By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS - The Chamber of Commerce is "looking forward" to another great Central Texas Food and Wine Festival this Saturday.
"Everything seems to be coming together," Chamber President Bill Kozlik said. "We have more wine vendors than we did last year, and we have plenty of food vendors and arts and crafts."
The festival will be from 3 to 9 p.m. at Harker Heights Community Park with live music starting about 4 p.m. Cake in the Hall, Paul Cox, Mac Bynum and more will play music.
The arts and crafts vendors are an addition to the festival this year as is a hotdog eating contest.
"The one thing that we are really proud of this year, is that we are going to do a hotdog eating contest," Kozlik said.
The contest as well as the festival is a great promotional tool for Wise Guys, a locally owned Chicago style eatery, co-owner Bill Nyshay said. It will run the eating contest.
"(The festival) is going to bring us to a new audience that we don't have already," Nyshay said. "We figured that everyone knew that we here ... but we found that was not the case."
Nyshay's business has been marketing via word of mouth, but this will provide them a great way to be visible in the community, he said.
"My goal is to get as many people in our door as possible, and that is why we have to be at our festival," Nyshay said.
Wise Guys will probably be bringing some of their deserts and of their simpler menu items, but will definitely be passing out menus.
The hotdog eating competition will start around 6 p.m. and have a 15- to 20-person limit, Nyshay said. Entries will cost a small fee. There will a 10-minute limit for eating the hotdogs and the winner will get a trophy and prizes, Nyshay said.
Having attended last year's festival, Georgetown Winery will be a veteran of the event.
"We picked up a lot of customers off the event, and we are still looking to," Georgetown Winery Owner Dan Marek said.
Georgetown Winery makes a habit of attending local wine festivals, but since the Harker Heights Food and Wine Festival last year, the vineyard has received numerous regular customers from the Killeen/Harker Heights area, Marek said.
Wine festivals allow Georgetown Winery to bring its product to residents.
"We want to target people that not many miles way so that they can drive down here and visit us," Marek said.
At the festival, people will be able to taste its Texas peach wine, malbec, pinot grigio and more.
While the chamber is happy with the turn out of vendors, it still has room for more, Kozlik said. It is also looking forward to the turn out of residents.
Tickets for the festival are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Purchase tickets at the Chamber of Commerce office, 552 East Farm-to-Market 2410 or call (254) 699-4999.