The coronavirus pandemic may have caused Richwood Winery to cancel two of its major seasonal events — the Summer Solstice Festival and the Toast to Tamarac benefit — but the local vineyard has also added two new events to its July schedule.
First up is Comedy in the Vineyard, 4 p.m. Sunday, July 5, followed by an evening presentation of the romantic play "Love Letters" at 7:30 p.m. July 25.
There will be no cover charge or admission fee charged for Sunday's comedy show, which features Valley City, N.D., comedian Spencer Dobson. A veteran of the comedy stage, Dobson brings his darkly humorous tales of love, life, family, technology and food to Richwood Winery for the first time.
"We try to keep most of our shows family-friendly, but Spencer specializes in adult humor, so this show is not for kids," winery coordinator Deb Krogsgaard said.
Dobson's set will be preceded by a stand-up performance from Fargo favorite Gary Pattison, who takes the stage at 4 p.m. Pattison, who is perhaps better known as a Fargo-area real estate agent, was nonetheless a finalist at the Fargo Comedy Fest hosted by The Cellar Comedy Club back in the first week of March.
Guests are asked to maintain social distancing protocols during the 90-minute show, Krogsgaard said.
'Love Letters' tops busy July 25
Richwood Winery will be hosting a full day of activities July 25, starting with Yoga in the Vineyard at 9 a.m., followed by a 3:30 p.m. set from Fargo musician Gordy "GC" Christensen.
A special performance of the dramatic two-person play "Love Letters" will be presented on the vineyard stage at 7:30 p.m., and ticket holders are invited to a 6:30 p.m. social hour where they can enjoy a pre-show cocktail, or a glass or two of the vineyard's own wines, bottled onsite.
"Love Letters" by A.R. Gurney features Fargo-area actors Lee Klocke and Kelli Pfeifer. The romantic play centers on two characters and how their relationship evolves from writing birthday "thank you" notes, to becoming friends, and then something a little more intimate, as they continue to share confidences through the mail over several decades.
Once the winery's expenses for this special performance are paid, the remainder of the proceeds will be split between the Historic Holmes Theatre and Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre.
"We're hoping we can get a good crowd for this one," Krogsgaard said. She added that initial ticket sales are being limited to between 50-60, but if there is sufficient demand, they may open up additional seating.
Advance tickets for this one-night-only performance are $20 and can be purchased through eventbrite.com; search for "PK Productions" and "Love Letters."
"There will be no tickets sold at the gate — only online," Krogsgaard said, in order to accommodate state-mandated social distancing restrictions. For the same reasons, the performance will be canceled if it rains.
An anniversary bash, Music in the Vineyard and more
On Saturday, Aug. 15, the winery is planning to celebrate its 10th anniversary with an afternoon birthday bash featuring live music by Dan Holt as well as food, wine and cocktails, plus a few more special activities that are still in the planning stages.
Richwood Winery will also be hosting live music in the vineyard every Saturday through Sept. 5, from 4 to 6 p.m. (excepting only July 25, when the music begins a half hour earlier to accommodate that evening's performance of "Love Letters"):
- July 11: Jan Severson
- July 18: Blue Barry
- July 25: Gordy "GC" Christensen
- Aug. 1: Mike Morse
- Aug. 8: to be determined
- Aug. 15: Dan Holt
- Aug. 23: Blue Barry
- Aug. 29: Zach Thomas
- Sept. 5: Gordy "GC" Christensen
Another Yoga in the Vineyard event is planned for Aug. 25 as well.
Grape Stomp still up in the air
Will the winery be hosting its eighth annual Grape Stomp Festival on Sept. 12? It's still on the schedule, Krogsgaard said, but because the event typically brings in crowds upward of 350-400 people, and current social distancing guidelines limit attendance to 250 people or less, they will likely have to either cancel, or come up with a format that allows them to control the number of people coming through the gate.
"We may have to sell tickets in advance only," she added. "We're still trying to work out the details."