It was 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, and while most people were still on their second cup of coffee — Jamie Summerlin was already on the second page of his day planner.
“Hey,” he said, laughing, “you gotta get up early if you want to get it done.”
Summerlin’s day planner is always penciled in full, and Saturday will be even more so.
That’s when the 2023 edition of the WV Chocolate Wine & Shine Festival commences at Mylan Park.
Representatives from the Mountain State’s best chocolatiers, wineries and distilleries will fill the Hazel and J.W. Ruby Community Building for the day.
Summerlin’s marketing firm, Guidon Creative, is hosting the event for individuals and couples aged 21 and up.
“This is a chance to showcase the best of West Virginia and the region,” he said.
Chocolates, wine, whiskey and even designer moonshine — legally made — will all be available for the sampling, he said.
You’ll also find an array of foods, he said, complementing the wares of artisans from all walks of the creative spectrum.
Look for 80 vendors in all, to go with more than 100 prize giveaways to be given out for the day, he said.
Same as last year, tickets are $40 for general admission and $75 for the full VIP treatment, which includes catering and a concierge service — so you can check the items you purchase along the way.
There are afternoon and evening sessions, with VIP perks. Visit https://chocolatewineshine.com or the event’s Facebook page for all the particulars.
“This year, we have more distilleries, more wineries and a lot more chocolate,” the event’s founder said.
Just like Cupid’s arrow, a lot of everything, for the community and the cause, has been a hallmark-aim for Summerlin — going back to the beginnings of his first forays into the public arena.
That, he did, by literally putting one foot in front of the other.
In 2012, Summerlin, who served a hitch in the U.S. Marines during the Gulf War, ran across the country — a total of 3,452 miles from Oregon to Delaware in 100 days — to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.
That’s the organization formed in support of combat veterans, hobbled emotionally and physically, by their battlefield experiences.