Wine and Pear Festival this weekend

3rd annual benefit at WAAAM raises funds for scholarships

Vintners pour their wines, artists display their skills, and chefs serve their best during the Columbia Gorge Wine and Pear Festival May 18-19 in Hood River.

And students will reap the benefits of all that sharing and tasting of wares in the third annual Rotary benefit event.

Funds from the Wine and Pear Festival at Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum go to college scholarships for members of the community. Rotary provides an average of $40,000 each year in scholarship money.

Tickets and other Details

Tickets for Wine and Pear Festival are available at the door or on line at

A festival day pass costs $20 per person and includes four wine-tastings, a commemorative glass and admission to WAAAM.

A festival weekend pass costs $35 per person and includes eight tastings, commemorative wine glass and admission both days to WAAAM.

Festival hours are: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

This year, the festival moves into a different building at WAAAM, Hangar 3; festival admission includes full admission to the museum.

On-site parking is free.

Several participating local hotels offer lodging packages that include admission tickets. Book at

The festival will feature the many award-winning wineries and vineyards in the Columbia Gorge AVA, including two days of wine tasting, local and visiting musicians, artists from around the Pacific Northwest and fruit pairings from the Pear Bureau Northwest.

Admission includes wine tastings, pairings with local fruit, specially selected food from local restaurants, art from noted local artisans and music by renowned Gorge musicians.

Attendees will also be able to stroll through the WAAAM, one of the largest museum collections of still-flying antique airplanes and still-driving antique automobiles in the country.

Merridy Stehlik of Hood River said, “Receiving a Rotary Scholarship in 1995 assisted me greatly in my pursuit of a nursing degree at OSU and OHSU. After 13 years of working in the NICU at St. Vincent’s in Portland, I am thrilled to be back in Hood River working as an RN in our local hospital and enjoying the great community I grew up in.”

Mari-Beth Guenther said, “Rotary’s involvement in providing scholarships to high school students in our area is a great thing. Many kids have benefited from the generosity of the club and have gone on to do great things.”

Guenther graduated from Hood River Valley High School in 2002. She attended Oregon State University, received a degree in Political Science and a minor in Spanish in 2005 from Oregon State University, and received her Masters in Business Administration in 2007.

“I received my Rotary scholarship in 2002 and went on to graduate with my MBA all because of organizations like Rotary that provide scholarships,” Guenther said. “I have been attending Rotary meetings with my dad since I was little. That is where my dad taught me to shake hands, look people in the eye and talk with adults. When I was in high school I organized high school students to participate in the Rotary apple sale. At the time that was the main fundraiser that raised funds for scholarships. I felt it was important for the high school kids to give back and thus help raise funds for their scholarships. “

Music schedule:

Saturday, May 18

11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — The Groove Project, Tim Mayer and friends

2:45 to 5:45 p.m. — The Gulizia Brothers

Sunday, May 19

12:30 to 2:30 p.m. — Chuck Haynie and Jammer Friends, local bluegrass artists

2:45 to 4:45 p.m. — Willy and Nelson, easy listening

“Our attendance tripled last year to 2,300, and we hope to perhaps double it this year,” said Dave Bick, this year’s festival coordinator. “We expect between 3,000 and 5,000 people.”

Vendors and artists hail almost exclusively from the Gorge area.

The Columbia Gorge Wine and Pear Festival features local wines from noted award-winning winemakers including Bob Lorkowski, John Haw, Rich Cushman and Franco Marchesi.

All the money raised from the event goes to support Rotary service projects in the community, the biggest of which is scholarships for graduating high school seniors.

Last year, Rotary gave more than $33,000 in scholarships; and the group plans to give more this year. Since 1996, Rotary has given more than $500,000 in scholarships to local youth.

Participating wineries and food vendors

Aniche Cellars, Cathedral Tidge Winery, Cascade Cliffs Winery, Garnier Vineyards, Hood Crest Winery, Hood River Ciderworks, Marchesi Vineyards, Mt. Hood Winery, Naked Winery, Noble Estate Vineyard and Winery, Pheasant Valley Vineyard and Winery, Phelps Creek Vineyards, The Pines, Springhouse Cellar Winery, Stoltz Vineyards, Sunshine Mill winery (Quenett), Viento Wines, Wy’East Vineyards, and OSU Vitis Club.

Food and drink: Boda’s Kitchen, Cascadia Creamery, Divots, Full Sail Brewing, Marley’s Corner, Oregon Pear Bureau, Palate Pleaser, Ryan’s Juice, Solstice Wood Fire Café, and White Buffalo Wine Bar and Bistro.

Gorge Artisans: Byrkit Wear, Creations 4 You, Glassometry Studios, Gorge-Us Photography, IC Confections, Inspired Leaf Teas, Jone and Jones, Julia Isabel, Justy’s Jelly, Kathy Watne Enamels, Marie Pickering, Mary Rollins Studio, Poloka Jewelry, Ron Sheldon Paintings, Sally Bills Bailey, Sherry Dunnihoo Metalwork, Spirited Woman Purses, Stave Designs, Sugarplum, Uva Spa, and Wildwood Jewelry Design.

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