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Day trip to Paw Paw and the Wine and Harvest Festival


Winery tours show off their fall beauty during the festival.

Here’s a suggestion for a day trip that involves a festival with some rather unique features: It’s in one of the coolest named cities in Michigan (Paw Paw) and it has two intriguing events: a team Grape Stomp and a Turtle Derby.

Paw Paw, Michigan, located west of Kalamazoo and east of Benton Harbor on I-94, is holding itsWine and Harvest Festival September 11-13, 2009.  You will find a car show, three stages on entertainment, teen dances, free fireworks and the St. Julian Winery Parade during the festival, but you will also find the unique “Grape Stomp” events.

Coca Cola is sponsoring the Stomps that offer cash prizes for teams of up to five people in three categories: Stomp for Cash, Student Stomp, and Stomp for Charity. Cash prizes are distributed to the participants, favorite schools, or favorite charities depending on the event. Each team stomps grapes for two minutes and the team with the greatest amount of juice produced by the grapes wins. Of course, there is a long list of do’s and don’ts, but it certainly sounds like something that would be a ball to watch!
Also featured at the festival is the Turtle Derby. The Paw Paw Kiwanis Club sponsors this event each year to raise money for local charities. “Red eared sliders” (I’m assuming those are turtles), sponsored by businesses and individuals, race for prizes of merchandise including bikes and stereos.  Although not as action-packed as the Grape Stomp, I’m sure the crowd will be cheering on the sidelines for their favorite shell-covered athlete.  
St. Julian and Warner Wineries will be offering tastings all weekend and three bicycle tours (22, 39, or 60 miles) will travel past the vineyards during the peak of their seasons.
So, take a break from those early fall chores and plan a trip to Paw Paw. It should be a smashing good time!