The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

What's red and white? 1) Santa 2) wine festival

When someone asks me about my job at Proctors, I tell them that I get to have the most fun at work!

As special events manager, I always have a party in the works. Sometimes more than one! Catchy titles, fun themes: All are part of a day’s work.

To be sure, there is also the hard work that goes along with the fun of bringing an idea to life. Things such as linens and wine glasses, or invitation ordering and hiring the band, take time and effort. Yet, nothing quite matches the feeling of seeing what started out as an idea come to life on the day of the event!

On Sunday, Dec. 5, for instance, the Theatre Guild at Proctors hosted its annual "Lunch With Santa" before the matinee performance of Northeast Ballet’s "The Nutcracker." The intimate GE Theatre at Proctors was set with round tables decked out with festive red and green linens, seasonal greenery and holiday centerpieces.

Lights twinkled on the buffet table spread with child-friendly lunch selections from Home Style Caterers. But the star of this show was the big man himself, Santa, who lingered at each table and visited with each of the 215 guests. Did I already tell you that I do have the most fun? It was wonderful.

From the formal 2010 season-opening gala on the recently named Apkarian Stage to our cleverly titled "Franks n Steins" (a hot dog and brew party during the run of "Young Frankenstein"), there is rarely a dull moment.

Now that Santa has left the building, what’s next you ask? Valentine’s weekend is just around the bend and with it comes the third annual "Capital Region Wine Festival – Romancing the Grape," on Feb 11 & 12. Talk about fun!! With wines from around the world and around the state, the festival gives wine enthusiasts a terrific experience of wine tasting. Of course, all that wine sipping needs the balance of fine food. The festival offers samplings from our area’s great restaurants, many with an international flair. Throw in some chocolate and dessert samplings and you have a Valentine’s weekend to be remembered.

The festival opens with the grand opening reception on the Apkarian stage in the main theatre with the music of Sonny & Perley, and beautifully presented and delicious hors d’oeuvres. Charles Krug Wines -– this year celebrating 100 years of fine winemaking -- will kick off the two-day celebration with a taste of their wines and a taste of their history as well. Then, guests are off to the participating restaurant of their choice for a "Romancing the Grape" menu, specially selected for the evening.

Saturday is the grand tasting -- and grand it is!! I’ve spoken to many of the participating wineries and restaurants and they are getting ready to “bring it!” The weekend is overflowing with great wines and savory foods. The events come to a close with a champagne reception and live auction featuring fabulous wine to please both the oenophile and the everyday wine explorer.

I hope you join me. Together we can say “I had the most fun at Proctors!”

Judy Decker has served as special events manager at Proctors for more than three years. During that time, she has worked closely with the Theatre Guild at Proctors, a 200-person volunteer group that works on fundraising events and hosting VIP members of theatre in the historic Delack Guild Room at Proctors. (The Theatre Guild at Proctors celebrates its 20th year this season.) In addition to the Guild events, Decker manages the annual Craft Festival and Wine Festival attended by more than 1,000 patrons. All told, she says, she shepherded more than 50 events -- and counting -- so far!

To read more about the third annual "Capital Region Wine Festival –- Romancing the Grape," on Feb. 11 & 12, or other events at Proctors, click HERE.

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