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Breitenbach Wine Cellars - 26th Annual Dandelion May Fest

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In 1993 my family decided to have a Spring festival to celebrate the first sign of Spring - dandelions! Since opening Brietenbach Wine Cellars in 1980, dandelion wine was one of our original 6 wines that we made. My father, Duke Bixler used his grandmother's German recipe for making the wine. We chose the date as the first Saturday of May because many times it falls on my dad's birthday and he always insisted it was a good weather day. 

The first year the whole festival and cookoff was held in our 100 year old bank barn- the upper level of the wine cellar.

in the beginning Dr. Peter Gail, author of "The Dandelion Celebration- A Guide to Unexpected Cuisine" helped us round out our festival with education of the healthful benefits of dandelions and creative ways to use dandelions. Dr. Gail and our Dandelion Festival were the featured story in USA Today in 2003. 

For a few years Nomad Steward, a "wandering seedsman and storyteller" was a highlight of the festival. He created and sold dandelion tinctures. He was a big part of our episode of "Extreme Cuisine" on the T.V. Food Network.

Over the years, in addition to food writers and critics, we have had a few celebrity judges help with the Dandelion Cookoff. Del Donahoo, Fred Griffith and Mark Johnson have helped with the judging. In 2012 Allison Fishman from the Blue Ribbon Hunter on Yahoo.com was a guest judge. Sherry Schie was the first place winner of that year's cookoff.

The 26th annual Dandelion May Fest will be May 4 and 5, 2018. We have food vendors with great traditional food, but each will have a special dandelion food available as well. Dandelion soup, Dandelion pierogies, Dandelion pizza, Dandelion ice cream, Dandelion bratwurst and sausage and mashed potatoes with dandelion gravy are some of the delicacies being served. We will crown the vendor for "Facorite Dandelion Food" for this year's festival. 

The Tool Shed, our event center at the focal point of the festival, will be the location for the cooking demonstrations on Saturday. Local chefs preparion food will be Sherry Schie from Shy Cellars, Cameron Krahel from Canal Tavern of Zoar, Matthew Ridgeway from Hennis Care Center of Bolivar and Jennifer Kohler from Cage Breitenbach. Artists from The Tuscarawas County Art Guild will be displaying their art in The Tool Shed.

A highlight of the festival has always been the dandelion picking contest. On Saturday at noon children of all ages gather in the vineyards behind The Tool Shed to go on scavenger hunts for prizes! Children will get to take home jelly made from the dandelions they have picked. 

We have a juried arts and crafts show with vendors selling handmade jewelry, pottery, windchimes, handpainted glass and even dandelion soap!

Entertainment is scheduled for both Friday and Saturday. Breitenbach wines and Sangria will be available for sample or purchase. A full list of the entertainment schedule is at www.dandelionfestival.com.

This year will not only be our 26th year for the festical, but also the 5K Dandelion May Run. The run will be held on Saturday, May 5. Registration begins at 7 am in the purple barn beside the winery. The run kicks off at 9 am. Many sponsors and volunteers are helping to make this run a fun and successful run. The proceeds from the run will go to Zachary Davis Memorial Fund. Anita Davis, event organizer, set up the fund in her son's name. She goes to schools and organizations and talk about drug awareness. Theresa Graziani is providing massages. Food, drinks and raffle prizes have all been donated. Click to fill out the run's online registration forms.