. The conference center provides shelter in case of inclement weather, as well as other attractive conveniences such as air conditioning, restrooms and seating."
There will be ample on- and off-water parking, too, Finley said.
“Plus, having on site accommodations provides attendees from out of the area more options for making the festival a weekend getaway, which is a request we hear often,” he added.
The first Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival took place in 1989 on the grounds of The Manor at Taylor’s Store, formerly a bed and breakfast, near Burnt Chimney. Other locations have included Bernard’s Landing, Lakewatch Plantation and most recently, Crazy Horse Marina, where the festival has been held since 2016.
Finley said the wine festival is the chamber’s largest fundraiser with proceeds used to grow and develop programs to promote tourism and business in the lake region.
The festival, held annually the last weekend in September, regularly draws crowds of more than 11,000.