The 3rd annual Wally Wine Fest was rated as a record success with nearly 1,200 guests at five locations in the Hawley Lake Region, April 6 -7.
HAWLEY - The 3rd annual Wally Wine Fest was rated as a record success with nearly 1,200 guests at five locations in the Hawley Lake Region, April 6 -7. Topping off the 2019 event was its very own Celebrity Ambassador, Hollywood film star Steven Bauer.
Justin Genzlinger, owner and CEO of Settlers Hospitality Group, along with his management team, conceived of the event which was launched in 2017 with about 500 guests. In 2018 they went up to 800 guests, and were still at only Silver Birches Resort and The Settlers Inn, two of their own properties.
For 2019 they expanded to the broader hospitality community, with Skytop Lodge and Gresham’s Chophouse, as well as another of Settlers Hospitality’s venues, Glass-wine.bar.kitchen at Ledges Hotel.
Wine tasting, food, socializing and live music are the main elements. They also added several seminars on wine pairings, which he said were popular.
Major factors in the Fest’s growth, Genzlinger said, includes word of mouth and several business sponsors, which helped enable a major marketing campaign. He gave much credit to Sarah O’Fee, Marketing Manager, for spreading the word.
Weather was also delightful, which no doubt helped bring people out, he added.
“Star power” was added, thanks to their special guest. Arrangements were made by Matt Bird, of Equities.com and 1-800-PublicRelations, with offices at the Hawley Silk Mill. Bird stated that he has been a friend of Bauer for 10 years.
“As fans and event hosts, we are psyched to have Steven Bauer join us at the 3rd annual Wally Wine Fest 2019,” Genzlinger stated the day before the festival started. “His celebrity attendance and support confirms that Wally Wine Fest is emerging as one of the most anticipated events of the year for our region.”
It wasn’t hard to find Steven Bauer, as he was often at the microphone singing. He was part of a concert Saturday afternoon at Silver Birches and that evening he was right in the entryway to the dining room at The Settlers Inn, singing to the keyboard strokes of the Inn’s pianist, Dan Bradley.
Steven Bauer, 62, is a Cuban-American actor. He is known for his role as Manny Ribera in the 1983 film Scarface, as Don Eladio in the AMC drama series Breaking Bad, Avi in Ray Donovan, and the bilingual PBS show ¿Qué Pasa, USA?
He flew in from Los Angeles Saturday morning just to be with Wally Wine Fest.
During an interview, Bauer said that while he is still active in cinema, he is taking time to pursue his musical passion, which has long roots.
He said he has been inspired by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Neal Young and the Eagles, among others.
“I like pulling songs from an era when they were challenging people, individuals who had something to say, and they had a musical a gift…. The content is so beautiful and so personal in many cases. I like to pull those songs and offer them to an audience that …maybe their senses have been dulled by a lot of what is on the radio, a lot of what dominates the airwaves in terms of popular music.”
The music of earlier greats, such as Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams and Tony Bennett, impacted his youth and have “crept into my soul,” he said. He noted how the songs of all these musicians have lasted, reverberating to this very day.
Calling it destiny, he told of how he has met musicians he wanted to meet, who in turn were movie fans and wanted to meet him. Earlier in his career, he said he was so involved in the movie industry and was’t pursuing music. “I couldn’t take a break to do music, so now I’m doing it,” he exclaimed. He has crossed paths with “great musicians” who have offered to help him make his first record, he said.
Bauer said he was glad for the opportunity to be part of the festival.
The 2019 Wally Wine Fest made possible a donation of $5,000 for the July 4 fireworks at Lake Wallenpaupack. The popular fireworks are hosted by the Chamber of the Northern Poconos and rely on sponsorships and donations.
Genzlinger stated that in 2020 a shuttle bus service may be added to Wally Wine Fest, and he expects to expand on the diversity of locations. He said Wally Wine Fest helps to bring a lot of business in the area, as guests come in.