Arts & Entertainment

Get ready to stomp grapes Sept. 10 in Kennewick

Anyone who ever watched the I Love Lucy TV series remembers the episode where Lucy Ricardo stomps grapes the old-fashioned way -- with her bare feet.

Visitors to the annual Grapefest event, which is Sept. 10 in downtown Kennewick, can toss off their shoes and step into a wine barrel and try it for themselves.

This is the centennial anniversary of Grapefest, and there will be plenty of fun for the whole family taking place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

The kick-off for the festival happens the day before the stomp when the father/son sculpting team of Michael and Joseph Rastovich of Kennewick dedicate their Fruits of Our Labor sculpture.

"This metal sculpture has a highly appropriate grape theme," said Merrieanne Door, with the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership who is sponsoring the event.

The unveiling begins at 4 p.m. Sept. 9 at the corner of Auburn Street and Kennewick Avenue.

Then Sept. 10, the 1K and 5K Grape Crush runs begin at 7:30 a.m., followed by the Grape Stomp. Runners can register for the races at Registration fee is $9.

Three-person teams will stomp grapes in wooden wine barrels about five times throughout the day starting at 10 a.m. Each member of the team will spend one minute stomping the grapes.

The winner of each round will stomp again at 4 p.m., for top prizes donated by the Clover Island Inn, said Timothy Dalton, director of the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership. Team participation fee is $50. Registration forms are at

New this year is the Teddy Bear Parade starting at 9:30 a.m. in front of the Visiting Angel, 15 N. Cascade St. The parade travels through the downtown area and children of all ages are invited to bring their favorite bears, wagons, bikes and join the fun, Door said. There is no participation fee.

"Every child will receive a free teddy bear and an American Flag," she added.

Grapefest also will pay tribute to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Painted Chair exhibit is another Grapefest favorite featuring local artists' painted chairs of all sizes and shapes in all sorts of patterns.

"The artists decorated these chairs in wonderful ways to delight all ages," Door said. "The chairs will be up for auction, and the proceeds will go to the Children's Developmental Center."

There will be arts and crafts and food vendors on site, as well as a full day of entertainment for all ages including musicians, jugglers, clowns and dancers. The featured entertainer is Eric Haines, who juggles while cracking jokes and walks on stilts. He's also a one-man band, Door said.

Other entertainers include Big Top the Clown, Desert Thistle Pipe Band, the Bahurimba band, salsa dancers, performances by the Merrie Greenwood Players, and demonstrations by members of the Amazama Jugglers. Butch the Woodhacker will also perform some of his fancy chainsaw art.

For more information, call 582-7221.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;