Ah, Nuts!<br><i>Camp Verde's Wine, Pecan and Antique Festival promises fun for all</i>

Courtesy photo

“Arizona Pecan Delight” produced by Fort Bowie Winery will be one of the many featured Arizona wines at Camp Verde's Second Wine/Pecan and Antique Festival. Enjoy wine tasting, pecan events, pecan foods and much, much more Feb. 9-10.

Spend a leisurely Saturday or Sunday sampling Arizona wines while strolling through 15-20 antique booths.

Four to six Arizona wineries will be on hand with several bottles from their own stock. Take home whatever wine suits your fancy as spirits will be available for sale by the bottle or case.

Fort Bowie Vineyards and Orchard Products is Southern Arizona again will provide its delicious Pecan Delight, a light sparkling wine with the slight after-taste of pecan. Visitors also can sample nearby San Dominique's Chablis Select with Hot Peppers, a unique Arizona specialty drink "with a bite," the perfect gift from the Southwest. Kokopelli Winery from Willcox and the Sonoita Vineyards from Elgin will feature their own unique flavors, also.

Five dollars buys you a glass and six wine samples. Tickets for additional samples can be purchased at six for $3 when your return your glass.

Visitors also can enjoy the wonderful taste of all kinds of pecan treats from slices of pecan pie with or without ice cream to cakes, cookies and breads. The dual pecan theme of the festival is a natural for Camp Verde, which has close to 200 acres in pecans producing about 200,000 pounds annually.

Last year, the National Historic Registry awarded the town a unique historic designation protecting a row of 100-year-old pecan trees along what locals call "Pecan Lane." Using homegrown pecans, local specialty baker "Sinful Delights Pastry Shop" will provide this year's pie slices guaranteed to be some of the best you'll ever taste.

There will be pecans in the shell, roasted, salted, spiced and chocolate covered. Pecan specialty food items will vary in price.

There's plenty to do besides eat, drink and look at the offerings of antique vendors. There will demonstrations on grape growing, pecan harvesting, blacksmithing, spinning and pecan tree management. Experts from the University of Arizona — Dr. Mike Kilby, an extension specialist on fruit and nut crops, as well as Jeff Schalau, Yavapai County extension director for the University of Arizona will be around for presentations and discussions on grapes and pecans.

Hayrides leave on both days at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. traveling to Summer Place, a local pecan farm. At the 30-acre farm that has 1,400 nut trees, you'll learn about pecan growing and harvesting from local orchard expert Dr. Richard Tinlin. You don't have to stick to the schedule either. Tinlin welcomes visitors any time, he says. At least two bands will play throughout the weekend; the Burnett Family Band from Flagstaff and Ray Sealing and the Old Time Fiddlers.

Pecan growers are encouraged to enter the “pecan contest” judged the day before the festival by Schalau and Kilby. Anyone interested in entering the "pecan contest" should submit 40 uniformed-sized pecans per tree to the sponsoring Parks and Recreation Department a few days before the show. The submissions must be bagged and appropriately labeled. There will be a $1 charge for each entry. Ribbons will be awarded.

The Pecan Bake-off has four categories: rolls, quick breads, pecan pie and an unpublished family favorite. Enter anything from cakes to hot pecans, but all recipes must include at least one-half cup pecans. Contest entries will be sold off by the slice or piece and winners in the cook-off will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. The wine, pecan delights and antique booths will be showcased inside the warmth of the community center's large auditorium.

Anyone wishing more information or entry forms should contact the festival sponsor by calling 567-0535, ext. 136.

Locals will show off their favorite pecan recipes through February on the town's web site at www.cvaz.org.

If You Go ...

What: Wine/Pecan and Antique Festival

When: Saturday, Feb. 9; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 10; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Camp Verde Community Center Gym, 395 S. Main St. (entrance on Hollamon Street)

Cost: $2 entrance fee; $5 for wine glasses for six samples


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