Grape Festival

Grape Festival

September, Labor Day weekend
The highlight of the Grape Festival held each year in Nauvoo, Illinois, is the historical pageant known as the Wedding of the Wine and Cheese . It tells the story of a young French boy who left his unfinished lunch in a limestone cave to keep it cool and then forgot to pick it up. He returned months later and discovered that the bread had grown moldy and spread through the cheese, creating the first blue-veined Roquefort cheese.
In the pageant there is a marriage ceremony celebrating the union of cheese and wine in which a magistrate reads the marriage contract, places it between the wine (carried by the bride) and the cheese (carried by the groom), and circles all three with a wooden hoop symbolizing the wedding ring. The festival also includes parades, a grape stomp, and historical tours.
In the late 1840s, Nauvoo was occupied by French and German Icarians, members of a socialist sect whose creed, "From each according to his ability and to each according to his need," derived from the social-economic philosophy of Karl Marx. The Icarians brought wine-making to the area, and several of their original wine cellars are still used to make the blue cheese that this festival has celebrated for over 50 years. A similar festival is held in Roquefort, France.
CONTACTS:
Nauvoo Tourism Office
1295 Mulholland St.
P.O. Box 500
Nauvoo, IL 62354
877-628-8661 or 217-453-6648; fax: 217-453-2032
www.beautifulnauvoo.com
SOURCES:
GdUSFest-1984, p. 49
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