Party in the Park heralds spring at Honor Heights

Apr. 25—People like to come to Party in the Park because they're in the mood for spring, party volunteer Shirley Hilton-Flanary said.

"It's so beautiful out there at Honor Heights," she said. "It's really the first big event in the park of the year, and people are just so ready to come."

Rotary Club of Muskogee will present this event for its 15th year from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Honor Heights Papilion.

Admission is $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Admission includes a free glass for samples from nearly nine wineries and four breweries. There also will be food from 13 food establishments.

"This will be our largest event ever with 26 vendors," said Nita McClellan, a party promoter. "A new winery this year is Water's Edge Winery out of Broken Arrow. We have heard amazing things about them."

According to the event's website, returning wineries include area favorites Pecan Creek of Muskogee, Backroad of Okay, Deep Branch of Cookson. Other wineries include DiamondHead, Wakefield, OkeOzark, Native Spirits, Coal Creek/Summerside and Arri'bin Hills.

OkeOzark general sales manager Roy Kelly said visitors can expect to sample around 20 wines at its booth.

Why so many?

"I have a theory: If I don't bring it, people don't know we got it and I can't sell it," Kelly said. "We'll have everything from reds to whites to fruit style wines. Blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, elderberry, aronia berry."

Favorite wines include aronia berry and strawberry, he said.

"Aronia berry is what they used in the old Viking camps to make meade and wine with," Kelly said. "Another word for it is chokecherry."

He said the family has a history of making beverages.

"They were ridge runners some time in the past," he said. "That's a nice way of saying moonshiner."

Nowadays, the family makes wine from vines grown on the farm near Salina, Kelly said.

The family also has a tradition of coming to Party in the Park.

"We've been doing that since we opened up in 2011," Kelly said. "It's one of those things that's tradition for us, and it's real close to the farm. It's a good event to go to. I kind of enjoy it."

The event also will offer 13 food vendors, including newcomers Biggun's BBQ and Watson Farms, McClellan said. People also can sample nibbles from Maxwell's Restaurant, Queen City & Co., Boomarang Diner, Red Lobster, Rib Crib, Buffalo Wild Wings, Pizza Inn, Colton's Steak House, according to the party website.

Music will be provided by the trio Sister Stone.

Proceeds benefit water projects for underprivileged areas around the world.

Edward Jones is the premier sponsor, McClellan said. Other major sponsors include American Bank, Ching Law Firm, Interstate Properties and Okie Country 101.7.