TRAVERSE CITY — The wine will share the spotlight at this weekend's Traverse City Wine & Art Festival.
The festival, a feast for all the senses, kicks off today with the inaugural Winemakers Party and continues on Saturday from 3 to 10 p.m. at the Grand Traverse Commons in front of Building 50, under the big tent on the lawn. Visual, performance and culinary artists will be showcased at the annual event, which is a production of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintner’s Association.
Tickets to the festival sold faster than usual after it was announced that Detroit-born singer-songwriter Sixto Diaz Rodriguez would headline the musical lineup. The story of the budding superstar was told in the Oscar-nominated film "Searching for Sugar Man."
“When Rodriguez came to Traverse City last summer for the Traverse City Film Festival, there weren’t a whole lot of people talking about him,” said festival director Laura Herd. “We knew right away that Rodriguez was the perfect musician to anchor the 100 percent Michigan lineup we wanted to have for our fifth annual festival, and we’ve been so happy to watch the world discover him.”
Leelanau Wine Trail President Matt Gregory said Rodriguez' appearance underscores the festival's mission to bring "rare and wonderful performances."
"Offering our fans the chance to see a budding superstar like Rodriguez on the big stage in a beautiful outdoor setting here in Northern Michigan is exactly why we created the festival,” Gregory said.
Dawn Thomas has been hard at work lining up an exceptional group of 30 artists who will be showing and selling their work on the lawn. The featured art — part of a juried show — represents every taste and price range, she said.
“I have some really cool artists coming in,” Thomas said. “There is no run-of-the-mill art. My goal was to get a good balance of mediums and of unique and original art.”