BLOWING ROCK — The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce announced on Nov. 26 that the springtime SAVOR Blowing Rock Festival that celebrated wine, food and beer will not be hosted in 2020.
Suzy Barker, event and communication specialist with the Blowing Rock Chamber, said the decision was made at the chamber’s annual board of directors retreat on Nov. 20.
“Since SAVOR last year, we’ve been debating on picking a date,” Barker said. “We just found that the event was no longer fully supporting itself and the board allowed us spend our time and resources on events that are more successful and beneficial to our chamber members and our community.”
SAVOR Blowing Rock was originally known as the Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival and had run every spring from 2008 to 2019.
“In the past few years, this was not drawing the numbers of attendees that it was intended to do,” the Blowing Rock Chamber said in a statement.
A crowded beer and wine festival market was noted as one of the reasons for the decision.
“When we first started, there weren’t so many wine or beer festivals,” Barker said. “You can find something similar to SAVOR just about anywhere at any time of the year. So we do contribute declining ticket sales to that growing market.”
There have been changes to SAVOR in recent years, such as moving the dates from April to May starting in 2018 and hosting different specialty events. Barker said the changes were made with the best efforts to continue the event.
“The festival has undergone several changes including rebranding the festival name to SAVOR, moving the date into May and moving the venue of the Grand Tasting event to Main Street,” the Blowing Rock Chamber stated on Nov. 26. “Despite the chamber’s best efforts there has been a steady decline in ticket sales for several years.”
The chamber said it will spend 2020 trying to re-imagine a new SAVOR event and that it’s committed to bringing visitors to the town during the “shoulder season” between winter and summer, when visitation usually declines.
Barker said there have been ideas shared on what to do, but nothing close to a decision has been made.
“This event has had a lot of community support from locals, seasonal residents and visitors,” the Blowing Rock Chamber said in a statement. “The chamber appreciates everyone who has been a patron over the last 12 years. If it was already on your calendar for 2020 we apologize but still encourage you to visit and SAVOR all that Blowing Rock has to offer.”
The Blowing Rock Chamber stated that it will continue to host its other events in 2020. Blowing Rock WinterFest takes place Jan. 23-26, 2020, Symphony by the Lake is on July 24, 2020, and the 58th season of Blowing Rock’s Art in the Park runs on select Saturdays from May through October.