On Thursday, February 22, the 11th annual Winterfest starts its nearly month-long run. The festival, presented by East End Arts and the Winterfest Steering Committee, celebrates all that the East End has to offer with regards to art, culture, food, business, and the performing arts.
Conceived in 2006, Winterfest was created as an "economic engine" to power support for East End business during the slower winter months. Since, it has grown from its original "Jazz on the Vine" name to include a range of industries--thereby adopting the more all-encompassing moniker, "Winterfest." In 2012, it was awarded the Arts Destination Marketing Award by Americans for the Arts and Destination and Marketing Association International.
"Winterfest has proven its value to the East End by highlighting the area as an exciting destination through brand recognition," says Patricia Drake Snyder, Executive Director of East End Arts. "Now as the festival umbrellas to include all activities on the East End, it will be a powerful marketing tool to support the winter economy."
Wineries, breweries, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, hotels, art galleries, an organic farm, and performing arts centers will take part in the festivities. This year, organizers emphasize a greater focus on providing an "authentic experience" of the East End. A kick-off party will be held on Friday, February 23 at Hotel Indigo in Riverhead.
The event starts at 7 p.m. and will feature live music from East End Trio and Keith Sloane, raffles, and tastings from participating Winterfest restaurants, wineries, and breweries. Tickets for the opening night event are $50 and can be purchased online.
This year's festival also features live performances at various venues, networking events, comedy shows, fundraisers, tours and tastings, cocktail-making seminars, and film screenings. New additions include two organized tours to a winery and brewery, respectively, in early March. A new website was also created for the 2018 festival to better highlight the venues and lodging partners--each of which will offer special packages to visitors.
The website details every event that will take place across the East End with the 2018 Festival Guide, and provides information on available lodging. In addition, the official Facebook page posts up-to-date information, including special promotion codes that can be used on tickets for certain events. Winterfest 2018 concludes on Sunday, March 18.
East End Arts is a not-for-profit arts organization with a mission to promote the arts year-round through events and programming. Proceeds from all events, classes, donations, and memberships are put towards this mission.
For more information about Winterfest 2018, please visit LIWinterFest.com or Facebook.