Recapping the 5th Annual Uncork Illinois Wine Fest

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The Uncork Illinois Wine Festival has become a staple of summer in Oak Park, drawing crowds in record numbers every year.

I arrived at about 11:30 a.m. to a mostly deserted Marion Street. The only people on the fest grounds at the time were the volunteers (like me) hanging out under an ominous looking sky. I suppose you can say it felt like the calm before the storm on both a literal and figurative level. It was about to pour rain and wine aficionados.

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Luckily for us, the clouds parted once it opened at 1 p.m. and everyone at the festival was more than friendly. There was a bevy of couples, dogs, and families set to the background of jazz music. After finishing our volunteering shift at the water tent, we made our way to the stage where we saw the Jose Valdez Latin Jazz Trio.

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While the older people appreciated the wine and live music, there were a few younger ones who were more interested in ice cream.

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Leave it to a place like Oak Park to provide a setting where everyone, regardless of age or wine expertise, can have a good time.

As we walked around from tent to tent trying to find something to stand out from the over 150 wines at the event, we came across the Winey Mary by Sleepy Creek Vineyards. Check it out… This white wine is made from fermented tomatoes and jalapenos. The best way to enjoy the Winey Mary is with half wine and a splash of Bloody Mary mix. The result is a light, refreshing Bloody Mary/wine Frankenstein concoction and an excuse to drink wine in the the middle of the day. Winey Mary in hand, we took our glasses and walked around some more.

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As always, the Uncork Illinois Wine Festival was a smashing success. Roughly 5,000 people came by throughout the day, supporting local businesses in Oak Park.

From Kristina and Pat at Around Oak Park, we raise a glass and say thank you for having us!

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