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Thousands expected at Grape Stomp event

Expect to see a large number of cars flocking up Winery Road Saturday and Sunday as thousands of people join in the fun at the annual Grape Stomp hosted by Pahrump Valley Winery.

Owners Bill and Gretchen Loken said they are expecting between 3,000-4,000 visitors over the two-day event.

“This thing gets more popular every year,” Bill said. “We have 186 stomping teams signed up and I’m still getting 30 calls a day for people wanting to participate.”

He said reservations for the stomping action have been sold out for the past two weeks. “We can’t handle any more than that.”

The teams will begin the stomping at 11 a.m., with the competition lasting for two minutes to see who can get the most juice from the grapes. “Two minutes doesn’t seem like a long time until you try it,” Bill said. “I remember Jack (Sanders) telling me about the first Grape Stomp. They scheduled it for 15 minutes. He said people were ready to pass out.

“Well, you can’t change the rules in the middle of the game, so they did it that way all day long. You learn from experience,” he said.

Seven teams at a time will compete with a first prize of $150 gift certificate awarded at the end of each day. The contests will continue every 15 minutes with a break every hour for music and random prize drawings. The raffle tickets are available when visitors sign in at the gate.

Spectators have just as much fun as the stompers. Not only do they get to watch others get a workout, but it’s a good way to enjoy the day listening to live music while sipping on a glass of award-winning wine.

Other activities are scheduled as well. Bill said Symphony’s Restaurant will be open and will have an expanded menu of items like sliders, skewers and other finger foods for sale outside so people can munch while they stroll the grounds.

“For the first time, we have outside food vendors,” Bill said. Romero’s Mexican Restaurant will be selling food and there will be roasted corn and sno-cones as well.

Thirty other vendor booths will offer everything from T-shirts and jewelry, to handmade arts and crafts.

The biggest wine sale of the year will be conducted during the event. Loken said all but two of the wines will be discounted by 40 percent on a case purchase and 20 percent on six to 11 bottles. “This sale is for these two days only. People can mix and match bottles, too.” The winery sells between 500-800 cases of wine during the Grape Stomp and some people come to the winery just for the sale. The event is an added perk.

Normal wine prices run from $13.95 to $23.95 per bottle and this event is the time to stock up.

Loken said there is plenty of extra parking this year to avoid congestion on Winery Road. In years past, it wasn’t at all strange to have cars parked on both sides of the street during the event.

Live music from Roxanne and Stetson will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tables and chairs, benches and hay bales will be provided for seating, but Loken said visitors are welcome to bring chairs and blankets of their own.

Admission to the event is $5 per person.

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