Omaha Crush Ticket Contest
Nebraska’s Omaha Crush festival on August 2nd was inspired by a visit to the St. Louis Wine Festival in the Midwest’s wine heartland.
‘My husband and I had taken a little trip to St. Louis, Missouri, and we had gone to a wine festival there,” explained Jen Kocher, festival organizer and owner of the event planning company, Urban Events. ‘We fell in love with that and thought there was nothing like that in Omaha at the time. And so we literally sat on the grass at this wine festival and picked out a venue, secured a website name for the festival and just started dreaming.”
Just months later, the dream became a reality as Omaha’s River Front Wine Festival and also precipitated Kocher’s change of careers from realtor to event planner. For its sixth year the event has changed names to encompass a wider focus. Rather than just wine, Kocher describes the festival as wine, food and art centric and expects it to draw about one thousand people.
‘I think people are looking for a whole experience and always ask about pairing food with wine so we thought we’d just dive right in and every time we offer a taste of wine we have a suggested food pairing with it,” said Kocher.
Omaha’s local chefs are providing the food pairings. For example, Aron Mackevicious from 7 M Grill is cooking up rancho coffee-dusted salmon over srirachi risotto, topped with mango guacamole and white chocolate drizzle.
There will be some local wine to go with it, but despite its name, Omaha Crush doesn’t feature many local wineries. Much of the wine is provided by about 20 out of state winemakers and wine retailers, predominantly Californian.
‘By design, we are looking for a balance of wines from all over, but quite frankly I would prefer more Nebraska wineries,” said Kocher. ‘I did extend an invitation to Nebraska and Iowa wineries; it could be that there are already a couple of festivals, including Nebraska’s biggest wine festival, the Balloon and Wine Fest, [that takes place the following weekend] that feature primarily Nebraska wines.”
For festival punters looking for genuinely local vino, Feather River Vineyards will be there, a winery located in Loess Hills, south of North Platte with nearly 40 acres of grapes including Frontenac, Marquette and LaCrosse. Their wines have won awards at the Mid America and Finger Lakes International Wine Competitions.
See related story: Midwest Wineries Double Medal Count at Finger Lakes Competition
Moonstruck Meadery and Rockin’ Rooster Winery (100% fruit wines) will also be attending, as well as several Nebraskan breweries.
CLICK HERE to Win 2 passes to Omaha Crush, which includes a Riedel glass, unlimited samples of wine and craft beer tastings, small bites from some of Omaha’s top chefs and live music.
5% of every Omaha Crush ticket sold, together with donations collected at the festival, will be given to Tablets 4 Hope. This foundation provides free iPads to children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and was started by Kocher and her husband. Tickets can be bought online here.