WATKINS GLEN—In celebration of all things wine, thousands will gather at Watkins Glen International for the 16th annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival this weekend. Over 80 wineries, 100 non-wine vendors and 20 restaurants are expected to participate in this year’s event. The weekend, July 13 to 15, will feature tastings, cooking demonstrations, art displays and entertainment. Theresa Knapp, Lakewood Vineyards representative, said the event has attracted between 8,000 and 10,000 people the last few years. “It’s a huge destination event,” said Scott Osborn, owner of Fox Run Vineyards on Seneca Lake, who has participated every year. “Just the amount of people, the amount of food vendors has grown so much.” Osborn added people will come for the main day of the festival, Saturday, but will also visit the individual wineries on Sunday. He said, “it’s helped raise awareness of the Finger Lakes to people,” drawing in visitors from as far away as Illinois and Virginia. The first event is the Launch of the Lakes, for ticket-holders only, on Friday, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. A king and queen will be crowned out of the festival-goers dressed in togas. Breakfasts will be offered to start Saturday. Over 25 bands are booked to perform in the four major courtyards. Musical styles will range from upbeat blues and jazz to acoustic shows. Visitors will also find a-cappella singers wandering around the festival. The Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty will offer Outdoor Cooking Demos. There are no space limits and advance registration is not required. Saturday demonstrations are at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. Demonstrations are also available on Sunday at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Cooking classes will be offered in the Culinary Center, with limited space. Available times on Saturday include 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Classes available on Sunday are at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. People can sign up at the festival. Unlike last year, there will be no centralized beer garden. However, beer tastings will still be offered throughout the weekend without an extra pass needed. The RIEDEL Experience two-day pass will offer an exclusive weekend event. Visitors will get special tastings, entertainment, classes, and pace car rides around the 3.45 mile road course. For more, visit: www.flwinefest.com.