Grape-stomping contest set for September |

Grape-stomping contest set for September

Children and grown-ups may sign up for the first annual Grape Stomp, part of the Nevada County Italian Festival set for Sept. 14 and 15 at Western Gateway Park, Penn Valley.

Up to 16 teams of two will compete for trophies. One person will stomp grapes in a barrel, and the teammate will be the swamper, keeping clear the screen inside the barrel at the drain spout. The object is to squeeze as much grape juice as possible out of 25 pounds of grapes into collection buckets in three minutes.

Prizes also will be awarded for best costumes, although costumes are not necessary to compete, said organizer Joe Grande, a member of the host Nevada County Italian Cultural Foundation and co-owner of Grande Wood Designs in Grass Valley.

An anonymous donor has pledged 500 pounds of grapes for the event, and eight teams will compete each day in one of two heats daily; the daily winners will go on to a "stomp-off" the same day. Rules and online payment to enter are at; the cost is $30 per team and includes entry to the festival. The Grape Stomp is a new event at the festival, which started in 2010 to celebrate the area's rich Italian heritage dating from before the Gold Rush.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 14 and 15, and includes musical entertainment, activities and shows for children, cooking demonstrations, wine-tasting, 20 food and craft vendors and a bocce tournament. Admission is $10; children younger than 12 and active military members with an ID get in free; parking is free. Call 530-274-3301 or for details.

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