Winterfest is returning for its 13th year, inviting visitors to “live like a local” and make the most of winter on the North Fork.
Across the east end, the five-week celebration includes local wine and craft beer tastings, live performances, art installations and local farm and culinary fare.
The festival has evolved from the original Jazz on the Vine to the current Long Island Winterfest. It was founded in 2006 as an economic engine designed to draw crowds to the North Fork before peak tourist season, and over the years has changed hands from East End Arts and Long Island Wine Council to being spearheaded by Main Street Agency.
Returning Feb. 7 through March 8, the festival is known for having a little something for everyone. Trivia nights at Jamesport Brewery, performances at Suffolk Theater and craft cocktail demonstrations at Long Island Spirits are just some of the scheduled events, with more to be added within the coming weeks. Details are to be updated on the festival’s site about tours, which will include vineyards, breweries and restaurants, some paired with overnight accommodations at various sites along the North and South Fork.
This year the festival introduces the LIW VIP Passport program. Passport holders will receive access to discounts and perks such as 10% off meals at Bistro 72 and 15% off Sunday to Thursday overnight bookings at Hotel Indigo, giveaways and a free ticket included to the Kick Off After Party. Early bird pricing for the pass is $29.95 until January 26, and the full price thereafter is $39.95. The first 150 VIP Passport holders will receive a $20 restaurant gift card and LIWFgoody box, made in partnership with The North Fork Box.
The festival will kick off February 7 with their 13th Annual Kick Off Party at Hotel Indigo in Riverhead from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Live music, dancing and over 25 vendors such as Jamesport Farm Brewery, Sunflower Bakery and Moustache Brewing Co. will bring local food, wine, beer and spirit tastings with opportunities to purchase. A raffle with prizes donated by local businesses is set to take place, with winners announced at 9 p.m.
Tickets are $55 and $65 at the door, and include entry to an after-hours party that will take place directly after from 9.m. to 11 p.m. After-party only tickets will be available for $20.