KING FERRY | The staff at the King Ferry Winery knows that there is no better place to be in the fall than outside tasting some local wine.

For more than 20 years, the winery on Cayuga Lake has hosted its annual Harvest Festival to show off its products, old and new, and bring in the public for some fall fun. On Saturday, this year's weekend-long event kicked off with activities such as food, music, winery tours and plenty of wine tasting.

"We want people to see why it's great to come to our side of the lake," said Tacie Saltonstall, owner of King Ferry Winery. "They can come and meet our incredible, knowledgeable staff and learn about wine."

Saltonstall said the two days consistently draw a very large sum of people for the festival each year, and this year should be no different. She said they're expecting a crowd of about 700 visitors between the two days, some from other parts of the country.

One of the reasons Saltonstall and her staff continues to host the Harvest Festival each year is the amount of success it continuously has and how happy it makes the people who visit for the event. She said it's very popular among the public and people often tell her how much they look forward to coming every year.

Dryden resident Shelby Fox visited the festival for the first time on Saturday and said although she hadn't been to the event before, she can already see herself planning another trip in the future.

"We love it," she said. "There's wine, nice people and we're excited about the food. We'd definitely come back."

Many of the restaurants, musicians and other vendors booked for the festival were local to the area, and Saltonstall said that is just one more way of adding to the significance of the event, as people are supporting local businesses. The festival will continue into Sunday before the winery staff begins planning for next year's event, and Saltonstall is already looking forward to it.

"It's just a great way to people new people and drink some great wines," she said. "Seeing that look in their eyes, that 'wow' look after they've tried something the like, that's why we do this."

Staff writer Kelsey Durham can be reached at (315) 282-2237 or kelsey.durham@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @CitizenDurham.

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