Monday, September 13, 2010


What a weekend. I was a busy girl and loved every minute. I’ll start with Saturday and tomorrow I will tell you about Sunday’s activities.

Saturday, I attended the Italian Lights Festival with some darling pledge sisters of mine that live in Nashville. We were lured to the festival with the promise of Free Admission, a grape-stomping competition (limited to only 125 participants, mind you, but offering cash prizes for most juice AND best stomp style) and a $15 wine garden, where the wine is free when you buy a souvenir glass. Sounds great, right?

Corrie and Katie picked me up and we made our way to Bordeaux for the festival, which was a fund-raiser for a school, so I can’t really be too bothered by the way the day played out, but the event coordinator in me was really fit to be tied. We follow the signs to the school and are greeted with a $5 parking sign. Okay. A little sneaky but whatever. We pay our cash and head inside. First stop – registering for the grape stomping! The web site and all the materials said registration begins at 11 am with the stomping starting at 1 pm.

After waiting for 20 minutes for the registration booth to come together, we signed up. And by signed up, I mean we told the lady what was going on, including what age group we were in as well as how much our registration fee was. She wasn’t well-informed, but no matter. We had bigger fish to fry than an organized registration process.

NOWHERE did it state that the Wine Garden was limited to three pours per person. In fact, we are pretty sure the web site said “unlimited” and then took it down. It wasn’t until we walked up to buy the small souvenir glasses that we saw that fine print. Well, $5 for a small glass is not really a deal. Indignant, Katie tried to talk her way into at least a fourth pour, but they were not budging.

I think I was the one who got the bright idea for what came next. We loaded up in the car and went in search of our OWN wine. We found a liquor store less than a mile away, bought two cheap bottles of wine and rounded up some plastic cups from the Dollar Tree next door, and enjoyed our own “wine garden” in Rebecca’s car until it was time to stomp. We ended up feeling really risky and took our cups in with us! I just knew we’d get kicked out, but no one said a word about it.
Not wanting to be tardy, but knowing our age group was fourth in line, we arrived at the stomping tent at 1 pm to find utter chaos. I would have taken charge but it was more fun watching the chaos unfold. The guy that was running the show – Ernesto, pictured below – had received little to no instruction as to what was supposed to happen. He soon came to depend on our little group for further instruction. He didn’t know what the age groups were; he didn’t have a stopwatch for time (he’d look our direction and ask "how much time?" I’d look at my watch and regardless of what it said, just start shouting "30! 29! 28! 27!" etc); he’d grab an “impartial” audience member to look at the juice to determine the winner… it was just madness.
Finally after the children had stomped, it was time for the big girls. Just as we were thinking we had it in the bag, another group of girls our age walked up. Foiled! When Ernesto realized we were all the same age, he decided to split us up. Katie and Rebecca stomped against two boys that were in high school, leaving Corrie and I to stomp against the other girls.

They stomped their hearts out but in the end, Rebecca came out on top. Even though we’d been promised cash, and then Monell’s gift cards, Rebecca was led to the merch tent where she picked out an Italian flag apron. This was really upsetting, because we were counting on some big prizes. While Corrie and I geared up to stomp, Katie and Rebecca worked the crowd until they found the person who held the key to a nicer reward than an apron.

Corrie and I had to double up since there weren’t enough buckets for everyone in our age group that wanted to stomp. That totally spoiled my plan to lock down best stomping style using my advanced tap dance skills, but no matter. Corrie and I had a surefire plan to win – I would stomp inside and she’d stomp the perimeter. This was a smart plan, until one lady decided she wanted her large husband to stomp with her. So we had three buckets with a pair of girls, and then one bucket with a large man and his wife. UNFAIR but we gave it our best effort.

Normally I don’t like getting incredibly dirty, but I didn’t mind getting ankle deep in some grapes. It was a blast. Can you believe they are really gonna use that juice to make communion wine? Me either, but that’s what they told us (you can see in one of these photos that Katie had a sample of hers). So, knowing the future of the communion wine rested in our hands feet, we stomped our hearts out and were amazed when it came down to us and the man and wife. The “impartial judge from the audience” called it in his favor, so technically, Corrie and I lost.
BUT – while we were competing, Rebecca was told she had won a Monell’s gift card and we should go inside the school and wait on the person who has them (AKA the owner of Monell’s who happens to be Italian, hence their involvement with this festival). While we were waiting, it started to rain, so a lot of other people came indoors as well. To entertain myself them, I started singing "Ave Maria" in my best (fake) Italian-operatic voice. Which prompted two different people to whip out business cards and ask me to e-mail them about singing that song (at the school we were in, and at next year's festival). I didn't have the heart to tell them that I didn't fully know it (nor was I catholic, if in fact that matters). Finally Monell's owner Mr. King came around and gave us all gift cards. That may or may not have had something to do with me telling him I had won our age group. Whatever – it was so close between us and that couple! I will laugh all the way to Monell’s.

After lunch/early dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant, we contemplated rounding out the day with a stop at the Greek Festival but decided we’d seen enough culture for one day. All of my complaints aside, it was fun and I am glad we went!


  1. I really wish there was video of the grape stomping.

  2. Looks like a grand time. Too funny, but unfair that you didn't get the promised prize.

  3. This makes me happy! You girls are hilarious!


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