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2014 Winterfest Kick-Off At The Suffolk Theater

Douglas MacKaye Harrington

This year's kick-off event certainly reflected the new musical diversity of Winterfest with the East End's favorite country band Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks opening up the festivities. (Photo: Douglas MacKaye Harrington)

The historic Suffolk Theater in Riverhead was packed this past Friday for the Kick-Off Party to this year's Live-on-the-Vine/Long Island Winterfest celebration. Hamptons.com is once again pleased to be a supporting media sponsor of Long Island Winterfest.

The event began with a 6:30 p.m. press conference which included an opening welcome from Kathryn Simos, the new Winterfest Coordinator, followed by remarks from East End Arts Executive Director Pat Snyder, Sal Diliberto of the Long Island Wine Council, Michelle Isabella-Stark of the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development, Rob Salvatico of the Hotel Indigo East End and Howard C. Bluver, President and CEO of Winterfest Presenting Sponsor Suffolk County National Bank.

Rob Salvatico, owner of Hotel Indigo East End, addressing the crowd during the pre-party press conference. (Photo: Douglas MacKaye Harrington)

Politicians on hand included State Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo and Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski. Congratulations were also offered by Scott Martella, Suffolk County Representative for the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Previously known as Jazz-on-the-Vine, the name change reflects Winterfest's move to include different genres of music including blues, rock, r&b and country, although jazz will remain the staple. Now in its 7th year, Live-on-the-Vine will feature over 100 musical performances, including many Grammy and Grammy nominated musicians, at dozens of vineyards and venues across the North Fork from Wading River to Southold.

This year's kick-off event certainly reflected the new musical diversity of Winterfest with the East End's favorite country band Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks opening up the festivities. Also performing were legendary bassist for Paul Simon Bakihi Kumalo and the incredible Latin jazz band Mambo Loco. All three took the stage for an encore finale that culminated in a fantastic group performance of Santana's "Oye Como Va."

Lauren hogan, Kristen Reyes and Jeff Minihane of Hotel Indigo East End with Mike Falcetta of Sparkling Pointe Vineyards. (Photo: Douglas MacKaye Harrington)

The beautiful, newly renovated Suffolk Theater was a stunning venue to kick-off this year's Winterfest as over 500 guests dined, drank and danced in the art deco atmosphere of what is fast becoming one of the premier entertainment venues in the Northeast. Guests were also treated to complimentary Long Island wine selections from some of the Live-on-the Vine participating vineyards.

Winterfest will run every weekend from February 8 through March 16 opening every Friday with no cover charge performances at the fabulous Bistro 72 at Hotel Indigo East End, which is offering Winterfest weekend accommodation specials. Admission to weekend vineyard performances is $20 per person, which includes a glass of wine. This year there are also day, weekend and six-week "Festival Hopper" passes available. Thanks to Winterfest, once again the North Fork is definitely this winter's musical destination.

Beyond the 2014 Kick-Off Party, the Suffolk Theater will host numerous Winterfest preformances. (Douglas MacKaye Harrington)

For more information, click here.

Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com Hamptons HamptonsOnline HamptonsOnline

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