Smartsville family sets Grape Stomp record at this past Italian Festa |

Smartsville family sets Grape Stomp record at this past Italian Festa

David and Taj Daunch set a grape-stomping record at this past Italian Festa, held at Western Gate Park in Penn Valley. The two squeezed 5.1 pounds of juice out of 20 pounds of grapes.
Submitted Photo |

A Smartsville 6-year-old and his dad set a grape-squishing record recently when they squeezed 5.1 pounds of juice out of 20 pounds of fruit.

The pair had attended the first day of the recent Italian Festa, in Penn Valley, and saw the first heats of the Grape Stomp. They turned the day of family fun into a stomp recon mission.

“We had a chance to observe some of the veterans,” father David Daunch said with a knowing look.

He and son Taj returned the next day, with a strategy informed by the successes and failures of the competition.

“You got to keep the grapes out of the drain,” nodded Taj, who was the swamper of the two-man team.

Their stomp-off produced an all-time Festa record, they added.

Kimberly Baumgardner, of Colfax, and Lisa Wheeling, of Penn Valley, won the Best Costume award for their interpretation of the iconic “I Love Lucy” episode in which Lucille Ball stomps grapes with the pros.

“We dressed, both of us, with our hair in bandanas, wearing peasant blouses and big skirts,” Baumgardner said. “I can’t imagine doing a huge barrel of it that way! But we had fun. I would do it again!”

Organizer Lloyd Young sent a big “thank-you” to Holiday Market of Penn Valley for storing the 140 gallons of grapes used for the two-day Grape Stomp.

The Italian Festa, held Sept. 26-27 at Western Gateway Park, raised money for scholarships given by the Nevada County Italian Cultural Foundation. Visit for more information about the foundation and its many programs.

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