HARKER HEIGHTS — As if it was planned, Community Park received the coolest daytime temperatures in weeks on Saturday, just in time for the Central Texas Food, Wine & Brews Festival.

“You couldn’t ask for a better day,” said Bill Kozlik, president of the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce.

The festival was the second chamber-organized event of the day — the Stompede 5K started at 8 a.m. — and was expected to bring 2,000 visitors through the gate.

Although much could be said about each of the 58 restaurant and merchandise booths and the 12 wineries, the event owed most of its success to the weather.

Vendors have to get in line to earn a spot at this festival — one of Harker Heights’ biggest events of the year — and do so because of the thousands who attend, Kozlik said.

Festival-goers enjoyed five wine tastings, a souvenir wine glass and unlimited food samples from the many Central Texas restaurants.

“I’m really happy it’s unlimited tasting on food,” said Sara Tyler of Copperas Cove as she tried one of the 35 flavors of cake pops offered by Harker Heights-based Sweet Tr-eatery, LLC.

The cake pops — a food fad that took off last Thanksgiving — were one of the more popular food booths.

At this year’s festival, however, wine was king.

Brimming with thirsty wine tasters, the Community Park Pavilion offered a broad range of Central Texas wines, including wineries from Waco to Georgetown, many of which have grown their businesses primarily at events like Saturday’s.

“If you are a new winery, this is a really nice way to get your wine out,” said Teresa Rayl, a Pilot Knob wine seller.

After a few years developing the label, Pilot Knob now sells wine at several Specs locations in Central Texas.

“At the store you really don’t want to buy a wine if you have never tried it before,” Rayl said. Proceeds from the festival will go to fund the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce and the Harker Heights Parks and Recreation Department.

“We want to see how much money we are making and then we want to make sure that we are giving it back to the community,” Kozlik said.

Contact Brandon Janes at bjanes@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7552

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