This year marks the 31st anniversary of the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival, which takes place the last weekend in September each year and regularly draws crowds of more than 11,000 to the lake.

The event is scheduled for Sept. 28-29 and begins at 11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday that weekend at Crazy Horse Marina. There will be nearly 30 Virginia wineries, dozens of artisans, craft and food vendors, and live music with dancing.

“In addition to some excellent wineries both large and small, we’ve expanded to include more cideries, distilleries and a meadery,” Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Cheryl Ward said. “Tasters have always received a commemorative wine glass. This year, nontasters will receive an SML-branded water bottle courtesy of Savvy Promos.”

Ward also explained that music is always a popular part of the wine festival and the chamber has lined up some great acts to play on the Kroger Live Music Main Stage.

Musicians performing at the festival include Mended Fences and Weird Science performing on Saturday. On Sunday, Chad and Daniel (winners of the recent Lyrics on the Lake Contest) will perform first, followed by Tate Tuck Trio, then Fuzzy Logic.

Some tips that Ward offers to those planning on attending include having a photo ID ready, because Virginia law requires the checking of everyone’s ID who enters the festival, regardless of age.

The festival also takes place outdoors, rain or shine, so visitors are asked to dress appropriately. Bringing a blanket and/or lawn chair is recommended because people like to set up on the grassy slope that overlooks the music stage. Pets and coolers will not be allowed. One additional tip is to designate a driver. Nontasters can enjoy the food, atmosphere, live music and craft booths for a discounted ticket price.

“We definitely recommend buying tickets in advance,” Ward said. “They’re less expensive and you can skip the purchase line when you arrive.”

-For more information, see the Sept. 18 edition of the Smith Mountain Eagle-

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