By: Jan Engoren Contributing Writer
After a three-year absence, the Delray Beach Wine and Seafood festival returned to Old School Square bringing food, wine, vendors, music and people out for two days of sun and perfect temperatures.
In addition to the endless array of seafood – from conch and coconut shrimp, to crawfish and crab cakes, from lobster rolls and lobster mac and cheese, one of the highlights of the two-day festival was the food and wine pairing seminars with local chefs preparing their specialties to go with wine.
Dozens of wine varietals were available for tasting in a ‘wine down’ garden with live music provided by Mitch Herrick and The Homegrown Sinners, Aaron Mansfield and the Taylor Road Band, among others.
“We’re excited to bring back the Delray Beach Wine and Seafood fest after a three-year hiatus,” said Nancy Stewart-Franczak of the Festival Management Group. “We received an overwhelming response to bring the festival back and in true Festival Management Group fashion, we listened.”
At Pearson’s Cajun-style seafood, Stephanie Easley, 26, flew in from California to run her mother’s food stand. Serving Louisiana style catfish, gator, frog legs and Hush Puppies, the family runs a restaurant in Paris, CA and travels to various festivals around the country;
For her first time in Delray Beach, Easley said, “It’s beautiful, I love it here.”
Picnicking on a bench and enjoying coconut shrimp and Caribbean basa fish, were friends Daria Pierce, of Pennsylvania and Patty Sutter from Weston. The two were waiting for their wine tasting session.
“We heard about the festival and came directly from the beach,” Pierce said.
Vendors were selling everything from hats, sunglasses, T-shirts, CBD oil and hemp products to hand-crafted swing chairs to hand-made jewelry.
Liza Heck from New Jersey was selling her Beach Girl Jewelry and Peacearamics – handmade ceramic ornaments in the shape of starfish and angels with the city’s name on them.
Local entrepreneur Corey Gleichenhaus who runs an ad agency in the city, was promoting his latest venture, American Shaman CBD oil.
With a brick and mortar store in the plaza near 3 G’s Gourmet Deli on W. Atlantic Ave., Gleichenhaus sells edibles with CBD cookies, candy, popcorn and even skin care and beauty products.
Hilton Head resident Jason Becker was there selling his hammock-like hand crafted floating leaf tables and chairs.
Sipping wine and rocking on one of his creations were Evan Bell, 24, visiting from Ohio and Melissa Dombro, 24, of Boca Raton.
Colorado resident, Joan Olsen, was there demonstrating her family’s authentic Colorado grown hemp products, including salves and oils.
People were out walking their dogs and even one cat walked by on a leash.
Sitting on a shady bench and enjoying the atmosphere were Elaine and Bill O’Shea, snowbirds from Cape May, N.J.
Their son Matthew O’Shea runs the Goodland Modern Pastry Kitchen on N.E. 6th Ave. in Delray Beach.
“The town always has a lot going on,” Elaine O’Shea said. “We especially enjoyed the tree lighting here in Old School Square at Christmas time and the downtown Christmas parade.We love coming to Delray Beach.”