Grape Stomp a Mainstay of Annual Celebration

Organizers of the annual Hollister Grape & Fall Festival are searching for adults and children not afraid to get their
feet dirty.

One of the highlights of the Hollister Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual festival is the grape stomp, when teams of four slip off their comfortable shoes and slip into vats filled with fresh ripe grapes. They then dance, prance and stomp to their favorite tunes, all while vying for the day’s top prize, the traveling Ugly Monkey Trophy and bragging rights. Comedian and ventriloquist Jim Barber will emcee the stomp. Barber, co-star of the “Hamner Barber Variety Show,” has performed on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

While the grape stomp competition leaves people rolling in their seats, the contest actually has historical roots.

“The Grape & Fall Festival was first known as the Grape Carnival and was celebrated each fall, for a period that lasted about three decades, in the early 20th century,” said Hollister City Administrator Rick Ziegenfuss. “The carnival served as a chance for local residents and their guests to celebrate another year of hard work and success in an Ozarks agricultural—and tourism—based community. As Hollister faced the challenges of post-depression America, floods and World War II, the community turned its attention to more immediate priorities and the festival was forgone.

“In the 1990s, interested residents, the Hollister chamber of commerce and the city of Hollister once again turned to what is now known as the Grape & Fall Festival for many of the same reasons as it original organizers. To this day, the festival offers residents and guests the chance to celebrate another year of hard work and progress in Hollister.”

Ziegenfuss said because the Grape Carnival called attention to the area vineyards, it only seemed natural to include a fun, grape-based event in the festival’s second life, thus the grape stomp was born.

“After the first grape stomp, it became apparent that it was an event that was here to stay,” he said. “Stomp teams of all ages excite the judges and the crowd into an event high that generates comments, long after the event has ended.”

The tradition continues this year Saturday, October 12, when the Hollister Area Chamber of Commerce will once again host Hollister’s Grape & Fall Festival from 10:00 a.m.– 10:00 p.m. on Downing Street. The day will include food and craft vendors, entertainment, children’s activities and, of course, the grape stomp. To get things started this year, organizers have incorporated the first Color Me Grape 5K Color Fun Run, which begins at 9:00 A.M.

The Hollister Area Chamber of Commerce is currently taking applications for grape stomp teams, event sponsors, crafters, food vendors and area businesses who would like to take part in the annual event celebrating Hollister’s
rich history.

Businesses, non-profits and crafters wanting to exhibit may call Debbie Redford at 417.332.7246. Food vendors are asked to call Jerry Shackette at 417.598.9731. Businesses interested in becoming a Grape & Fall Festival sponsor may call D. Todd Aeschliman at 417.294.5050 or visit HollisterChamber.Net. To register a grape stomp team or find out more information about the grape stomp, call Laurie Hayes at 417-559-3869.




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