Winefest 2011 @ Valenzano

wow, I have been amazingly busy the last few months.  Working extremely hard on remodeling my house, which is coming along tremendously, albeit slowly.  I’m doing a ton of work mostly by myself, and mostly in the few hours after work before I have dinner and go to bed.  The weekends are usually filled with my part time job, and when I get a chance to breathe for a day, I have as much fun as I can.

Which brings me to Winefest 2011!  The third year in a row I’ve been able to attend, I highly recommend this event for wine lovers anywhere near South Jersey.  This year they even had 6 or so other wineries on board, which made for a tasting of nearly 100 different wines!

we finally got our own tent this year, which is the way to go! you get reserved seating, and 6 free bottles of wine, guaranteed tickets and parking, express check in, and it only costs a few dollars more than regular admission. We'll be back for sure.

we brought a pretty large contingency, with Kreg and Kat, Wendy and Jason with my niece and nephew, Molly and her friend...

...of course, my awesome parents, even my dad who off roaded his scooter through some vineyards to get to the all-you-can-sample wines...

...and me, trying my hardest to sport a scruffy Autumn beard, with Monika.

last year, we really wanted to check out the helicopter, but it was sold out. This year, we splurged and went for it!

so here we go. I've been in a helicopter before, but Monika hasn't. I can't say that flying over the Pine Barrens was even remotely as beautiful as flying over the waterfalls of Hawaii, but it's still like a roller coaster without a track.

I've studied maps of this area for a long time. Modern and historical. Pretty extensively. Even though the pilot points out Philadelphia and Atlantic City, I can pinpoint Atsion, Apple Pie Hill, the old rail lines, old saw mills, and other forgotten remnants of a once booming South Jersey industrial area reclaimed by nature.

surprisingly, there's still a lot of privately owned farmland in the area. One day it will be all condominiums, for sure.

we were in a much smaller aircraft than I've ever flown in, except I guess the hot air balloon we rode for my dad's birthday one year. The copter only held the three of us, and there were no doors and it was basically a big glass ball with a tail. I wondered what good a fire extinguisher would do us if we caught fire in this flying milk crate one thousand feet in the sky.

Monika smiles as she confirms it was worth the price to take a five minute chopper ride over the festival, kamikaze style.

this is the parking lot as we came back in for a landing. there's some grapes growing in there somewhere.

I know there are better pictures out there, but hey, this is all I've got time to document. After Winefest, we went to Kelly's to hang out and wind down. It was a hell of a day, to be quite honest. great times, for the third year in a row!

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