Foothills Celebration a tasty success |

Foothills Celebration a tasty success

Plenty of food, wine and sunshine brought hundreds of people to the streets and shops of downtown Grass Valley on Saturday afternoon during the sixth annual Foothills Celebration.

“We never have this many people in the shop at one time,” said Jeanna McSweeney, owner of Just Jeanna’s clothing, talking above the din of people eating champagne cake and sipping claret as they picked through the racks.

More than 40 local food and wine merchants participated in the three-hour food and wine tasting event that transformed downtown into an eat-drink-shop mecca. The festival was started six years ago to boost tourism during at an otherwise slow time of the year.

Four hundred tickets were presold for the event and more were sold during the day, according to Howard Levine, executive director of the Grass Valley Downtown Association, which hosted the event along with Music in the Mountains.

“We want people to come and enjoy themselves and feel good about downtown,” said Levine, adding that the goal of the event was re-acquaint local residents with downtown merchants and give them a chance to discover new shops.

“It’s a great way to go into places I don’t go into and try the different wines,” said Judith Wilson of Alta Sierra, stopping to chat as she and her husband were about to check out the offerings at the Starr Winery.

Six musical acts performed at different locations, adding to the town’s festive, mid-winter atmosphere.

James Arbaugh, the owner of Stucki Jewelers, said that while the extra traffic in the store didn’t necessarily boost his daily receipts, it created residual business.

“Couples are looking at things, filling out wish cards,” Arbaugh said, which he claimed will lead to a sale when one half of a couple returns to buy the coveted piece of jewelry.

To contact Staff Writer Jill Bauerle, e-mail or call 477-4219.

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