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New Year Today, Party This Weekned

September 5, 2013

Happy New Year. I know I’m probably not supposed to post on Rosh Hashanah. But this year is different from all other years. It’s actually going to be the first time in probably over a decade that I will not be spending any part of the High Holy Days in a synagogue.

It’s a long story, but to be brief, the timing just stinks this year.

Speaking about missing out on big events, starting tomorrow is the annual Saratoga Wine & Food Festival. I’ve attended the event for the last couple of years, and I’m totally bummed about missing the festivities this time around.

Based on my prior experiences at the festival, I wrote a piece for the summer issue of Mamatoga about how to get the most out of your experience. If you haven’t seen it in print yet, you can read the full text here.

It’s not too late to get your tickets for the grand tasting on Saturday, or any of the shoulder events on Friday and Sunday. Here’s what’s in store for those who make the trip.

mo_rocca (3)· Humorist and commentator Mo Rocca headlines this year’s festival and participates in events throughout the weekend, including a “Learning to Cook with Mamma Theresa” demonstration, modeled after his popular Cooking Channel show, My Grandmother’s Ravioli.

Zak Pelaccio· NY celebrity chef Zak Pelaccio, chef & cofounder of the Hudson Valley’s hottest new dining destination, Fish & Game, brings culinary expertise to the weekend. Among Zak’s featured events will be a Heritage Pig Butchering & Chef’s Demonstration sponsored by the renowned Flying Pigs Farm in Shushan, NY.

· Kevin Zraly, famed wine educator and 2011 James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award winner, leads two wine tasting seminars and participates in events throughout the weekend. Note: different than previous years, this seminar requires a supplemental $30 ticket.

· The festival encompasses three days of events from Sept 6 – 8 including the centerpiece of the weekend, Saturday’s Grand Tasting & Concours D’Elegancewhich takes place under oversized, elegant tents on SPAC’s lawn. The event features approximately 200 fine international and domestic wines, delicacies prepared by top chefs, wine seminars, extensive silent and live auctions, entertainment and more. The Saratoga Automobile Museum presents a Concours D’Elegance of luxury collector cars including invited classes of Shelby Cobra, Alfa Romeo, Porsche, Maserati, Ferrari and more.

Tickets to the Grand Tasting start at $85; full schedule and ticket information is available at – Remember, this isn’t just a day of bacchanalian delights, it’s also a fundraiser for SPAC’s classical programming and its children’s education programs.

You don’t even need a designated driver this year either, because the Giddy Up Bus can take you from Albany to the Hall of Springs and back. Score.

When you get back from the festival you can rub it in by writing to tell me how much fun you had. Which is only fair, because now I’m doing most of my grocery shopping at Wegmans. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to return and join you though.

It’s a great day out, rain or shine.

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