Art, wine and a mellower atmosphere planned for Modesto Art & Wine Festival

Wouldn't it be great to enjoy a glass of wine while the kids are making crafts?

You can at the fifth annual Modesto Art & Wine Festival this Saturday. The event offers plenty to do for both adults and children.

"It's a fun, family downtown activity in the middle of summer," said festival organizer Brad Hawn, a Modesto City Council member. "It's a chance to celebrate who we are in Modesto."

He is expecting some 5,000 people to attend — about a third of the number that attend X-Fest, downtown Modesto's July music festival. The Art & Wine Festival benefits the Central California Art Association, a networking group for Modesto area artists.

Up to 100 local artists will sell their works, including paintings, pottery, sculpture and jewelry.

Tresetti's restaurant is coordinating the wine tasting, which will feature some 20 wineries, including McManis, Silkwood, Gallo, Trinitas, Most Wanted, Frank Family Vineyards, Wend-Tyler and Twisted Oak.

There will be two tastings in the 11th Street Garage, which will be decorated and spruced up for the occasion — 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and 4:30-7:30 p.m. Beer and nonalcoholic beverages, including sodas and water also will be for sale.

Cooking demonstrations will take place throughout the day in the wine tasting area with cooks suggesting dishes to pair with the different wines.

An outdoor food court will include a range of options, from Mexican to barbecue to ice cream. Some restaurants along the festival route also will be open.

As usual, the festival will offer plenty of opportunities for children to explore their artistic sides. Artists in the "Creative Zone" will teach children different crafts beginning at noon, with new classes starting at

1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m. Classes include animal portraits, book making, potato stamping, paper mosaics and cartoons. Parents are free to get a glass of wine and then come sit with their kids.

One block will be devoted to the Memorial Medical Center display of art by cancer survivors and their family and friends. Festival-goers can make their own art at a

collage table in the exhibit between 2 and 5 p.m.

There will be music but the festival is turning down the volume on it this year. Instead of a music stage — as in past years — there will be music areas with mellower acoustic performances.

Musicians will include classical guitar player Robert Myers, classical pianist Leo Kasperovich and bluegrass/folk performers Sammy and Lauren Leverone.

Sponsors include Bud Light Lime, Stella Artois, KFIV 1360 AM, Sunny 102.3 FM, Tresetti's World Caffe, Metro PCS, B92.9 FM, Rock 96.7 FM and Memorial Medical Center.

Hawn praised all the sponsors, particularly Clear Channel (owner of the radio stations) for keeping the festival going in these tough economic times. "Our community needs this stuff," he said.