Three years in the making, the Grand Rapids International Wine & Food Festival could become Michigan’s premier food and wine festival. Presented by the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention and Arena Authority and ShowSpan, the festival will be held next weekend, Nov. 21-23, at DeVos Place.
“Our local food scene ideally positions Grand Rapids as an excellent host for the Wine and Food Festival,” says Janet Korn, CVB marketing director. “Our high quality restaurants, access to quality culinary education and abundance of locally grown ingredients offers travelers a reason to visit. Grand Rapids could be referred to as a destination for foodies.”
The festival pairs the city’s finest restaurants with vintners from across the globe for an unprecedented West Michigan culinary event. The $15 admission includes a sample glass and official program, but is not all inclusive. Sample tickets are available for purchase in $0.50 denominations. According to the show promoters, this system encourages wineries to display only their best and most exclusive brands.
The festival also includes several presentations on wine, beer, spirits and cooking throughout the week, featuring many of West Michigan’s most recognizable culinary talents and some special celebrity chef guests.
For a higher level experience, reserve a spot in one of two special pairing sections. The 1913 Room and Bar Divani will prepare a three course culinary masterpiece paired with a chef-selected wine for only $25. Other special features of the festival include a focus on the wines of Perugia, Italy, a Grand Rapids Sister City.
WAVE Awards recognize excellence in hospitality
At the festival, The Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Kent County Lodging Association will recognize winners of their inaugural WAVE Awards, a program that recognizes outstanding service providers in the Grand Rapids and Kent County hospitality industry.
The 2008 winners, in their respective category, include:
* Dining: Ivan Rojas - White Lodging Services
* Lodging: Maria Del Campo - Courtyard by Marriott - Airport/White
* Nightlife: Kasandra Butler - Days Hotel Grand Rapids
* Transportation: Brent Wheatley - Metro Cab of Grand Rapids LLC
* Retail: Mike Dombrowski - Art Of The Table
"Our front line service providers are the first and last impression for our city,” said Doug Small, President of Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “They create a lasting impression for the whole visitor experience. Guest satisfaction is key when luring conventions to come to Grand Rapids and returning for more. The visitor experience and overall destination appeal are two characteristics that define a great destination.”
All five Grand Rapids area WAVE winners will also be nominated in their respective category for the Stars of the Industry Awards at the 2009 "Driving Michigan Tourism Conference" - the annual industry gathering of tourism and lodging leaders, hosted by the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association and Travel Michigan.