Second annual Wine Festival planned for October

Published 2:19 pm Sunday, July 28, 2019

Barksdale Cancer Foundation will hold its second annual wine festival, “Miss Janie’s Sit & Sip,” on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 1-7 p.m., at the historic Gil-Har House in Phenix.

“The event was so well received and successful last year,” says acting president Kim Cassada. “We are expecting bigger and better things this year!”

Headlining the entertainment for the day will be the Stoney Ridge Band from Keysville, a local favorite. “I guess you could call this an encore performance,” laughs Cassada. “There have been numerous requests to have them return this year.” They will play for the first three hours of the festival.

Keysville resident and creator of the band, Spider Gilliam recalls playing in the yard of the beautiful Federal-style house when he was a child. The home was built in the 1920s by his grandfather, and he says he enjoyed playing at the event last year and is looking forward to this year’s festival.

Other members of the band include Ken Peade of Volens on banjo, guitar and vocals. A musician since boyhood, he has worked in Nashville, Tennessee and is considered an expert on the production side of music.

Doug Francis, guitar and vocals, is another lifelong musician who sings lead and tenor for the band. He and his wife, Janet, live in Halifax County. He and Ken are original members of the band and veterans of music festivals.

Ron Smith is a veteran musician who plays many instruments, but concentrates on the mandolin in appearances with Stoney Ridge. He is from Roxboro, North Carolina

Julie Gilliam, lead vocals, is a granddaughter of J.E. Gilliam Jr., one of the original family members who lived in the big house. She is assistant superintendent of Prince Edward County Public Schools and daughter of the band’s founder.

The second band of the day will be Public Consumption from neighboring Halifax County. They have been playing together for several years and have a vast following in Mecklenburg and Halifax counties. They say they formed in South Boston through “a love of music and fun.”

The high-energy cover band plays a mix of old and new rock and country, with a little “funky stuff” thrown in. They also perform classics, both typical and with their own unique spin. Genres include rock, county, alternative and dance tunes.

Band members include Keely Owen on vocals; Chris Powell, vocals and sound; Mark Snow, lead guitar and backing vocals; Scott Irby, rhythm guitar and backing vocals; and Marc Bridgers, bass and backing vocals.

According to band spokesman, Marc Bridgers, “Music is fun for us, let us make it fun for you.” He says the band is looking forward to entertaining at the event.

Also returning this year, by popular demand, are wineries Bright Meadows of Nathalie, Sans Soucy of Brookneal, Three Sisters of Clarksville and Tomahawk of Chatham. An exciting new addition to the event this year will be Staunton River Brewing Company of Brookneal, which will offer several different craft brews to festival goers.

“We are developing quite a lineup of vendors for the event,” says Cassada. “There will truly be something for everyone.” Once again, the Charlotte County Lions Club will provide an array of delicious food for the event. Anyone who would like to serve as a vendor for the festival is urged to email Cassada at as soon as possible.

A beautiful blanket chest, hand crafted and donated by Lee Hall of Drakes Branch, will be raffled the day of the wine festival. The chest features punched tin inserts and is lined in cedar. Also to be given away that day is a 29” x 55” crocheted throw, made and donated by Miranda Dunn. The throw pictures a bottle of wine and stemmed wineglass.

Tickets for the blanket chest and throw are available at the following locations: Keysville Hardware, Phenix Town Office, Drakes Farm and Home, Wylliesburg Diner, Village Arts and Crafts in Charlotte Court House and Chase City Florist.

Tasting and non-tasting tickets for the event may be purchased online through PayPal or by credit card by visiting the website, and clicking on the upcoming events tab. This will be a 21-years-old and over event and will be held rain or shine.

Barksdale is a grassroots organization founded in 1999. Its sole purpose is to give monetary and services support to cancer patients in Charlotte County. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit manned by volunteers. If you know of someone who is in need of these services, please call Wendy Lankford at (434) 470-1538. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, it may be mailed to Barksdale Cancer Foundation, P.O. Box 225, Charlotte Court House, VA 23923.