Leelanau News and Events

No Leland Wine & Food Festival For 2024

By Craig Manning | Feb. 23, 2024

Leland residents will have to wait for 2025 for the next edition of a popular local tradition.

The Leland Chamber of Commerce announced this week that it will be cancelling this year's Wine and Food Festival. The event, which has traditionally taken place in early June, has been the core fundraiser for the chamber for 35 years. But difficulties finding a venue for the 2024 version of the event have prompted the chamber to pull the plug for this year.

For years, the Leland Harbor served as the home for the Leland Wine and Food Festival. For a variety of reasons, though, the event hasn’t taken place at that venue since 2019,

“After a hiatus due to COVID, and subsequent years of adapting to harbor construction constraints by relocating to The Leland Lodge [in 2022 and 2023], our hopes to return to the Leland Harbor were dashed by an unexpected refusal from the Harbor Commission to continue to host this event,” the chamber shared in a statement on its website. “We will not be able to have a Wine Fest in 2024 due to the limited time allowed to pivot to a different location, and the significant demands this would put on our all-volunteer organization.”

Per the chamber, the loss of the event not only “disrupts a long-standing tradition” in Leland, but also “jeopardizes funding for numerous community activities and beautification projects that have become integral to our town's character and vibrancy.” Historically, revenues from the Wine and Food Festival have helped pay for things like “village beautification and flowers, Independence Day fireworks, holiday lights on Main Street, town marketing and promotion, and essential services such as trash removal.”

“The cost of these activities total almost $50,000 a year, and have been paid in the past through proceeds from the Wine Fest and chamber memberships,” the chamber said. “We find ourselves at a pivotal moment, urgently needing to devise a new strategy to ensure these community initiatives can continue without the festival's traditional revenue stream. The festival will be back in 2025, but we will not have this significant income flow in 2024.”

In an effort to make up for the money it won’t be earning from the Wine and Food Festival, the chamber has kicked off a GoFundMe fundraiser with a goal of $50,000.


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