A new organization will take over running the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival, as it returns to former venue of Crazy Horse Marina for this year’s event.
The Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday it will transfer ownership of the venerable wine festival — well aged at 32 installments over 34 years — to Hook Lines and Singers Inc.
That’s a nonprofit formed by Time Reith, the owner of Mango’s Bar & Grill, to help songwriters show their talents and to raise money for charities.
This year’s event will happen Sept. 23-24 at Crazy Horse Marina.
“We are looking at choosing one national and seven local charities with an aggressive goal of raising $5,000 to $10,000 for each this year,” Reith said. “We are honored that the SML Chamber is allowing us an amazing opportunity to help those in need.”
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Chamber President Andy Bruns said the pandemic prompted the business group to shift focus.
Last year’s event, held at The Pointe at Mariner’s Landing, was the first since 2019 due to the pandemic. It drew just shy of 2,000 visitors. The event had been held at Crazy Horse previously.
“The Chamber continues to evolve and focus its efforts on member education, networking opportunities and government affairs,” Bruns said. “The Board of Directors feels it’s wise to use our efforts and energy to promote Smith Mountain Lake as a tourist destination through wide-reaching print and online advertising year-round as opposed to organizing a large-scale event one weekend per year.”
Ryan Walters, Chairman of the SMLRCC Board, said Hook Lines and Singers inherits a sound business model, excellent reputation and a number of valuable assets, including positive vendor relationships, email database, the smlwinefestival.com domain name and an inventory of physical items such as wine glasses, tote bags and lanyards.