Stacy LaMotta Details The Upcoming SoDelFest 2018!
A little more than four years ago when Stacy LaMotta was working as a consultant for Schell Brothers/Ocean Atlantic at their 55 plus community Independence, she was tasked with the responsibility of coming up with ideas for different events that would bring outside people into the development to showcase the beautiful community center Independence Hall. After giving it some thought, she focused on three things that she loved—great food, wine and music—and that brainstorm led to the creation of The SoDel Fest – an annual celebration of southern Delaware food and music, along with wines from around the globe.
Now one of the most popular events of its kind in the region, the SoDel Festival kicks off their fourth annual event this year on Saturday September 29th at Independence Hall. And as is often the case with popular festivals – this year’s Southern Delaware Wine, Food & Music Festival promises to be bigger and better than before.
We caught up with the very busy Stacy LaMotta for some insight into this year’s event, what the public can expect and how they can get involved.
Q: Stacy, how exactly did this event come together?
A: Well, I have a background in PR and marketing and when I was working as a consultant, I was coming up with ideas that would introduce outside people to the Independence Clubhouse, which really is beautiful. I got down to basics and started thinking about things that I personally love, and I realized that great food, wine and live music we’re at the top of that list. Plus – there’s so much of that available here in Southern Delaware. It all come together from there.
Q: The event has grown tremendously in popularity each year and it really does seem to grow in scope of what is offered with the tickets to the event. What can people expect that may be different from previous festivals?
A: Well, it’s really turned into a multi-tiered event on a lot of levels because this year we added some very fun and unique aspects that take place not only right before the event which begins at 12:00 PM, but also the night before.
Q: How so?
A: The SoDel Festival runs from 12:00 to 4:00, but this year, from 11:00 to 12:00, we’re having a Pre-Festival Wine & Music Tasting Led by Ray Kurz of Cuvée Ray Wine Bar & Restaurant in Rehoboth. Ray has a fascinating pairing that displays how wine and music can perfectly match together. It’s really amazing. It’s no coincidence that many of the terms used to describe music are also used to describe wine – tempo, value, high notes, low notes – it will show you a way of thinking about wine that you probably never experienced before. Plus – it’s really fun! We tried it a few weeks ago and we were blown away.
Q: That does sound like fun! Is that a separate ticket purchase event?
A: Yes. Tickets for the Pre-Festival Wine & Music Tasting are $35 dollars a person. There’s only fifty tickets available, so interested persons should purchase them soon! It really is an amazing experience!
Q: And what is the other part of SoDel Festival 2018 that’s different this year?
A: Well, we also arranged a Wine and Tuscan food pairing hosted by Count Manfredo di San Bonifaico at the Baywoods Clubhouse the night before the event (Friday, Sept. 28th between 6 and 9 PM). He really is an actual Count and his family has been in the wine making business for more than 1,000 years! Manfredo has expertly paired his highly-acclaimed wines with a six course dinner focusing on the best Tuscan flavors and traditions. We’re very excited about that. Tickets to that event are available for $95 per person.
Q: Speaking of ticket price, what’s the cost of tickets to SoDelFest 2018?
A: Tickets have been $75 per person since we first started four years ago, but let me also explain that ultimately, this is a fund raiser for some very deserving non-profits. This year’s beneficiaries include the Boys & Girls Club of Delaware, Children & Families First, and a group that I’m personally connected to – the Ehlers-Danlos Society. Ehlers-Danlos is an incurable genetic connective-tissue disorder that I was diagnosed with 11 years ago. The group is dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes.
Q: Wow. There’s a lot that comes with that ticket! What can the public expect this year?
A: Well, let me first start off with the fact that every year, attendees make a point of telling me what a great time they have and how the SoDel Fest is one of their favorites to attend! To begin with, we have twenty different restaurants participating in this year’s event. You can find a complete list on our website at www.SoDelFest.com – but the list includes 208 Social, Azzurro Italian Oven, Bluecoast, Cuvée Ray, Fable, The Blue Moon and more. You are not going to leave the festival hungry by any means! The participating restaurants really put their best foot forward. These aren’t little bite sized samplings of food, these are very satisfying portions of incredible food from some of the top restaurants on DelMarva. Plus, we have more than 40 wines, and craft beers and spirits.
There will also be live music featured at the event which the attendees really love. Another great aspect is that the event is not weather reliant. Most of the event takes place inside of Independence Hall and it flows beautifully from room to room. The venues that will be located outside will be under the portico or a tent.
Q: Will parking be a concern?
A: That’s a good question. While there is parking around Independence Hall, it’s on a first come, first serve basis. Fortunately, we have a very convenient shuttle service that will easily transport attendees from the front of the development to the site. It’s a very short distance, so no need to worry there.
Q: You also have what seems like a very fun “Chef Throw Down”. Can you fill us in on the details?
A: Oh yes! This is one of the favorite features of the event. We had the throw down in year’s past, but this year, we doubled the competition. You won’t want to miss the Battle of the Beaches – Team Throw Down! A total of six of Coastal Delaware's top culinary talents will make up two teams - one from Lewes (led by Matt Kern of Heirloom) and one from Rehoboth (led by Lion Gardner of The Blue Moon) all going knife to knife to earn their team the top prize! It’s a blast to witness! Each team has 36 minutes to create dish using a mystery basket of different and unusual ingredients that they will only discover when the throw down begins! They have to win over the three judges with whatever they come up with! Plus – our Celebrity Host Michael Sprouse is certain to keep it entertaining!
Q: How did you decide to select Michael Sprouse as the host of this year’s event?
A: His name kept coming up over and over again with the committee. He’s hosted both Coastal Cuisine and The Arts & Entertainment Report on WRDE NBC for almost five years now and he’s had a very popular live radio show on Delaware 105.9 FM since autumn of last year. I’ve worked with Michael before and I love his spirit, his voice, his presence - plus he likes to eat and drink! It felt like the perfect fit.
Q: You also have an event on June 26th. Can you give us details?
A: Absolutely! It’s Our Taste Of SoDel. Of course, since this is a fund raising event, we have had some great sponsors who have been on since day one – for example, SoDel Concepts, and they have been really incredible and generous. We can always use more however, so on Tuesday, June 26th from 5 to 6:30ish, we’re hosting a Media and Sponsorship Awareness event at Bluecoast In Rehoboth Beach. It not only helps to spread the word about this great annual festival, but it also will show potentially interested sponsors what a fantastic opportunity it is to not only to help several worthwhile non-profits, but it will also highlight what a great branding opportunity it is for promotion. We advertise heavily throughout the region and people pay attention to that. It’s a great cause to be connected to on so many levels. The Media and Sponsorship Awareness event is free of charge, but it’s by invitation only.
Q: So, if someone was interested in learning more and coming on board as a sponsor, how can they be included in that event on June 19th?
A: All they need to do is to contact me at either 302-245-4262 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can have a conversation about their level of interest and I’ll put them on the list if appropriate. The invite is good for one person and a guest and there are a limited number of spaces, so, the sooner they contact me the better! We sold out pretty quickly last year.
Q: This really does seem like it’s going to be the best SoDel Fest to date! In closing, what’s something that you really would like the public to know about SoDel Fest 2018?
A: The main thing is that the SoDel Festival is not only an excellent way to help some very deserving non-profits, but that it is so much fun! There are just so many wonderful people and groups involved and dedicated to making this year’s event a huge success! It’s not only the perfect way to wind down the season, but it’s a great opportunity to meet new friends, try new food and wine, listen to great live music and celebrate life on Southern Delaware to it’s fullest! Again – details about every aspect of the event can be found online at www.SoDelFest.com and you can buy tickets there as well. Also, the sooner you buy tickets the better because the prices increases after Labor Day. Last year, we had more than 500 attendees and we expect more this year!
For more information about SoDel Festival 2018 including details of each aspect of the event and to purchase tickets, visit www.SoDelFest.com.
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