Art and Wine Festival makes its way to Peoria for first time

The first Art and Wine Festival in Peoria will feature 12 different wineries and over 100 different varietals. (Caitlin King Khoury/Submitted)

Willcox Wine Country and Silver Lining Riding are combining to bring the award-winning Art and Wine festival to Peoria.

This will be the first time that the event has been in Peoria. It will be held at the Centennial Plaza Park on Saturday, Nov. 19, and Sunday, Nov. 20.

“If you live in the West Valley and you see these types of festivals, it is an hour (away),” said Stefani Wong, vice president and volunteer for Silver Lining Riding Board. “You want to see some art; you want to see some culture. Well, now it is in your backyard.”

The Peoria Wine and Art Festival is another iteration of the very successful string of festivals put on by the Willcox Wine Country organization. The festival will consist of many different activities, featuring 12 different wineries with over 100 different varietals of wine for the public to try.

It will also have original works from 40 artists, crafters and artisans from across the Valley, as well as live music from folk rock artist Jeordie and other local talent throughout the event. There will also be a number of breweries from the West Valley. Other activities will include beer and wine making classes on both days and miniature horses, among many other things to do.

“It’s an opportunity for folks all across the area to come and have a good time,” Wong said.

The event is all for a good cause, as it will support Silver Lining Riding, a local nonprofit that provides adaptive horseback riding lessons to the special needs community. Based out of Waddell, the organization works with people who have cognitive or motor disabilities, as well as emotional challenges.

“We focus on the West Valley, so this was a natural fit for us,” Wong said. “We are just thrilled to be involved and reach another pocket of the community.”

These events are all stemming from the growing wine community in Arizona. Willcox is a big factor in that growth, as it has been known to be one of the top destinations to grow grapes in the state. Its rich soil has led to higher quality products that have been recognized for excellence, and many famous wineries are now located in Willcox.

The Art and Wine Festival is just the first step of the ladder for Peoria as an event destination, though. The city is quietly establishing itself as one of the premier locations for events, and this popularity has given its residents a sense of pride. Even though it lies a ways away from cities like Scottsdale and Phoenix, events like these are more frequently starting to creep their way more to Peoria.

Hosting this event does more than create a fun environment for the patrons, as it is starting to lead to a more diverse environment, full of activities for the residents.

This growth in the wine community, and the Peoria community as a whole, has helped in getting more events like the Peoria Art and Wine Festival to the West Valley.

“I think what it does is it gives you a sense of pride in your community,” said Marylou Stephens, arts, culture and library services director for the city of Peoria. “When you can be proud of the way our city looks, the way we welcome events of this type, when you come together as a community over an event like this, you feel that sense of connection.

“Peoria is a very special place.”

IF YOU GO

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, and Sunday, Nov. 20

WHERE: Peoria Centennial Plaza Park, 9875 N. 85th Avenue, Peoria

COST: Tickets start at $20

INFO: facebook.com/events/1287168102088336/