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Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2009

Prosser Wine and Food Fair moves to WSU ag research facility

PROSSER, Wash. -- Prosser Wine and Food Fair organizers have found a new home for this summer's event -- the Washington State University agriculture research facility just north of town.

Now that a location has been landed, it's time for wine and food fair board members to line up wineries and food vendors. But that shouldn't be a problem, said Virginia Mauer, board treasurer.

"No, it's not too late," she said. "I think that (wineries) want to be a part of this. They want to get the word out, most of the wineries and food vendors."

Organizers learned last month that the Prosser School District would not grant them a waiver to the district's no-alcohol policy.

That meant the Aug. 8 event would have to find a new home after being held in the district's Art Fiker Stadium for 26 years.

Starting next year the fair, which draws up to 3,000 people, is expected to be held in the soon to be built Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center.

Jim Milne, executive director of the Prosser Chamber of Commerce, thinks the research facility is an excellent one-time location for this year's event.

The only challenge, he said, will be making sure participants can find it. Located at 24106 N. Bunn Road, the research facility is about three miles north of Prosser, and shuttle buses are expected to be used.

The research facility met most of the requirements, including a large grassy area, electricity, fencing, portable water and restrooms. However, the facility's lack of lighting has caused organizers to change the event's hours to 2 to 8 p.m.