Cool jazz, refreshing pops, extraordinary wines headline festival
Through advocacy, education and comprehensive support, the Mental Health Association of Washington County continues to promote an environment of empowerment and acceptance for all people dealing with mental health issues. Caring men and women guide mentally challenged citizens to cope with the ordinary demands of life, to feel productive, to live independently in the community and most importantly, to be treated with dignity and respect. The MHA also works to develop services such as housing, vocational training, employment, medical care and rehabilitation.
Summer is the favorite time of year for most of us. Problems and related stresses seem less important in the sun’s warmth as we tinker in the garden, join friends for patio picnics or at community gatherings held in the open air.
Unfortunately, our lives are filled with deterrents or roadblocks. It seems so often a new headwind comes our way. To provide opportunities and services for challenged citizens who face mental health issues, the Mental Health Association of Washington County has planned its third Wine, Jazz & Pops Festival in the great outdoors on Aug. 3 and 4. A popular event among folks from all around the South Hills, this year’s music fest will be held at the sprawling multi-million dollar North Strabane Municipal Park, celebrating the first anniversary since its opening. Situated on nearly 70 acres, the peaceful atmosphere is amazing.
With its scenic beauty, this year festival-goers have the convenience of plenty of countryside landscape for chairs and blankets, access to sheltered pavilions, large restrooms and paved parking areas.
Local musicians will once again provide the weekend’s entertainment. Beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, the Washington Jazz Orchestra will feature the sounds of Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington as well as cool jazz classics of the ’90s. Headliners also include Mark Lucas on guitar, traditional jazz vocalist Maureen Budway, bluesy Joy Ike, master of the saxophone Marion Meadows who recently released his 13th album, “Whispers,” and Will Brock on the keyboard.
The Washington Symphony Orchestra with Yugo Ikach will head the lineup at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday with pops favorites and show tunes. Michael Passalacqua and his Blues Band will be up next, filling the air with spice and soul. At 3 p.m., Cello Fury will combine symphonic sounds of the cello with driving rock beats. Pittsburgh singer-songwriter Bill Deasy will take the stage to close the 2013 summer fest.
Explore the wine world as eight local wineries uncork to offer free tastings. J & D Cellars will pour tastes of cabernet sauvignon, pomegranate and sauvignon blanc.
Chosen the Best Pennsylvania Red Wine this spring, The Winery at Wilcox will feature its prize-winning Clarion River Red and bubbly Peach Mist. Kavic Winery, Greenhouse Winery, Christian W. Klay Winery, Courtyard Wineries, Ripepi Winery & Vineyard and Thistlethwaite Vineyards (new this year) are also offering their distinctive and tempting array of wines.
Coleman’s barbecue foods and Ruthie’s concession favorites will provide a selection of mouth-watering picnic foods. Those with a sweet tooth will not be denied, as L.A. Sweets will bring their famous apple dumplings and assorted desserts.
Specialty vendors will include Wilson Stained and Fused Glass, Focal Point gemstone jewelry designs, Distractions Jewelry, Avon cosmetics and Recycled Memories, created from melted wine bottles.
“No other event of this type is planned in Washington County,” said Bill Fetcko, who presented this outdoor music/wine fest to the Mental Health board more than three years ago.
Tickets, good for both days, are $20 in advance or $25 at the gate. Purchase tickets online at www.mhawashco.org/wjp. Proceeds of this two-day event will support the countless services of the Mental Health Association of Washington County.
Commemorative wine glasses and T-shirts with the Wine, Jazz & Pops logo will be available for purchase.