Naples, New York, is a premier vacation destination tucked away in the scenic surroundings of the Naples Valley. Finding things to do here is no issue, from outdoor sports to tours of wineries, Naples has it all.
The Naples Valley provides a striking backdrop for a host of great outdoor activities. Grimes Glen is a popular park located right in the Village of Naples and it’s well worth a visit. Here you’ll encounter 60’ waterfalls, diverse wildlife, and ample room to explore. The Cummings Nature Center is a 900-acre preserve that provides you the chance to observe and learn about local wildlife, vegetation, and land formations. It’s the ideal location for a hike or just a relaxing day outside.
Grapes have been a staple crop in this fertile area since 1848, and today you’ll encounter great wineries in and around Naples. The Arbor Hill Grapery & Winery offers a great selection of wines, foods, gifts and more. Inspire Moore Winery specializes in small batch wine production and offers variations on red and white wines that you won't find anywhere else. Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars has a wide variety of vintages to choose from, plus they tastings, a B & B guest house and a hiking trail.
The Naples Grape Festival is the top event in Ontario County as well as Western New York State. The festival was originally founded in the 1960’s and then underwent a renaissance in the early 1990’s. The popularity has never been higher and this year's attendance is expected to be over 30,000 people each day of the two day festival. Grapes have been a part of this community since the mid-19th Century and the event is a celebration of that wonderful fruit and its the beginning of it's harvest. Whether you're looking to eat delicious grape pie or ready to sample delicious wines, Naples Grape Festival is for you. Make your next Naples Valley vacation one you’ll never forget with a trip to this incredible event. Resortsandlodges.com got the chance to interview Mike Joseph, representative for the festival, to talk about this great grape experience.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
MJ: The Festival started in 1961. The event got too big and uncontrollable by the late 1970’s, so it was “postponed” until it was revived in 1990. It has run continuously since then.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
MJ: Typically there will be between 30,000 and 40,000 attendees each day of the two-day event. The event is a fundraiser for the Naples Rotary Club in cooperation with the Naples Historical Society. The whole village (population 1,200) has become part of what visitors see as “The Festival”. The Grape Festival proper is really at the High School and across the street at the Memorial Town Hall.
RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event? Children? Families? Couples?
MJ: Everyone! The festival has become iconic, signaling the beginning of the grape harvest as well as Autumn.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
MJ: The festival is a juried art show and is very well known because of it’s longevity as an event. The music entertainment also features original singer/songwriter acts from New York state and beyond. Probably the biggest attribute to Naples’ is the grape pie. It has been a tradition in the village since the 1960’s. There are a number of pie bakers who start baking a week or so before the Festival occurs because the grapes aren’t ready until then (although some bake year-round as well). They bake through the next two to three months and beyond, until an average of 60,000 pies have been sold! That said, the World’s Greatest Grape Contest is held on Saturday of the festival with 15 to 30 pies submitted for judging. Another popular feature is our wine and craft brew tasting area. The Finger Lakes has over 100 wineries and craft brewers, and there are three right in Naples. The Naples Grape Festival features over a dozen craft wine/brew/cider vendors to taste and one price to enter.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
MJ: Attendees can park in a lot and get shuttled to the festival or they often find park anywhere they can and walk. Main Street is covered with vendors on resident’s lawns. As was mentioned before, most of this is not part of the “official” Grape Festival grounds, but that is what it has become. The festival features a large number of food trucks and a large variety of food to choose from including anything grape. You’ll find grape kuchen, cookies, ice cream, tarts, salad dressings, butters and much more. The small village of 1,200 swells to 30,000 or more each day for two days. The real charm of Naples is enjoyed by many year round. The little town sports a “live” theater, a scenic golf course, a two-story art gallery featuring 200 Finger Lakes artists, three wineries, farm-to-table eateries, a beautiful park with waterfalls and more.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
MJ: There are many lodging options in the Finger Lakes within a short drive. There are multiple hotels less than a half hour away in Canandaigua, NY.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
MJ: The Naples Grape Festival has a large economic impact on Naples as well as the entire county.
RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community? (School funds, etc.)
MJ: The Naples Rotary Club donates part of the proceeds to the Historical Society, and like most Rotary Clubs, it supports many local causes, as well as some international causes.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
MJ: Other than Manhattan, the Finger Lakes are the most visited region in New York. The scenic beauty is a year-round spectacle. Some folks come for a grape pie. Some come for the food. Some come for the art. Some come for the music and the wine tasting. The Naples Grape Festival is iconic and a tradition to many, many people.
For more information about the Naples Grape Festival, please visit their website.