Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival

The 24th Annual Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival will be held September 29 and 30.  This year, 27 Virginia wineries will be participating as well as 85 juried craft and food vendors.  Three popular live bands will also be there to entertain festival-goers.  Saturday crowds will enjoy the bands Polychrome and Dragonfly. Sunday’s festivities feature the bands Blue Mule, and Fat Daddy. The Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival will be held at LakeWatch Plantation in Moneta, directly off of Route 122, about 1 mile south of Hales Ford Bridge.  This venue allows for easy access to the site, an abundance of free parking and more space for festival-goers to enjoy the festivities.

Directions: Take Route 122 (Booker T. Washington Hwy ) south from the Hales Ford Bridge approximately 2.2 miles and turn left (east) into Lake Watch Plantation to SML Wine Festival parking.

The Festival site is located on VA Route 122, three miles north of Westlake Town Center.

For GPS and Mapquest – street address is 14374 Booker T Washington Highway, Moneta, VA 24121

Participating wineries include Amrhein Wine Cellars, Barboursville Vineyards, Bright Meadows Farm, Brooks Mill Winery, Byrd Cellars Winery, Chateau Morrisette, Cooper Vineyards, Davis Valley Winery, Delfosse Vineyard & Winery, Fincastle Vineyard & Winery, First Colony Winery, Hickory Hill Vineyards, Horton Cellars Winery, Lake Anna Winery, Peaks of Otter Winery, Piedmont Vineyards & Winery, Rebec Vineyards, Rockbridge Vineyards, Rosemont of Virginia, Rural Retreat Winery, Sans Soucy Vineyards & Winery, Savoy – Lee Winery, Tomahawk Mill Winery, Veritas Vineyard & Winery, Virginia Mountain Vineyards, Wintergreen Winery, and Williamsburg Winery.

Advance Tickets(Available until 5pm, September 28th)
$20 – Taster, $12 Non-Taster(Designated Driver)

At-The-Gate Ticket Pricing
Taster Ticket — $25

Designated Driver (Non-Taster) Ticket — $15

For more information call or visit the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center at 16430 Booker T. Washington Highway Moneta, VA   24121 or 540.721.1203. (Tickets can be used either Saturday or Sunday).

Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival Hours:
Sat 11a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun 11a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rain or Shine

No Pets – No Refunds – Free Parking

Annual Antique & Classic Smith Mountain Lake Boat Show

Every boat tells a story. For Smith Mountain Lake resident Tony Cusumano, that story dates back 35 years, when he first purchased a 1962 Cruisers, Inc. runabout. The boat served Cusumano and his family well for 18 years, mostly for fishing and water skiing in Long Island Sound near their New York home.

But times change. The waters got more crowded and Cusumano found himself too busy at work as a project manager for Grumman Aerospace Corp. to use the boat. Rather than see it collect dust in the garage, he gave the boat to the son of a friend.

Fast-forward 11 years to 1997. Cusumano, having retired to Smith Mountain Lake with his wife Marilyn, was in need of help fixing a fishing rod. He headed to Big Ron’s Tackle Shop at Waterwheel Marina and when he got there, he couldn’t believe his eyes. There sat a boat identical to the 1962 model he had given up 11 years before. And it had a “For Sale” sign on it.

“I came home and said, “Marilyn, jeepers, I found our old boat.” said Cusumano of the white, 16-foot Model 202 Seafarer. “We went back down to look at it and she said, “OK, that will be your birthday present.”

Not long after, Cusumano came across a trailer identical to the one he used with his first boat and bought that, too. “I just think maybe it was meant to be.”

Swapping stories is just one reason why classic and antique boating enthusiasts gather this year at Mariners Landing, 1037 Whitetail Drive, Huddleston, VA 24104 for the Antique & Classic Boat Show. This year, more than 50 vessels are expected to be on display Sept. 14 – 15. The event is open to the public Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. While the event is free, donations will be accepted for this year’s featured charity.

The show, now in its 22nd year, is presented by the Smith Mountain Lake Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. It includes cruisers, mahogany hulls, utilities, outboards, runabouts and canoes. Most are locally owned, but many boating enthusiasts make the trip to SML from surrounding states.

The show will also include vendors with crafts and nautical items, food and drink, and activities for kids.

For more information on the boat show, contact SMLRCC at 540.721.1203 or visit

New business on tap at Smith Mountain Lake


Sunken City Brewing Company, Franklin County’s first microbrewery, is expected to create 20-25 jobs within five years

Franklin County officials and business leaders today broke ground on Sunken City Brewing Company, the county’s first microbrewery. The $2.3 million, 8,800-square-foot project, to feature a production brewery, tasting room and outdoor beer garden, is expected to create 20-25 new jobs within five years, growing at three to five positions per year.

Sunken City, named after the villages that were flooded when the lake was dammed, will be located along Route 122 at Westlake Towne Center near Smith Mountain Lake.

“Franklin County is delighted to welcome a new business that diversifies our economy and provides a destination for residents and visitors at the lake,” said Bob Camicia, a member of the county’s Board of Supervisors. “Microbreweries are among the fastest-growing types of business in Virginia, and we look forward to increasing the diversity of our businesses in the county while providing a unique experience at the lake.”

Sunken City’s founder, Jerome Parnell III, owns the trademark and franchise rights to the lake area’s signature beer, Dam Lager™, which has become popular among locals and tourists.  The brewery plans to start making Dam Lager and other beer styles in January and the tasting room will be open to the public by the spring.

“Sunken City Brewing Company was inspired by towns that gave way to water that created Smith Mountain Lake, so it’s only fitting that we locate our new brewery near the lake,” Parnell said. “Our company’s theme is based on the flooded villages, roads, bridges and other structures, including a once-incorporated town, that existed in the late 1880s, as well as the planning of a city called Monroe.  The history beneath the depths is creepy and ghostlike, as much as it is comical. The brewery will tell a story entrenched in both history and lore.”

History aside, brewing beer is big business. There are more than 40 breweries in Virginia, a 25 percent increase in the past two years. August is Virginia Craft Brew Month and the Travel Channel recently named Virginia a top-seven beer destination.

“Sunken City has recognized that the Roanoke Region offers beer makers a host of advantages, starting with an abundant supply of quality water and available treatment capacity without any surcharges and liberal limits on effluents, thereby limiting or eliminating the need for pre-treatment, which can add to the costs of doing business,” said Ann Blair Miller, director of project management for the Roanoke Regional Partnership. “As Sunken City grows, it’s also important to be within a day’s truck drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population. And our region’s outdoor-oriented culture typically draws fans of microbrews.”

“We welcome the addition to an exciting new type of business to the Smith Mountain Lake community,” added Ron Willard Sr., president of The Willard Companies, developer of Westlake Towne Center. “Sunken City is a great example of Westlake’s continued development as a destination where everything is at the center of it all.”

The brewery will feature a 25-barrel, four-vessel brewing system capable of supplying beer to multiple states. Once brewing begins in January, the brewery will produce an initial volume of 1,000 barrels of beer; 65 percent in packaging, and 35 percent in kegs and retail sales. Next, the company plans to expand to 2,500 barrels by the end of the second year and 4,600 barrels by year three, distributing outside the state. The plant will have a long-term capacity of 35,000 barrels per year.

The company’s brewmaster, Jeremy Kirby, is relocating from The Gottberg Brewery in Nebraska. He has experience working in and managing breweries in Nebraska and Colorado. Kirby was trained in Berlin, Germany, at the prestigious VLB (Versuchs und Lehranstalt fur Brauerei), regarded as one of the best brewing schools in the world.

The brewery has purchased an automated canning line, capable of packaging 92 cases of beer per hour.  Currently, craft beer in cans are in high demand, as less than 10 percent of breweries around the country are managing canning lines.

“Cans keep beer fresher, block out sunlight, and can be easily and more economically transported, and are perfect for outdoor excursions,” Parnell said. “We think the Smith Mountain Lake area and Southwest Virginia is particularly well suited for cans.”

The brewery will feature three styles of production beer: its signature beer, Dam Lager™, a Vienna-style lager, an India Pale Ale (IPA), and a third beer now in development. Sunken City also will produce two seasonal beers in the fall and winter.

The tasting room is expected to have all three production beers on tap in addition to two to three smaller-batch beers rotating every month or two, so visitors can enjoy variety throughout the year.

Also brewing: A merchandise area selling hats, T-shirts, glassware, barware, and packaged beer to go. The brewery will provide tours on given days and will host events throughout the year.

“We believe the combination of a growing demand for craft brews, the region’s low cost of doing business, and growth at Smith Mountain Lake positions us nicely for future success,” Parnell said.

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Mark Roberts & Breeze at Final After 5 Jive

The After 5 Jive series concludes on Thursday, September 6, 2012 with Mark Roberts & Breeze performing at Westlake Towne Center. Gates open at 5 p.m. with live music getting underway at 5:30 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the United Way of Franklin County.

Valid ID is required for 21 and older. A children’s play area along with food and drink vendors will be on site. Lawn chairs are welcome. Coolers, outside food or drinks, rollerblades, skateboards and pets are prohibited and not allowed. Events are subject to cancellation due to inclement weather. Bags are subject to be inspected.

After 5 Jive at Smith Mountain Lake is sponsored by Prudential Waterfront Properties, The Willard Companies, Carilion Clinic, Turner’s Building, Inc., Kroger, Ferguson Bath & Kitchen Gallery, Verizon Wireless Zone, Western Virginia Water Authority, Telemedia Productions, Smith Mountain Building Supply, Laker Media, WDBJ-7, Budweiser, and Coca-Cola.