The end of August signals that summer is coming to an end. Those first few cool mornings, the smell of decomposing leaves in the air, the sight of yellow school buses. Yep, it’s almost fall. Whether or not you have school-aged children, fall tends to be a time of fresh starts. For many it marks the end of summer vacations and a gearing up at work. For me, it marks the beginning of my favorite time of year.
Round Barn's annual Harvest Party. After its 19th year in existence, the two-day event – just like the wines, beers, and spirits produced at Round Barn – keeps getting better. We went on Sunday this year, and it started off as a pretty cool afternoon. There was almost a hint of fall in the air. I'm sure a lot of people are upset about the impending end of summer, but not me. The crisp, cool air, the colors, the leaves crunching under foot – there's something really invigorating about autumn, which is why I eagerly anticipate Round Barn's Harvest Party every August.
|Plus, the hop vines are in full bloom...|
|...and are a great, flavorful garnish to an IPA!|
One of the best things about the Harvest Party is the setting. Autumn marks the time when the grapes are harvested at the vineyard, so the Harvest Party always takes place a few weeks before the grapes are actually picked. This means that as you drive up to Round Barn for the party, you pass acre upon acre of grape vines heavy with ripening fruit. The aroma that perfumes the air of southwest Michigan's wine country at this time of year is truly intoxicating.
As you enter the Round Barn estate and pass the many fields of grapes on your left and right, you approach the historic tasting barn for which the winery is named at the end of the long driveway. Atop a hill across from the Round Barn are the beer-tasting barn and a large deck where visitors could enjoy their favorite brew. Between the two buildings were picnic tables and blankets and chairs that people brought from home, shaded by large trees. Up on the hill near the beer tasting room was the stage where, this year, Mike & Joe and Alligator Blackbird played on Sunday while families ate and danced and enjoyed each others company.
|A group of people dancing the Cupid Shuffle|
As the afternoon continued, warm scents of grilled burgers and pulled pork sandwiches wafted through the air. There was cornhole for the adults and hayrides, face painting, a bounce house, and plenty of other activities for kids.
|Cuban pulled pork sandwich with tropical relish|
|People playing a game of corn hole.|
|Entertainment for the kids|
I even stomped grapes!
|Okay, maybe not as much "stomped" as "squished around awkwardly for a few minutes"|
This year’s Harvest Party was a blast, but next year marks the 20th anniversary of the event, so I'm sure they'll pull out all the punches and you won't want to miss it. I can almost guarantee you’ll have such a great time that you’ll make Round Barn’s Harvest Party an annual family outing.
|Cheers! Can't wait until next year!|
To view the rest of our photos from this event, please check our Facebook Page.
Photos from last year's Harvest Party can be found here. To read more about the actual beers served at Round Barn, please see our brewery experience from last year.