Crowd fills streets for Mystery Wine Walk

Downtown Main Street played host once again to our Mystery Wine Walk Saturday night.

Almost 2,000 people from Sumner to Illinois strolled the sidewalks to help us celebrate the fourth anniversary of wine tasting and sleuthing.

Every half hour visitors could watch a cast of characters to learn mystery clues, followed by the old-time rock and roll sounds of the Sumner Notes or the barbershop harmony of Artists in Resonance.

From Kincaid to Sumner avenues visitors wandered in and out of 15 tasting sites featuring more than 40 Prosser wines and local favorites including Hoodsport Rhubarb Wine.

Many of our downtown guests also mentioned they especially enjoyed the artisan creamery cheese samples that were sponsored by local Washington cheesemakers – Willapa Hills and Gothberg Farms. These are small, locally-run sheep and goat farms that make the best specialty cheese. I loved the Gothberg Chevre and the Willapa Hills Ewe Moon. And while both were delicious, every time I said “Ewe Moon” I couldn’t help but break out into song – “ewe saw me standing alone” – you get the idea. Everyone around me was rolling their eyes and telling me to shush.

The mystery cast of Ascension Productions was back on stage downtown at the corner of Main and Alder streets. We kept Main Street open during the event and I loved watching the look on people’s faces as they drove by the barricades and saw the crowd of people sitting near the crosswalk and dancing in the street. One of those cars had visitors from Illinois.

When they saw all the hoopla, they parked and decided to participate in the wine walk. They stopped to ask me about my picture taking, and I naturally explained what a great little town they were staying in and that we were the “Rhubarb Pie Capital.”

While talking with them at the corner, the band started playing and before I knew it, Mr. Illinois grabbed cast member and city Communications Director Carmen Palmer for a little swing dancing on the sidewalk. They laughed when I ran into them later that evening and introduced them to Zak Nelson from the Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, who was here to experience one of our events firsthand.

It’s great to make new friends on Main Street, but it was just as fun to wave and say hi to friends like Marshall Bennett and Donna Hardtke as they drove by.

My favorite street conversation was with the Rev. Steve Starr, who leaned out the window of his car to ask if the weather was warm and sunny enough for me? I cracked up because last week during his opening prayer at Rotary, he gave thanks for the recent rain. I, however, paid a happy buck to mention how thrilled I was with the weather report for lots of sunshine on wine walk day.

It’s no wonder I love my job, because it doesn’t matter if you’re new to town or have lived here all your life, if you like mysteries or dancing in the street, it’s just plain, old fun to spend some time in Sumner.

Shelly Schlumpf is executive director of the Sumner Downtown Association.