The last Tasting in the Wilds was held in 2019 but was canceled last year due to COVID-19.

The last Tasting in the Wilds was held in 2019 but was canceled last year due to COVID-19.

RIDGWAY--After a year's absence due to the pandemic, the Ridgway Heritage Council's annual "Tasting in the Wilds" will return to Ridgway on Sunday, July 31, from noon until 8 p.m.
 
The first Tasting in the Wilds Festival was held in 2006 to highlight the tastes of Elk County while serving as a fundraising event for the Ridgway Heritage Council. (RHC)  The RHC is a volunteer-based non-profit corporation dedicated to downtown revitalization with a focus on historic preservation. Formed in 1997 in response to the continued deterioration of Main Street and the closing of a major anchor store, the group is organized into four standing committees. 
The Organization Committee is devoted to the management of the organization as a non-profit corporation. The Promotion committee promotes Ridgway's assets, helping to attract and maintain existing and new businesses. The Economic Restructuring Committee expends and partners with businesses on capital investments on projects that impact Ridgway's Downtown. Finally, the Design committee oversees improvements to Downtown's physical infrastructure with interest in maintaining the unique character of Ridgway. Members of the public can volunteer to participate in these committees.
 Members of the RHC are excited and energetic about the work they are doing and are dedicated to retaining and improving the many special qualities of Ridgway. From Christmas lights to watering the summer flower baskets, many volunteers work year-long on projects to enhance the beauty of Ridgway.
The Heritage Council has many accomplishments to its credit, including a highly successful Historic Facade Program, an Annual Historic Tour of Homes, the creation of the "Lily of the Valley" National Historic Register District, and community gardens, and a historic homeowners plaque program. Projects currently underway include a complete downtown streetscape renovation incorporating new Victorian benches and historic street lighting (in cooperation with Ridgway Borough), the continued renovation of the welcome center, and the development of one of the key downtown historic buildings. Proceeds from the Tasting in the Wilds helps to benefit programs all year long.
The annual wine, beer, food, and art festival celebrating the tastes of the Pennsylvania Wilds has become a yearly "must" for families and friends, with people traveling back home to Ridgway just for this festival. This year will be different from previous events with a standard $5 Entrance Fee for everyone entering the Fireman's Lot, where the event will take place, rain or shine. A wristband will be given when a proper ID is provided showing the attendee is over 21. . Due to changes in the law, Beer, Wine, and Spirits vendors will have drinks to sell and offer a tasting if attendees would like. There is a "chalk-Bomb" zone and a homemade beer and wine contest. Check out the Festival website at tastinginthewilds.com for more information. 
Breweries attending the Tasting in the Wilds include Straub, Lost in the Wilds, North Country Brewing Company, Logyard Brewing, Allegheny Distributors. For Wine lovers, Wineries, the Brokenstraw Valley Winery, The Winery of Wilcox, and the Rich Valley Wines will have stations set up. For the local "moonshine" devotees, Triple Nickel Distillery and Delong Enterprises will be joined by Chicken Hill. The Anytime Lunchtime and Gypsy Wagon food truck will be attending, and more food available from the Elk County Foods stand. 
Throughout the day, local bands will be playing, including  One Last Breathe, Dreamwalker, Hollow Moon, and John Michalowski. St.Leos will be hosting a Cornhole tournament and other games with the Jolly Hatchet setting up an ax-throwing booth. Shelly Caggiano will have a simple Paint and Sip Project, Cheryl and Snuffy will have their art and donate a chainsaw carving to be raffled off. Other vendors include Nice Ash Cigars from Warren and the surprise hit from the Mountain Fest PA Hickory Syrup. Mifflintown native Doug Drews shared his love of Hickory Syrup with attendees at the Mountain Fest and proved to be a hit. The sweet syrup is made from the sag-bark hickory tree and while very similar to maple syrup, has its own character and sweetness that is remarkably good. Drews has several flavors of syrup and multiple-sized jars for those not quite sure but willing to give it a try. Samples are available

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