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The 2014 Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival weekend begins

The fifth annual Lehigh Valley Food and Wine Festival, a three day affair highlighting some of the best local food and wine, and hosted at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center, estimates this weekend events will see 4,000 to 6,000 guests.

Started in 2010, the festival has grown from a one day experience, held in a tent that was located behind the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, to where it stands now; a gala exhibit for the Lehigh Valley’s restaurants and wineries.

This year food and wine event also has a charitable function and is raising funds for the Northampton Community College. Additionally, the National Endowment for the Humanities will match 50 cents on every dollar raised for the community college at the Food and Wine festival.

The Burger and Beer Bash, which actually ends the event on Friday, offers burger samples from local eateries and beer samples from local breweries. The Friday afternoon starts with a cooking demo by Emeril Lagasse, followed by the highlight of the evening; a gala reception and dinner hosted by Emeril.

The Grand Tasting, which takes place on both Saturday and Sunday, offers samples from 25-30 area restaurants and over 40 different types of local wines. These two days will also feature more cooking demos, wine seminars, and a cigar bar.

Some notables for the two days include cooking tips from the Hotel Hershey’s executive pastry chef, ideas from the chefs at Emeril’s Homebase and Chop House (showcase restaurants at the casino), and a demonstration using four cuts of aged beef to prepare a Philly cheesesteak.

Tickets for the events range from $35 for the Burger and Beer Bash to 85$ - $103 for the Grand Tasting. All tickets can be purchased through with additional fees added. However, according to the event’s website, lower priced tickets are available to anyone who purchases directly from the Sands Event Center box office.

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