FAMU Grape Harvest Festival


“The harvest is plentiful at the FAMU Vineyard but the laborers are few.” For this reason, Reverend R.B. Holmes, Jr., vice chairman, Florida A&M University (FAMU) Board of Trustees, was sought to serve as the first Honorary Chairperson for the Seventh Annual FAMU Grape Harvest Festival to help inspire the community to respond to the festival theme … “A Family Affair.”

“I have been invited by Dean Makola M. Abdullah and the CESTA planning committee to reach out and touch the hearts of friends and supporters of FAMU to start the new academic year off together at the Grape Harvest Festival,” said Holmes. “This activity has been one of the first events of the school year since 2001. Each year, public interest has grown significantly for this event, and we are trying to maximize this opportunity to show off what Florida A&M University has to offer in the fields of agriculture and scientific research.”

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research and the USDA/ARS/CMAVE Center for Biological Control will host the Grape Harvest Festival on Saturday, August 23, 2008, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The festival site is the FAMU Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research, located at 6505 Mahan Drive (Highway 90 East), Tallahassee, Florida.

The planning committee has a goal to attract 1,000 participants to the annual festival that highlights the research of the muscadine grape and other small fruit.

“We are working very hard to literally transform the grounds at the FAMU Center for Viticulture Sciences, Technology into the ‘Land of 1,000 Grape Lovers and Growers’ on the day of the festival,” said Bobby Phills, Ph.D., festival coordinator and small fruit research scientist in CESTA. “We are pulling all plugs to provide an entertaining day of discovery and fun that helps to build stronger relationships between the university and the community, as well as families and friends throughout Florida and beyond.”

The Grape Harvest Festival is sponsored annually to promote community spirit and to increase public awareness of the significant scientific initiatives and outreach efforts of the research centers, which are components of the FAMU College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA). There will be activities for all ages to enjoy. Following is the official schedule of activities for the festival.

7 a.m.
Registration - Vineyard Run/Walk (required)

8 a.m.
Vineyard Run/Walk – $5.00/Adults
Harvest Festival Registration (required)

8:30 a.m.
Harvest Festival officially begins

The following events will be ongoing throughout the day:
Health and Educational Exhibits and Displays
Grape Sampling – Juice Tasting - Vineyard Tours
Performance by the FAMU Marching “100” Band

9 a.m.
Hot-Air Balloon Ride -- $10 per person

10 a.m.
Home Wine-Making Demonstration - A
Grape Throwing Contest

10:15 a.m.
Hula Hoop Contest

11 a.m.
Introduction of Special Guests / Presentation of Awards

12 noon
Celebrity Grape Stomping Competition – Teams from campus and community

1:30 p.m.
Home Wine-Making Demonstration- B

2 p.m.
“Taste of Florida Wines” - Sampling Session – Adults only

“The Tallahassee and surrounding communities are encouraged to come out and enjoy this year’s event, which historically has been both educational and fun,” said Phills. Stephen Leong, Ph.D., director, Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research added, “The Grape Harvest Festival also promotes the Florida grape and wine industry that has shown amazing growth during the last decade. We want the public to know that the FAMU viticulture and small fruit research programs are among the best in the nation. Everyone is invited to come out, enjoy and help make the festival a grand Tallahassee community affair.”

Registration for the festival is free; however, there is a small fee for the following selected events: Run/walk - $5/adults; hot-air balloon ride - $10/adults, $5/children under 14. All funds collected will be donated to support student scholarships in FAMU/CESTA.

To register online, download the registration packet by visiting the college website at www.famu.edu/cesta. Telephone registration is also available by contacting the following persons: Bobby Phills at (850) 599-8685 or bobby@phills.net; Angela Harper at (850) 599-3996, angela.harper@famu.edu; or Stephen Leong, center director, at (850) 412-5188 or Stephen.leong@famu.edu.

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