CANTON The Pro Football Hall of Fame hosted its inaugural HOF Wine Maker Expo on last month in collaboration with the 720 Market.
The event featured 16 wine vendors, 11 wine makers and one meadery. There were also three breweries. The vendors came from Cuyahoga, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit and Tuscarawas counties.
Hall of Fame Executive Manager of Events Dennis VanFossen said they were expecting 3,500 people to attend the first-time event.
“We are already planning to hold it again next spring,” VanFossen said. “The area is a great space so I thought why not utilize it. The event makes a great kickoff event for our summer and spring event season. I’m a connoisseur of wine and beer and the event is a brain child of mine. Having the 720 Market here with us make it an even greater event.”
VanFossen said he “handpicked the vendors to ensure a great mix for the event.”
Dave Shimko and his wife, Lynn, have been holding the 720 Market for several years around North Canton and decided to hold a couple of early popup events this year.
“We usually have between 100 and 120 vendors at the North Canton events,” Shimko said. “We have about 65 vendors at this event today. It’s a bit early in the year so we don’t have the farmer’s market vendors today.
“It’s great to be back at with the new season and to be here at the HOF Wine Makers event," he added.
One of the standouts for the day was the Western Reserve Meadery. Douglas Shaw co-owns it with Jason Andro. Shaw said the wine is made with fermented honey versus grapes.
“Beer is made from fermented malt and most wines are made from fermented grapes,” Shaw said. “Mead is made from honey. We use a variety of different types of honey to make the different meads. We buy the clover, wildflower, and strawberry honey local and others like the buckwheat from the pacific northwest and cranberry blossom from New England.”
Shaw said that people really enjoy the mead and that the important part right now is to introduce it to people.
One of the standout vendors at the 720 Market pop-up was RMO Orchids. Karen and Steven Dubbert own the business. Karen and her children were running the booth and helping people select the best orchids.
"We sell at different events and online at www.RMPOrchids.com and at different orchid shows across the U.S," she said.
There were also several food trucks, a coffee truck and the Hall of Fame was making burgers and hot dogs for sale.
The 720 Markets in North Canton kick off on May 19 at Walsh University. There is also one on July 20 at St. Paul's in North Canton and one on Sept. 29 at Gervasi Vineyards.