Capital Food & Wine Festival 2017

by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS

The Capital Food & Wine Festival is an annual 501(c)(3) fundraiser for Saint Martin’s University. Al Eckroth, director of the first and second installments, describes it as “a huge annual block party, where neighbors and friends unite in a spirit of community.” He says the festival “began in 1989 as a way of bringing the greater community together at Saint Martin’s…to showcase and celebrate Washington wines and great Olympia area restaurants while generating funds for the Saint Martin’s Alumni Association and…scholarships for worthy Saint Martin’s students.”

Each adult receives a beer mug or wine glass, then buys scrip to pay for beverages and food. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance (for a reduced price) at Vintners represented at this year’s festival include Bavarian Cellars, Marchetti, Scatter Creek and at least 30 others. The Worthington Center hosts an “RJ’s Premium Cellar” stocked with exceptional wines. “RJ’s” is named for the late Randi Johnson, an alumna of Saint Martin’s who helped launch the festival. A variety of hard ciders are on hand this year, as are over three dozen beers on tap from Deschutes Brewery, Fish Brewing Company and Iron Horse Brewery.

O’Blarney’s Irish Pub provides a tent that will serve as a sports bar including multiple big-screen TVs. Ethan Tucker, native Olympian and a popular competitor on NBC’s The Voice, performs live with his band at 6:30 p.m. Tucker has traveled the country, performing with Jimmy Cliff, Michael Franti, G-Love and Buddy Guy. Says Franti, “I think Ethan is going to be a perennial artist for a lifetime of music…like Ben Harper or Jack Johnson or even John Lee Hooker.” In addition to Tucker, a number of classical, folk and jazz artists will perform on three different stages.

Now let’s talk about the food—ohh, the food. Look for sweet treats from Blissful Wunders Confectionary Chocolates and Olympic Mountain Ice Cream. Then there are satisfying savory dishes from Jerky Girl, Lucky Eagle Casino, Paella Pro and Red Wind Casino. Olympia Olive Oil will show off its roster of distinctive blends, perfect for gourmet cuisine or even a quick sprinkle over popcorn.

“I have seen the impact that the Capital Food & Wine Festival has on education,” says 2013 alumna Kenzie Olson. “For me, getting involved in the Capital Food & Wine Festival is a chance for me to give back. These students are the future, and these scholarships help them to reach their full potential.” Olson now serves as an event coordinator for the festival. This event is open to everyone and draws a huge crowd each year. Due to limited space, however, no strollers are permitted inside, and of course alcohol is restricted to guests aged 21 or older. Photo identification will be checked at the door.

What: Capital Food & Wine Festival

Where: Marcus Pavilion,
Saint Martin’s University,
5300 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey

When: noon – 9 p.m. Saturday, March 25

How much: $10-$20

Learn more: 360-943-3323 | Capital Food & Wine Festival

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