SALISBURY — Sitting amongst the small city of tents that made up Riot in the Pasture, Pat Burgess held an umbrella over herself, all the while munching on a plate of locally grown vittles.
Burgess was one of hundreds that trekked the scenic ride to Morgan’s Ridge Sunday for a farm-to-fork meal at Bread Riot’s third-annual Riot in the Pasture.
She wasn’t disappointed.
“The food and the wine is fantastic,” Burgess said, “and the music’s really good, too.”
Like several others, Burgess had never been to a Riot in the Pasture event, nor had she been to the rural winery.
“I never knew this place was here,” she said.
Capri Brixey, head of Bread Riot’s board of directors, said organizers sold about 325 tickets to the show, but some stayed away due to weather. An additional 75 arrived at the door.
“The turnout was phenomenal, especially with the weather,” Brixey said. “It turned out beautifully.”
Brixey said educating local folks about nearby farms and foods is a primary goal of the event.
“It’s really a unique event because it just doesn’t happen everywhere,” Brixey said. “Being able to put on a locally sourced meal where everything included is locally sourced — we have this diverse bounty of food in Rowan County that we really want to tell people about.”
But the still-young tradition wasn’t without its hitches.
Despite having 500 plates, organizers said they ran out of most of the food with about an hour to go.
Organizers said the food was prepared earlier than usual and some patrons returned for seconds.
“We had people coming back two and three times. It’s a learning. We have learnings every year,” Brixey said. “Last year we ran out of beer. This year we will not.
“We’ll go back to making sure that dinner is at 5 p.m. next year,” she added.
But most of the crowd were all smiles as local bands strummed under a crowded pavilion just south of the vineyard.
Dozens of observers propped blankets and chairs on a nearby hill.
Monika Bigsby sat chatting with friends under a coffee-colored tent.
“ I have never been here before. I’ve heard of it. I’ve seen it on Facebook,” Bigsby said. “It’s a beautiful space and the wine is delicious.”
Bigsby said she hopes the event succeeds in its efforts to boost the local economy.
“I think once people realize that food from the farm six blocks away or three or four roads away is just as good or better than going to the grocery store — we’re a society based on convenience. Sometimes a little inconvenience can impact your life in a better way,” she said.
Bigsby added that the turnout was probably down due to the brief spitting showers.
But said it was a chance for first-timers like herself to enjoy a more intimate experience.
“There will be people in the area who are sorry they missed it,” she said.
Cabarrus County resident Tom Lowder won’t be one of them.
Lowder and his wife, children and grandchildren stopped by the lakeside vineyard Sunday after relatives thought the event would be a nice weekend outing.
“We’ve just enjoyed it, enjoyed the music,” he said.
Lowder toured the vineyard, he said, and hopes the event makes an impact on local residents.
“We’re in the sheep business,” he said, “so we support what’s grown and raised in North Carolina.”
On a nearby blanket, Cherry Bryan and Jan Sabo talked about the event.
“It’s nice to hang out here with friends, even if it’s a little drizzly,” Bryan said. “Events like this help families see it doesn’t cost a lot to eat healthy.”
“And they taste good,” her daughter, Bess, added.
Amie and Tommy Baudoin moved back to the eastern Rowan County property years ago to start the vineyard on land that had been in Amie’s family for generations.
Having the event on the property she’s spent so much time cultivating meant a lot, she said.
“For me to come back home to my family farm and do something — it’s magnificent to have people come out and enjoy themselves,” Baudoin said. “This is exactly what I built this for — for folks to come back and learn how to fellowship again and come to the country to realize this is where it all began. This is thrilling for me to see folks having such a wonderful time.”