Keeping the Fun (and Wine) Flowing!

“Rain or shine, there will be wine!” was the unofficial motto for Frisco’s first Uncorked event  – a wine and food festival benefitting Frisco Arts. On a rainy, blustery Saturday morning in April, thousands of Frisco residents and guests nibbled, sipped, shopped, mingled and even stomped on grapes to celebrate the occasion. A last-minute change in venue (from Frisco Square to a covered parking garage at HALL Park) did not dampen the spirits of those who came to experience the best food, wine and fun Frisco has to offer. 

The event, organized by SBG Hospitality, had contributors from all areas of Frisco business and philanthropy. O’Neil Wysocki Family Law was a presenting sponsor and a major financial supporter of the event. Lauren Stephan, the president of SBG Hospitality, originally reached out to Frisco Arts to be the event’s nonprofit partner. Tammy Meinershagen, the executive director of the Frisco Association for the Arts, enthusiastically agreed to be part of the festival. “The desire of our citizens to have more arts and cultural events is growing. Frisco Arts is honored to have been selected as the nonprofit beneficiary of Frisco’s first food and wine festival,” says Ms. Meinershagen. “Our mission is to advance the arts through advocacy, outreach and education, building a stronger community with the arts, and this event falls right in line with our mission. We cast a wide net through our programs and initiatives to support our talented local arts community, and events like this help move the needle forward to help Frisco become a destination for the arts. We are truly grateful for the support of Frisco Uncorked and their investment in our mission.”

Ms. Stephan estimated nearly 3,000 people would be attending the Frisco Uncorked event. While a small percentage of that estimate may have seen the weather forecast and altered their plans, the crowd was impressive and the mood was festive. Local restaurants like Tri Tip Grill, Howard Wang’s, Dee Lincoln Prime and Rye were serving bits and bites of their most delicious dishes. Rye served up Gouda Mac n’ Cheese, Dee Lincoln Prime had Mini Prime Beef Sliders and Howard Wang’s sampled their General Tso’s Chicken. The food was plentiful and delicious and both the young and old enjoyed tasty morsels. 

Dan and Kelli Echternkamp just recently moved to Frisco from Upland, Calif., with their 10-year-old daughter. Only four months into their new life in Frisco, they were excited about the festival and all that the area has to offer residents. “We are loving the local flavor,” said Ms. Echternkamp. “There is so much to do here.” 

Chrissi Cawthon and Heidi Schubert, both of Frisco, were there with their families enjoying food and planning their next stop: wine tasting. “There will be wine today,” Ms. Cawthon says, smiling. “We really enjoy all the events in Frisco  – the Strawberry Festival, the carnival … Frisco has so much to do!”

Everyone knows how well food and wine pair with live music. Local bands like Warehouse, Gunpowder and Lead, Hannah Kirby and the High Definition Band kept the crowd entertained throughout the day. 

For those feeling competitive, there was even a grape-stomping contest to win free wine. Bryan Linder, the president of Linder Legacy Group, was volunteering to help guests at the grape-stomping station. In between dumping crates of grapes mixed with water into large barrels, Mr. Linder reflected on how well the day’s events were going and how much people appreciated the festival. He says, “I had a 74-year-old woman here this morning who said her whole life she has wanted to stomp grapes because of the ‘I Love Lucy’ episode where Lucy and Ethel stomp grapes. She said to me ‘See? Never give up on your dreams!’ It was great!”

Mr. Linder says his company was proud to be part of a family-friendly event that benefitted Frisco Arts. “My company supports a lot of charities,” Mr. Linder explains. “We try to give back as much as possible. I am a big believer in freedom of expression, whether that be art, singing, dance … whatever it may be. This event is a great opportunity to help Frisco Arts.”

Wineries from Texas to Calif. like Red Road Vineyard and Winery, Kissing Tree Vineyards, Cooley Bay and Homestead Winery kept the wine flowing throughout the event. Guests could sip, snack and enjoy boutique shopping from local artists, clothiers and jewelers. 

More than 50 boutiques were represented and offered everything from women’s clothing and jewelry to t-shirts and more. Eden Lifestyle Boutique, Sunflower Story and The Bohemian Fairy brought color and style to the event with beautiful clothing and accessories. Stephanie Genette, an independent consultant with Grace and Heart, a company that makes handcrafted silver jewelry, says Frisco residents are a great base for her business. “For me, an event like this is about meeting people and making new friends,” she shares. “That is what this is all about. I am enjoying everyone I meet.”

Artist CJ Cowden was showcasing her talent and selling original paintings. Ms. Cowden, who is the artist in residence at Serendipity Labs in Frisco, says she has lived in Frisco for six years and seen her career flourish. “As a member of Frisco Arts, I feel they do a wonderful job promoting the arts in the community. This event is the perfect example of their hard work and dedication,” she says. 

So, what’s up next for Frisco Arts? They have a lot of exciting events coming up, and Ms. Meinershagen and her team hope Frisco residents partake in as many as possible. “On Father’s Day, June 16, we are having a special Frisco Arts Day at Dr Pepper Ballpark for a RoughRiders game. We are partnering with the Crayola Experience to bring arts and sports together, with a portion of ticket sales benefiting Frisco Arts. We would love to fill the stadium with arts and sports enthusiasts! Tickets will be available at a link on our website at friscoarts.org,” says Ms. Meinershagen. “We are also kicking off our member happy hours at different restaurants at The Star over the summer. We will offer complimentary appetizers for our membership and a cash bar. We encourage everyone to become a member of Frisco Arts and an advocate for the arts in Frisco!”

Reflecting on Frisco Uncorked after the event, Ms. Meinershagen and her team are already planning for Uncorked 2020. “We are thrilled that the event had such a strong turnout, despite the last-minute venue change due to weather. As arts enthusiasts, we all know the show must go on … and with a smile! We had great fun at the grape-stomping competition, and everyone enjoyed the fabulous tastes of food and wine. We pulled together as a team to make it a huge success, and we are truly grateful to all who came to support Frisco’s first wine and food festival. We look forward to seeing this event grow even bigger next year!”

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Lisa Dawson is a full-time working mom of three, a freelance writer and a Frisco resident.