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An Arizona Art Spectacular that Will Have You at Merlot

Gilbert’s cultural attractions, award-winning restaurants, and proximity to a variety of natural attractions make it a can't miss Arizona destination. Drawn by the area's natural beauty, the city is home to numerous artists and performers whose creativity is on display at locations such as Art Intersection, Hale Centre Theatre, and Gilbert Historical Museum. You won’t want want to miss out the city's diverse selection of dining options including Joe’s Real BBQ, Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company, and Joyride Taco House.


The Gilbert Fine Art and Wine Festival is entering its first year, and it will take place December 1-3 at the Gilbert Civic Center in Downtown Gilbert. Attendees will encounter a showcase of world-class artists and some of the best wines on the planet. More than 90 juried artists will display more than 2,000 pieces of original art, representing a variety of disciplines and mediums. Participating artists will also be available to meet and speak with interested patrons. The selection of domestic and imported wines available for tasting will peak the interest of any oenophile. Purchase of a wine tasting ticket ($10) grants patrons six drink tickets, plus, a souvenir tasting glass. Attendees will also have the opportunity to sample microbrews and spirits from some favorite regional producers. Local and regional musicians will perform live throughout the event, representing a variety of music genres. We interviewed Denise Dale Colter, Vice President of Thunderbird Artists, to learn more about this brand new art and wine experience.


RAL: How long has the event been running?  

DDC: This is the inaugural Gilbert Fine Art & Wine Festival!


RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?  

DDC: We anticipate 20-30,000 for a first-time event. However, our other events have received many awards, and this may draw even larger crowds.


RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?  

DDC: We typically see adults at similar events. We draw educated and affluent clientele who enjoy the finer things in life.


RAL: What makes this event unique?  

DDC: Patrons love the ambiance of sipping fine wine and listening to live music as they stroll through this unparalleled art arena.


RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?

DDC: We have thousands of pieces of art on display, wine and micro-brew tasting, rum sampling, opportunities to meet and speak with artists, and more.


RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?

DDC: Yes, we have a great selection of live music groups.


RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?  

DDC: We will have a wide variety of food options such as Doctor Hummus, food trucks, Mr. Nelson’s Cookies, and more.


RAL: Tell us about the overall atmosphere?  

DDC: The event takes place on the beautiful grounds of the Gilbert Civic Center (grass area with lots of trees).


RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?

Here is a list of some local lodging options:  

  • Associated Luxury Hotels

  • Best Western Inn & Suites

  • Days Inn Mesa East

  • Doubletree by Hilton

  • Hampton Inn & Suites

  • Hyatt Place Gilbert

  • Residence Inn Gilbert


RAL: What does this event mean to the community?  

DDC: This event draws people from throughout the state that may not ordinarily travel to Gilbert. It’s a great way to network, meet new people, and see world-class art.


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?  

DDC: Absolutely, many of our attendees spend money at a variety of local establishments.


RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?

DDC: Proceeds (25% of wine) go to the Southeast Firefighter Charities.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

DDC: Although ideal for the wine connoisseur, non-drinkers can enjoy seeing unique artwork from artists rarely seen in Arizona and eating (from the wide-variety of food vendors) under the umbrella tables while enjoying live music.

For more information about the Gilbert Fine Art and Wine Festival, please visit the event website.