WATSONVILLE — Israel Tirado, a recreation and special events supervisor for the City of Watsonville, would like to say he wasn’t surprised by the outpouring support for last year’s inaugural Wine, Beer & Art Walk.
But he’d be lying.
“We thought people would be interested — the buzz was out there — but we did not a expect that,” Tirado said.
By “that” he means selling out all 300 available tickets, and roping in people from as far as Los Gatos and the Silicon Valley into Watsonville’s historic downtown.
“The community was really responsive to [the event],” Tirado said. “We wanted to keep this going.”
The Wine, Beer & Art Walk, which was created last year as a celebration for the City’s 150th birthday, will return on May 11.
Like last year, the event will take patrons on an 18-stop stroll through downtown Watsonville’s locally-owned businesses while also introducing them to participating wineries, breweries and artists along the way.
Tirado said they upped the ticket cap from 300 to 450.
Tickets are $30 via an “early bird” special on eventbrite.com. The price will rise to $35 on the day of the event.
Community staples like Jalisco’s, Hair We Are and Digital Nest will be among the stops.
Tastings from nine wineries, including Alfaro Vineyards, Integrity Wines, Wargin Wines and Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards and Winery, will be available during the tour.
Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO Shaz Roth, in charge of bringing in the wineries and breweries for the event, was also ecstatic with the inclusion of Discretion Brewing and Effigy Brewing. Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co. will also be pouring during the event.
“We really made an effort of getting some craft breweries this year,” Roth said. “We really try to stay local…We want to showcase the city and the county.”
And the City, Tirado said, hopes the event will start to flip the perception of its ever-changing downtown by exposing members of the community and the outsiders looking in to what the area has to offer.
Tirado, a lifelong resident of Watsonville, remembers walking from his childhood home around Tuttle Avenue to the downtown area to spend hours at the youth center, the plaza and the surrounding eateries and businesses.
“My friends and I used to spend the entire day downtown and we never experienced any violence… nobody ever tried to mess with us, we felt completely safe,” Tirado said. “So I don’t know how Watsonville got that rep, but we’re trying to change the perception of our downtown…We want to show people the beauty of our downtown.”
If you go
Wine, Beer & Art Walk
What >> 2nd annual Wine, Beer & Art Walk
Where >> Check-in at Watsonville Civic Plaza Lobby
When >> Saturday, May 11; 1-5 p.m.
Editor's note: This article will publish in the May 3 edition of the Register-Pajaronian.