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Festival leaves good taste with those who partook

Nathan Blank should open a bottle of bubbly and celebrate the success of the inaugural Southern Indiana Uncorked festival held May 24 at the Harrison County Fairgrounds in Corydon.
Never in my 17 years here at The Corydon Democrat have I heard so many positive comments about a first-time venture. Of course, Mother Nature lent a hand by providing nearly ideal weather conditions.
Blank, a graduate of Corydon Central High School and Ball State University, is owner of Cellar on the Square in Corydon, a shop that specializes in wine- and beer-making items as well as novelty items connoisseurs and novices alike might want, so he knows a few things about ports and ales.
And with so many vineyards sprouting in the area, Southern Indiana is gaining notoriety. According to a Purdue University publication, the Indiana Wine Group Council lists 45 locations that offer a minimum of tasting and cellar tours. Six of those ‘ Best Vineyards Winery, Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards, Indian Creek Winery, River City Winery, Turtle Run Winery and Vinetree Farm Winery ‘ are located in the four-county region. There are also many breweries and microbreweries throughout the Hoosier state.
So, last year, when Blank first told me about his idea for a wine festival, I knew if anyone could pull it off, this young entrepreneur could. In the approximate 10 years that I’ve known Blank, he’s been detail-oriented and set high expectations for himself. Of course, he didn’t single-handedly put on the wine fest, so I applaud everyone for their involvement, but Blank was instrumental in the event.
What made Southern Indiana Uncorked a success, besides delightful weather? Well, for starters, the location provided ample parking with easy access in and out of the fairgrounds. Next, the festival had a low admission fee of $10 that included a souvenir tasting glass (unless you weren’t one of the first 1,000 visitors, then you received a plastic cup) as well as 25 tickets that could be redeemed for 25 samples of the ale or wine of your choice. Then, there were the wineries and breweries in attendance, all which had several selections available for sampling. Add in some great musical entertainment for listening pleasure, throw in a few hundred people ‘ both locals and out-of-towners, young and old ‘ at any given time who were enjoying themselves and each other’s company, and it would be hard not to have a successful event.
In fact, the only criticism, if you will, that I heard was that 25 tickets were too many! As they were leaving, people were actually giving their unused tickets to those festival-goers who were just arriving. Yes, even I had the revelation that just because I received 25 tickets didn’t mean I had to use all of them.
Blank has already indicated there will be a second Southern Indiana Uncorked festival. So, mark your calendar for May 23. I’m sure it will be even bigger next year!