Sip & Stroll will run from 3-7 p.m. Saturday, July 22, in Philomath. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

A nice sampling of a wine varietal, the enjoyment of a craft brew or a taste of the harder stuff straight up or in a cocktail will all be part of this weekend’s Sip & Stroll in Philomath.

This sign welcoming tasters to the Rebekah Social Lodge building says it all. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The Philomath Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual event, which will run from 3-7 p.m. Saturday, July 22, attracts hundreds of people to the downtown area every summer. Sip & Stroll will feature 24 alcohol vendors.

Organizers have rebranded the activity in recent years as it has grown beyond a wine walk. Wine still plays a major role, of course, with nine vendors but there are also nine serving spirits, four offering beer and two vendors with cider.

“Not everybody is big on wine so we’ve tried over the years to bring in more spirits and ciders and mixed cocktails — things that really appeal to a larger population of people,” chamber board president Alyssa Lewis said. “We want to continue to grow and make it a really popular event.”

The chamber also doesn’t mind adding a little variety to the lineup of vendors and this year, there are several first-time participants.

“Changing it with the times and seeing what people are liking and bringing in more vendors that are both local and from out of the area that maybe people haven’t tried before. I think, really gives us that edge that a lot of sip-and-strolls or wine walks don’t necessarily do,” Lewis said.

Two tasting packages are available — $25 for those who want a wine glass and $30 for those who want a black tumbler. Participants also receive a wristband that proves age verification and five tasting tokens.

The black tumblers were introduced for the first time last year.

“It seemed like a super popular option and we actually ran out of them,” Lewis said. “We decided to do that again this year but to get more than we did last year just because people were pretty bummed when we ran out. What we’re trying to do is incorporate people who enjoy the wine side of things but also to give an option for those who are more into the spirits.”

On the route, participants can purchase additional drink tokens (five for $5).

On-site ticket sales begin at 2:30 p.m. — a half-hour before the tasting gets started — at two locations. On the east end, folks can buy tickets at Marys Peak True Value (1732 Main St.) and toward the west end at Les Schwab Tire Center (838 Main St.).

For those who purchase tickets online, those can be redeemed at the True Value site.

Those feeling lucky can also get in on a raffle that features two gift baskets filled with various items, including those from alcohol vendors. Lewis estimated that each basket will easily be worth at least $300. Raffle tickets can be purchased on the route at Citizens Bank, Philomath Museum or Rebekah’s Social Lodge.

Thanks to a sponsorship through Starker Forests, a free shuttle will be available for those to get around. Lewis said it will run on a loop for the duration of the event. Locations where people can hop on or off include True Value, Dirt Road Brewery, Les Schwab and Philomath Community Library.

Image provided by Philomath Area Chamber of Commerce

Alcohol vendors include the following:

• Wine — Airlie Wine Co., Bluebird Hill Cellars, Cardwell Hill Cellars, Catman Cellars, Chateau Bianca/Wetzel Estate, Compton Family Wines, Darque Wines, Lumos Wine Co., Poco Collina/Gelardi Vineyard. 

• Beer — Block 15 Brewing, Deluxe Brewing, Dirt Road Brewing, Long Timber Brewing

• Spirits — 4 Spirits Distillery, 503 Distilling, Divine Distillers, Hideaway Distillery, Marcotte Distilling, Spiritopia, Straightaway Cocktails, Thinking Tree Spirits, Vivacity Fine Spirits.

• Cider — 2 Towns Ciderhouse, WildCraft Cider Works.

Kash Lindsey, a Philomath teen who has broken out on the local music scene, will be playing at a spot on Main Street (in an area located in front of Les & Bob’s Sports & Apparel).

Beyond the alcohol, Mud Oven Pizza and Jason’s Tropical Sno will both be set up at Citizens Bank. On the west edge, Moku Chocolate will be serving at Compton Family Wines.

Lewis didn’t have any exact numbers readily available on last year’s Sip & Stroll but believes it was a success.

“I think we definitely did see an increase last year and I don’t know if it was just because we were coming out of COVID and people were really starting to make more of an appearance again … but I think that helped those numbers in general,” she said. “We’re hoping those numbers continue to grow or even stay where they’re at currently would be great for sure.”

Sip & Stroll represents the chamber’s largest fundraiser of the year, so obviously the numbers are important.

“It definitely takes a lot of volunteers,” Lewis said. “Thankfully, we have a really good volunteer list and group behind us, which is fantastic. We appreciate all their help.”

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.