L.I. Winterfest’s kickoff weekend draws crowds, despite snow

02/10/2014 11:06 AM |
Alex Sipiagin performs at Macari Vineyards Saturday | Katharine Schroeder photo

Alex Sipiagin performs at Macari Vineyards Saturday | Katharine Schroeder photo

Slushy remnants from recent snowfalls didn’t stop hundreds of people from packing East End wineries and performing arts centers for Long Island Winterfest’s Live on the Vine kickoff weekend — and attendance is expected to improve once the snow melts, festival co-organizer Pat Snyder said Monday.

“It’s gearing up to be a successful festival,” said Ms. Snyder, who is the executive director of East End Arts in Riverhead. “Weather is always an issue but we’re looking forward to the series building as the weeks continue.”

Ms. Snyder said several wineries on the North Fork enjoyed “great turnouts” this weekend, including Clovis Point in Jamesport, Raphael in Peconic, Macari Vineyards in Mattituck and Sparkling Pointe in Southold.

In Riverhead, Ms. Snyder said, the Suffolk Theater hosted a sold-out show Friday evening starring acclaimed guitarist Johnny Winter.

Founded in 2006 as a cultural tourism initiative to help boost the East End’s economy during the sluggish winter months, Winterfest is a six-week music festival that takes place at local wineries, hotels and other venues.

Nearly 100 concerts will take place until the festival ends March 16, Ms. Snyder said.

Though it used to host jazz acts exclusively, the festival was opened up this year to performers from other musical genres — a positive move, Ms. Snyder said.

“Expanding the genres works well,” she said. “We’re hoping for the best.”

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