Stompers put sole into grape crushing contest

Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat /

The 19th annual Calaveras Grape Stomp and Gold Rush Street Faire will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday inMurphys Park and downtown Murphys.

Admission is free to both.

Produced by the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance, the Grape Stomp is a unique, fun-filled day for the whole family.

Teams of two, a swabber and a stomper, have exactly three minutes to try and stomp the most juice out of a measured amount of real wine grapes.

Prizes are awarded to all the winners, and there are special prizes for the top finishers in the championship stomp.

Teams are encouraged to appear in costume and prizes are awarded for costumes based on originality, design and effort.

Contest entry is already closed.

There also will be live and silent auctions for such items as Calaveras wines, ski packages, gourmet dinners, cavern tours, concert and theater tickets, spa services, river rafting, vineyard tours and more.

Silent auction tables will close at 1, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. The live auction will begin at 3:50 p.m.

Proceeds help support community groups in the area. Last year, the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance donated $18,000 to more than 30 community organizations, as well as two high school scholarships, with funds raised in the silent and live auctions.

The scholarship recipients were Austin Weatherby of Calaveras High School and Austin White of Bret Harte High School.

"Since adding the live auction themed with wine experiences, we've seen a great increase in revenues that we give back to the community," said CWA administrator Sara Tetter. "We are thrilled that our auction proceeds continue to grow each year."

The 2011 champions were Dale Marcum and Jennifer Marcum of Los Gatos, who dubbed their team the Grapeful Dead.

Every October, competitors from near and far descend up the historic Gold Rush town. And spectating is just as fun. Visitors get to wander in and out of Murphys Park throughout the day to watch the stomping heats and enjoy the street fair on nearby Main Street.

Artwork, gifts, clothing, jewelry, food and more will be available to shoppers at the Gold Rush Street Faire.

To kick off the festivities, the Native Sons of the Golden West will serve a pancake breakfast from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Native Sons Hall at 389 Main St. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, orange juice and coffee will be served for $6 for adults and $3 for children 10 and under.

Later in the day, Murphys Friends will serve a barbecue with proceeds benefiting the annual free Christmas dinner. Beer and wine also will be available.

The stomping finals will begin at 4:30 p.m., with awards presented at 5 p.m.

For more information, call 754-0127 or 728-9467 or visit .

The Union Democrat
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