The year 2020 was a strange year with the cancellation of almost all the events people look forward to attending due to COVID-19.
But many organizers are looking to 2021 with renewed hope and also innovative ideas to keep things as normal as possible this year.
One event that seemed in danger at first is getting a new breath of life with some changes that are both temporary and permanent.
The Groundhog Trail Wine Festival, held the first Saturday of each February for the past 14 years will celebrate year 15 in a new location and in a different month entirely.
Ken Starr of Starr Hill Winery, sponsor of the event, said the original plan was to hold the event Feb. 6, but with COVID, they started looking at options and decided to hold it later in the year, in conjunction with another event going on at the Clearfield Driving Park.
The new date is May 22 and the location will be the oval at the park, with one dedicated entrance and one dedicated exit, and room for vendors to spread out.
“I think there shouldn’t be any issues,” Starr said, regarding safety of visitors, especially in regards to the virus.
Starr said in addition to Pennsylvania wineries, this year they will also be welcoming distillers and the name of the event has changed: More in May, featuring the Groundhog Wine Fest.
Already 14 wineries have confirmed, as have four distilleries, and he is waiting on responses from others.
When people come to the wine fest, they will enter at a designated point. Then, as they visit the vendors and make purchases, there will be a tent near the designated exit where they can leave their items and receive a check number, much like a coat check.
Visitors can leave the wine fest and visit the other activities at the park, then return and experience more that the wine fest has to offer, or pick up their items at the check tent.
Also, taking place will be a two-day event hosted by Visit Clearfield County and the Fair and Park Board, including fair food stands, a chainsaw carving event and craft fair.
Starr said the other activities are free, but as usual, the wine fest will have a charge associated with it.
Instead of the usual two sessions, there will be only one this year, from 1-8 p.m. The final ticket prices are being settled this week, and online purchases can be made soon.
Online ticket purchases are discounted, but visitors can also purchase tickets at the event or by calling Starr Hill Winery at 814-236-0910.
As things come together, Starr said information can be found at the Web site, www.groundhogwinefest.com, or by visiting the Facebook page of the same name.
Starr said he hopes that in 2022 they can return to the Expo II building in February and that the changes from the coronavirus will not be permanent.