Man About Town August 2014

Man About Town

A new breeze is a-blowin’ in downtown Tyler.  Yep, and folks from near and far are getting in on the fun.  People from Dallas, Shreveport, Houston and all around East Texas walked the streets of downtown for the first Downtown Tyler Wine Swirl.  There were more than 500 of them and the “Man” was one of ‘em.

So, what’s a Wine Swirl?  Well, the Downtown Tyler Wine Swirl is a new event celebrating great taste and great times in the historic heart of our city.  They have recently gained popularity throughout Texas and the City of Tyler Main Street Department planned a pairing of one area winery with one locally owned restaurant in each wine swirl venue downtown.  Eighteen wineries and 16 restaurants participated. Ticket holders moved from site to site “swirling, sipping and enjoying” samples of the wine and food all around the Downtown Square. 

Listen, over 500 folks joined a sold-out crowd having the time of their lives right here in Tyler.  The price of a $50 ticket got you a commemorative etched wine glass, a plate, a numbered map of the route and wrist band to prove you were “legal” on the “unroped off streets.”  Two ounces of wine was served at each venue along with savory and sweet samples of food from some of Tyler’s most popular eateries.

But, there’s more!  We had live music, art, a photo booth and swirl artist’s “pop up” boutiques along the Wine Swirl route with paintings wine related jewelry, bottle stoppers and more for purchase.  It was a high class festival for all who attended.

Unique events like this don’t “just” happen.  Beverly Abell and her staff along with a steering committee of 15 dedicated worker bees and 40 other volunteers planned, setup (all day Saturday and took down before morning) and served and directed the crowd from 6-10 p.m.. They deserve “gold stars” and are all the “Man’s” heroes!

The reason for all this work is to bring a quality event to an upscale market that helps support projects like Gallery Main Street, business development, historic preservation, the art walk and more.

Stephanie Ogle and I served as “honorary co-chairs” and had a blast.  She being beautiful and charming as she is, and the “Man” doin’ what he does best:  walkin’, talkin’ and carryin’ a glass of wine!

Now, Stephanie, Skip Ogle and I started at the VIP booth for our first sip of wine and snack.  From there, we went to Balance for the beginning of a tour of 14 different venues around the Square.  The “Man’s” friends, Blake Bailey and Helen Austin, were with us in the beginning, along with some of their friends, who hung tight through the gastronomical tour.

From place to place, the crowds grew and the party picked up steam.  After hitting the seven venues on Erwin, our group took a brisk walk to the Martin-Walker Law Firm, where Blake serves as “Of Counsel.”  Hold it, if you’ve not seen this place you're missing one of the most exquisite repurposing of a historic building in downtown.  You must see it.  Of course, while getting our wine and photo, I looked up at the 2nd floor and saw the striking figure of Reed Martin towering down upon us with his typical great confidence and encouraging smile.  Always first class!

As we moved along, we added Rick Eltife to our group outside of KLTV and he proceeded with us to the grand finale at the beautifully remodeled People’s Petroleum Building.  This was the Cap Stone too, as Bev Abell said, “an event that started as a risk for us [to being] fabulous.”

After four hours of magnificent meandering around the Tyler Square, folks began converging on Rick’s for more music and fun.  Before “heading to the house,” the “Man” took a stroll to Jakes on the Roof and it was rockin’! A fella can’t leave that, can he?  I didn’t…till late.

At the end of the day, the Downtown Tyler Wine Swirl was a home-run, “knocked-out of the ball park—into the parking lot” as Beverly put it.  She is right; this is a do-againer!

So, if you’re out and about, look for us, we’ll be about town.


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