Great grape stomps
At winery harvest festivals, compete with your feet.
© Beth Gauper
A contestant shows off her newly hued feet.
During harvest time in a vineyard, turning purple has nothing to do with the Minnesota Vikings.
Purple is what you'll be if you get into a wooden tub of grapes and try to turn them into juice with your bare feet. Vineyards don't get their juice that way anymore, but many still offer a grape stomp, and there's nothing goofier to do on an autumn day.
There are prizes for those who extract the most juice and those who show the most "style,'' so wearing a creative costume
And some grape stomps feature an "I Love Lucy'' look-alike contest, in tribute to the famous 1956 episode in which the comedienne takes a job in an Italian vineyard and, of course, makes a mess of things.
Most stomps require contestants to pre-register and pay a small fee. Everyone gets to sample wine, eat and listen to live
Here are some of the best in 2012.
Sept. 1, Grape Stomp at Park Farm Winery near Dubuque, Iowa. The festival at this vineyard in the hills of northeast
Iowa includes live music.
Sept. 7-9, Grape stomps at the Wine & Harvest Festival in Paw Paw,
Mich. This large festival in southwest Michigan wine country also features music on three stages, Friday fireworks, an
art fair, motorcycle and bicycle tours and a Sunday parade.
Sept. 8, Grape Stomp at Glacial Ridge Winery between Spicer and New London in Minnesota's Little Crow lakes country. The festival at this newer vineyard includes a Lucy look-alike contest.
Sept. 8, Grape Stomp at Winneshiek Wildberry Winery near Decorah, in the bluff country of northeast Iowa.
Sept. 14-16, Grape Stomp at Carlos Creek Winery near Alexandria, Minn. There are stomps Saturday and Sunday at this elegant lakes-area vineyard.
There's also a Friday barn dance, "I Love Lucy'' look-alike contests, music on four stages and crafts vendors.
Sept. 14-16, Wet Whistle Wine Festival at Von Stiehl Winery, along Lake Michigan in Algoma, Wis. There's a celebrity stomp-off, plus music and a fine-art show.
Sept. 15-16, Stomp, Spit and Bob at
Cedar Creek Settlement winery in Cedarburg, Wis. This stomp is part of the big Wine & Harvest Festival in this
picturesque town just north of Milwaukee.
Lucy look-alikes prepare to stomp at Carlos Creek Winery near Alexandria, Minn.
There are adult and kids' stomps, plus grape-spitting and apple-bobbing contests, with prizes awarded to winners.
Sept. 15-16, Fall Harvest Festival at Chateau St. Croix just north of St. Croix Falls, Wis., with a grape stomp plus
barrel-racing, grape-spitting, carriage rides and a medallion hunt.
Sept. 22, Grape Stomp & Fall Festival in Redwood Falls, Minn. This downtown festival features crafts, children's games, wagon rides, music and wine tasting at Fieldstone Vineyards.
Sept. 29, Rockin' Grape Stomp at Weggy Winery near Richland Center, Wis. There will be food and music in addition to the competition at this Wisconsin River winery.
Oct. 6, Great Grape Stomp at Morgan Creek
Vineyardsnear New Ulm, Minn. This picturesque vineyard features stomps (prizes
for best costume) and entertainment that includes Morris and belly dancing and the Narren of New Ulm. Food includes
Swiss raclette and pizzas from the outdoor wood-fired oven.
Oct. 6-7, Oktoberfest & Pig Roast at Lynfred Wineryin Roselle, Ill., a western suburb of Chicago. There are grape stomps and grape-spitting plus costume contests. The winery includes a restaurant and bed-and-breakfast.
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