Wine & Jazz Festival gets off to strong, tuneful start

Music, vendors, food, drink attract a crowd

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter



The Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival kicked off Friday evening at Esther Short Park with the Dan Balmer Trio, the Norman Sylvester Blues Band and headline act War.

Around sunset, people settled into lawn chairs around the main stage and bobbed their heads to Norman Sylvester.

If you go

• What: The 15th annual Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival.

• When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. today; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

• Where: Esther Short Park, 301 W. Eighth St. in downtown Vancouver.

• Cost: $25 per day at the gate.

• Information: 360-906-0441, or event website.

"The first time I saw him I thought, 'Oh my gosh, this guy is good,'" volunteer Betty Barkley said.

Barbara Reeves' 3-year-old son danced in front of the stage as Norman Sylvester played. She said the festival is surprisingly kid-friendly

"Everyone is so relaxed," she said.

Lisa Melius came to the festival for headline act War and the 45 arts and craft vendors lining the edge of the park.

"The wine's good," she added.

On the smaller stage in Propstra Square, a pop-rock band, the Christopher Brothers, rocked out to Santana and Black Keys covers as well as its own songs. And, yes, the teen trio has been compared to the Jonas Brothers.

The festival continues through Sunday.