South Lake Tahoe’s farm-to-fork festival, Sample the Sierra, has been cancelled due to the Caldor Fire
A vibrant energy fills South Lake Tahoe in the fall as people gather from all over the country. Embraced by evergreens and cool autumn air, hundreds of friends and families attend the Sample the Sierra farm-to-fork festival, which has become a yearly tradition for many. A distinct spirit fills every corner through waves of laughter, music, toasts, and conversations. The main events, of course, are the tents offering local fare. Restaurants and chefs cook up delicious dishes that include local farm-fresh ingredients, while the region’s finest wineries, breweries, and distilleries pour their best selections.
Organizers are looking forward to bringing the spirit back to the lake since Sample the Sierra was hosted as a virtual event in 2020 due to the pandemic. This year’s event will be elevated to an afternoon “soiree until sunset,” with limited tickets to provide an intimate atmosphere after a tough year and a half for many.
“We’re looking forward to raising glasses together in person once again and wanted to make this year more exclusive to allow more room to mingle, sip, and sample,” says Emily Abernathy, director of operations at the Tahoe Chamber. “We wanted to spice up the event with a chic cocktail, late-afternoon/evening ambiance. Sample the Sierra allows us to cheer and applaud our regional establishments who had to constantly pivot and shift operations during a challenging year.”
Advance sell-outs have been the norm the past several years, making early purchases the tasteful move. Tickets are available online at Samplethesierra.com.
Farm to Fork
The culinary adventure will include more than 20 booths featuring different wineries, distilleries, and breweries, whose offerings will be expertly paired with restaurants that will use local produce in signature dishes.
Food providers include Betty’s Balls Tapas & Catering, Chicken in a Barrel, Dragonfly Bagel Co., Gastromaniac, McDuff’s, Poor Red’s, Tahoe Bagel Company, The Baked Bear, and The Loft Tahoe. Drink providers include Bella Grace Vineyards, Crystal Basin Cellars, Findleton Estate Winery, Lava Cap Winery, Nello Olivo Winery, Sidellis, South of North Brewing Co., Tahoe Blue Vodka, and newcomer South Fork Vodka. The list of food-and-drink purveyors will be updated on the Sample the Sierra website in the coming weeks, as will pairing announcements. Attendees can take home their favorite vintages by purchasing directly at the Wine Tent Sales benefitting various local non-profits.
Arts and Music
A marketplace will feature local handmade goods, apparel, jewelry, and artwork among other items. Vendors feature Arivka Jewelry, BellaDrops Jewelry, Chris Harrison Photo & Art, Kelly Smith Cassidy Fine Art, Lovin’ Lake Tahoe LLC, MK Designs, Mountain Water Canvas, Tahoe Dog Gear, Tahoe Grown, Tahoe Heartbeat, Tamacino, and Warrior Goddess Jewelry.
The Residents, South Shore’s homegrown band established in 2020, will headline with a blend of classics as well as original upbeat, heartfelt tunes. Bandleader and lead vocalist Ted Kennedy, whose daytime gig is Tahoe-area restaurateur at establishments around the lake, will be joined by Sean Hodges, Tommy Ciccone, Thomas Brandolino, Josh Sweigert, Jon Sills, Tanner Morgan, Jeff Connor, Gentry Monasmith, and Willie Twumasi.
Tickets and Green Guests
Attendees now have the option to help reduce waste with Green Guest tickets. A reusable Sample the Sierra cutlery set will be provided for use at the event and to take home for future reuse (bonus souvenir!).
Green Guest tickets are $85. Full-tasting tickets are $75 for adults and $65 for those under 21 and designated drivers. For details and to purchase tickets, visit Samplethesierra.com.