Couldn't make it to New Orleans for the annual Mardi Gras? Don't sweat it, because the Cayuga Wine Trail is hosting its very own version this weekend at all 16 wineries.

Ticket holders traveled from winery to winery Saturday sampling authentic Mardi Gras recipes such as Creole stew, jambalaya, and many Cajun recipes paired with local wines — all the while collecting strands of beads and clues to the 16-clue scavenger hunt that will win one ticket holder a case of fine local wines.

"What an amazing way to spend a great weekend," said Kayla French, who was at Montezuma Winery with her husband, Don, Saturday afternoon. "Sipping some wine, eating some great food and collecting the clues — it really can't get any better than this. We plan to stay all weekend and visit all of the wineries for sure. It's almost as good as being at the real Mardi Gras itself."

The Cayuga Wine Trail member wineries started the event 14 years ago, and it has since been a large hit with numbers growing in attendance each year.

Ticket holders receive a collectible wine glass at their first stop, along with a recipe card of the dish made there, a string of beads and one clue that will ultimately lead them to the end of the scavenger hunt.

"It's just so much fun how could you not come back every year," Lucy Clark said at the King Ferry Winery. "It's not only sampling some wonderful wines but meeting new friends, sampling new foods and all around having a blast."

The event continues through today at all 16 wineries. For details, visit cayugawinetrail.com.

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