A festival to celebrate the Muscadine vine

photo courtesy of The Duplin Times—photo courtesy of The Duplin Times
Festival goers enjoy wine tastings at the 11th annual Muscadine Festival. The 12th Annual Muscadine Festival is planned for September 23-24.

Muscadine season has arrived and beginning on Friday, Sept. 23 Kenansville is rolling out the vine-covered carpet to celebrate. North Carolina is home to the nation’s earliest grape cultivation, so naturally we want to celebrate this fact with a festival.We’ve been crazy about this grape since 1585 when Gov. Ralph Lane wrote to Sir Walter Raleigh, “We have discovered the main to be the goodliest soil under the cope of heaven, so abounding with sweet trees that bring rich and most pleasant gummes, grapes of such greatness, yet wild, as France, Spain, nor Italy hath no greater…” Fittingly, over 430 years later Duplin County will host the Muscadine Festival to honor what is, according to the North Carolina Muscadine Grape Association, “nature’s healthiest grape.”Growers turn this high fiber, vitamin-rich, wonder grape into everything from wine and juice to lotion, and they bring those products to the festival to compete in all manner of contests with prizes ranging from monetary to placement ribbons.The Muscadine Festival runs Friday, Sept. 23 through Saturday, Sept. 24 and includes wine tastings, music from Blackwater band, Northtower, The Embers with Craig Woolard, Steve Owens & Summertime, as well as a Shag Contest.Information for the event can be found online at: muscadineharvestfestival.com