Wine flows as large crowd turns out for Festival of the Grape

Scotland may be better known for its whiskey than its vineyards, but it was a team with Scottish connections that emerged as the grape stomping champions Sunday at Festival of the Grape.

The Grape Stomp is one of the highlights of the hugely popular festival that drew thousands of people to Oliver Community Park on Sunday (Oct 2). It helped that the weather co-operated.

Scots on Holiday took the top spot in the finals, having already out-performed their friends and rivals, Brits on Holiday in an earlier heat.

The team consisted of Corinne Forbes, on a three-week holiday from Aberdeen, Scotland, and her friends Lois King and King’s son Thomas King.

Thomas was born in Aberdeen, but he now lives in Calgary, works for WestJet and speaks with a Canadian accent.

Lois had to consider herself an honorary Scot. She’s a Brit, now living in Houston, Texas, but spending summers in Kaleden.

Thomas said he’d never stomped grapes before, but he quickly figured out the success formula.

“Mass times acceleration,” he said, acknowledging that he weighs around 250 pounds. “Heavy boy. I’m only 23, so youth helped,” he added, explaining his energy.

A nagging mother and a loud, cheering sister were also factors in his success, they said.

This is the first time Forbes has ever visited the Okanagan, though she had previously visited Toronto and Vancouver.

“It’s fabulous,” she said. “The weather is fantastic and everybody is so friendly. It’s amazing. I plan to come back.”

While the Scottish outfits and flag made Scots on Holiday a colourful team, they were no match in the costume department for the Juicy Lucys, who easily took the prize for best costumes.

With colourful skirts and tops in grape patterns, and red-headed wigs and bright red lipstick, Calgarians Courtney Kirton, Deb Stevens and Talore Peterson looked just like a trio of Lucille Balls.

It was an appropriate costume choice for those who remember the famous episode of the 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy, where Ball stomps grapes in Italy.

The Grape Stomp is a popular event at Festival of the Grape, but the highlight for many people is the chance to stroll around and sample the products at the booths of wineries from throughout the Okanagan.

Some of the lines were long at times, but participants traded tips with each other on the best wineries to visit.

There were other events scattered around the park.

On the stage, Gary Comeau and the Voodoo Allstars provided music throughout the event.

Children played on inflatables or visited a petting zoo nearby, and many vendors had booths selling everything from crafts to food to multi-level marketing products.

An art show organized by the Oliver Arts Council featured a wide mix of media from photographs to sculptures on the theme “Going Wild!”

Also on display were various artistic takes on the Edvard Munsch painting “The Scream,” done by the RipOff Artists.

Following opening ceremonies, Caine Kruger of Osoyoos Indian Band, wore spectacularly coloured regalia and performed a couple vigorous dances.

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