By Hayley Thomas
Pitted foods, corked beverages and a bevy of local art promises to enliven the first-ever Fork & Corks Festival, slated for 4 to 8 p.m. on July 6 at Halter Ranch Winery in Paso Robles.
Presented by American General Media, the event will feature sparkling wine, port, beer, wine, gin and whiskey alongside a bounty of pitted fruits and veggies, including peaches, avocados, cherries, and peaches.
The area’s top 20 chefs will be on-hand creating delectable treats as well as competing against one another with mouthwatering results. Featured chefs will include Apple Farm, Avant Garde Experience, Crush Catering, Cuvee, Indulge at Paso Oaks, Inn at Morro Bay, Jeffry’s Catering, La Guardias Homemade, Pappy McGregors, Pairing Knife, SLO Brewing Company, Pi, Ribline, Summerwood Inn, the Taproom at Firestone Walker Brewing Company and more. Fine art will be provided by Paso Robles’ own Studios on the Park, adding an artistic twist to the experience.
“Studios on the Park is excited to take our unique open studios concept on the road for the inaugural Fork and Corks Fest,” said Studios on the Park Program Director Sasha Irving. “Our nonprofit currently serves 70,000 visitors every year, and fundraisers like this bolster our efforts to serve even more children and adults.”
Many visual treats are in store for attendees, including Over a Barrel’s wine barrel furniture and a giant painting created just for the event by farmer and artist Joe Thomas, Irving added.
Studios on the Park artist Jim Tyler is one of about 20 artists that will present their work during the local showcase.
“I love the intense colors of his artwork; he’s a master of light,” said Studios on the Park Marketing Consultant Jeanne Bean Murdock.
The artwork will be displayed in Halter Ranch’s rustic barn and a portion of all art sold will benefit Studios’ community arts education efforts, including their Kids Art Smart program for Paso Robles Elementary School students.
The event, which costs $60 to $70 per person, also raises funds for Must! charities, a nonprofit founded by area wine industry leaders to support area nonprofits.
“Must! Charities is dedicated to improving quality of life in San Luis Obispo’s North County by offering hope, compassion and resources to those in need,” according to the Must! Website. “Instead of giving charitable ‘handouts,’ Must! Charities walks alongside other local organizations to create longterm, sustainable transformation within the region.”
Irving said she’s thrilled to add an artistic flair to the inaugural event and to the community as a whole.
“Our talented, professional artists will be transforming the Halter Ranch barn with their colorful works in acrylic, charcoal, jewelry, oil, pastel, watercolor, wood and more,” she said.
Halter Ranch Winery is located at 8910 Adelaida Road in Paso Robles. For more information, go to www.pasoforkandcorksfest.com for more information. For more information on Must!, go to www.mustcharities.org.