HARKER HEIGHTS — Observers of the past 10 years of the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce Food, Wine and Brew Fest said there was a lot to like about this year’s event but the rainy weather definitely took a toll on the attendance and the arrival rate of the crowd.

“This was the first time in 10 years that rain has had a definite negative effect on size of the crowd,” according to co-chair Jennifer McCann. “All of our people worked hard and we appreciate the commitment of the sponsors that made it possible.”

Official attendance numbers will not be available for several days, officials said. They had been expecting a crowd of close to 7,000.

Harker Heights resident Julia Frassetto, who is also an active-duty soldier at Fort Hood brought her brother, Tony, to the festival to enjoy the festivities.

Home for Julia and Tony is Daytona Beach, Florida.

Julia’s favorite part of the event was sampling several of the wines from all across Texas.

“I didn’t know Texas had so many vineyards. That’s been neat,” Julia said.

According to Tony, “We’ve got our sunglasses on and we’ve had a handful of different wines and some good brisket so there’s no reason to complain.”

Sarah Wise, a representative with ERA Colonial Real Estate, told the Herald that they were working in conjunction with the Harker Heights Animal Center. All the donations will go to the shelter. “We’re also having a raffle and giving away a free gift basket with a $150 gift card inside for the Vineyard in Florence,” she said.

Heights Chamber president and CEO said “The Cheers to Ten Years” festival would surpass last year’s wines from 12 Texas vineyards and 52 Texas craft beers.

A competition for the best brew and wine at the festival was also held, and the judges chose Pilot Knob as Best Winery, and Southern Star as Best Brewery.

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