EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. (November 27, 2023) – In a surprising turn of events, the El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce has announced the retirement of the long-standing El Dorado Hills Art Beer & Wine Festival, a signature event that has graced the community for two decades. The announcement came via an electronic message from the Chamber’s Event Staff, catching participants and attendees off guard.
The message from the Chamber read,
“After much consideration over the past few months, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to retire this signature event. After a successful run for the past 20 years, we’ve enjoyed hosting the event and bringing your wonderful talents to our community. Thank you for participating in El Dorado Hills Art Beer and Wine Festival earlier this year and/or in years past!”
Despite the acknowledgment of the event’s success over the years, the message provided no specific reason for the abrupt cancellation, leaving the community curious and eager for an explanation.
Speculation surrounding the event’s retirement has surfaced, particularly from a longtime participant who shared insights into the evolving nature of the festival. According to this artist, who had been involved since the early years, the festival gradually shifted its focus away from art, becoming more centered on alcohol consumption. The participant expressed concerns about the increasing cost of artist booths coupled with declining sales, attributing the shift to the festival’s emphasis on the drinking experience rather than the celebration of art.
The participant shared,
“It became a drinking event, and the art was an afterthought (an expensive one for the artists). The cost for artist booths kept increasing while sales dropped because everyone was going for the alcohol and not the art. Plus, I had my first theft at an art show the first year beer was added.”
Comparisons were drawn to other successful events like the Sonoma Vintage Festival, an art and wine gathering that thrived until the challenges of 2020. The participant emphasized the importance of maintaining the original artistic essence of such festivals, expressing disappointment in the shift away from the event’s artistic roots in pursuit of financial gains.
As the El Dorado Hills community grapples with the unexpected retirement of a beloved tradition, questions linger about the factors that led to this decision and what the future holds for art and cultural celebrations in the region.