Oh, the perils of a July wine festival...steamy sipping always seems to be a foregone conclusion, but this year's brutal heat wave made it particularly challenging. Forecasts for the day ranged anywhere from 101 to 107 and as it was Downtown Excelsior Partnership's biggest fundraiser, the K-Man was truly sweating the continuing onslaught of the 2012 Endless Heat Wave. What would the day bring?
There was more potential for mass chaos that day than just blistering heat. This fest is held at my workplace, the Elms, and their renovation remains incomplete by a floor and a half of guestrooms and the spa. We were sold out with not just wine festival packages but we had two weddings; one in each ballroom as well. Despite the incomplete spa, we still had VIP spa guests arriving that we ending up taking care of in suites that we had converted to treatment rooms. Once the spa guests left, the housekeepers had to turn it back around to guestrooms immediately. There was even a bridal show offsite that was utilizing some of our sales folks, so it was an absolute all-hands-on-deck kind of day.
Despite our currying all manner of disaster, the day went on without a hitch. The wine flowed all day while several wine and cooking demos were presented at the Carriage House...including a unique one featuring Rob of Bobcorn, our local gourmet popcorn haven. I will do a post on this joint in the future because the creativity of their popcorn knows no bounds. This demo was no different and featured wine-infused popcorn with chocolate and bacon. Sounds bizarre indeed, but it was wonderful: popped in the actual bacon drippings, it was as decadent as popcorn gets.
By the end of the day, the festive atmosphere had gone viral and spread across the hotel grounds...both ballrooms were thumping with dance music and Miss Major and Her Minor Mood Swings had the vino sippers boogieing on the back lawn. In fact, one of the weddings had a carnival theme that included a photo booth, a magician and an old bumper car set up on their buffet table so indeed, the party atmosphere was truly in effect. Yes, it was crazy-hot but actually so hot the humidity wasn't as pervasive, so with the breeze, it was fairly bearable.
The hotel rocked its first big test and everyone had much to be proud of, to be sure.
Note: The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the opinions of Widewaters Hotels.