Wine connoisseurs from around the state gathered Saturday in Denison to "Kick Back and Say Cheers" at the city’s annual downtown wine event.

Wine connoisseurs from around the state gathered Saturday in Denison to "Kick Back and Say Cheers" at the city’s annual downtown wine event.


This was the 18th year for an art and wine event in Denison, said city of Denison Main Street Director Donna Dow. The event started as the "Art and Wine Renaissance" in 1997, and came to be known as "Kick Back and Say Cheers" in 2012. It has progressed into a four-day affair celebrating wine, art music and local culture. The event is a collaboration of four local organizations: Downtown Denison, Inc., the Denison Area Chamber of Commerce, the Denison Arts Council and the Main Street Program of Denison.


"It’s been really relaxing this year. People seem to really be enjoying being able to come and go from the tent, and then go on to the other galleries and businesses," said Denison Chamber of Commerce President Anna McKinney, who has been volunteering for the event since its inception.


A tent at Heritage Park housed the event, which cost $25 for entry. Once inside, attendees could enjoy food, browse the works of local artists, listen to live music and enjoy wine samples from eight different wineries.


All proceeds of the ticket sales go to fund projects in downtown Denison, McKinney said. She estimated that 300 people had stopped by the tent to take part in Saturday’s festivities.


Sherman resident and member of the Texoma Wine Club Pat Scott said she has previously participated in the event, and she enjoys it every year.


"I do this to have a good time. Everything here is wonderful," Scott said.


One of the attractions was a Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association-sanctioned amateur wine competition. Amateur vintners from as far as Houston and San Antonio entered their homemade wines into the competition’s eight categories. The all-around winner received the T.V. Munson cup.


The recipient of this highest honor was Byron Barnes of San Antonio, who grew the grapes for his wine in his backyard. Barnes and his wife had never been to Denison. They hope to come earlier next year so they can "spend time and enjoy the area," Barnes said.


The organizers visited wine festivals in Grapevine and Fredricksburg for inspiration for this year’s event, Dow said. They are pleased with the results. First-time organizer Bob Dickson, who is the president of Downtown Denison, Inc., said he is looking forward into making "Kick Back and Cheers" an enjoyable event for years to come.


"This is a fun event that we can build on and grow into something that really helps the downtown business district and Denison in general," Dickson said.