Epicurience Virginia will continue this year, but the food and beverage extravaganza will move from Morven Park to One Loudoun in Ashburn and to a new date on the calendar.
Visit Loudoun launched the Labor Day weekend festival three years ago with the support of grant funding from the Board of Supervisors.
Going forward, Outer Banks-based Hype Promotions Inc. will take over the signature culinary and wine festival. Visit Loudoun President and CEO Beth Erickson said the full-service event and production company will stage this year’s event, which is slated for Oct. 15.
The company has more than 10 years of experience in producing successful food, beverage and music festivals on the East Coast and Erickson said she is pleased with the arrangement.
“Visit Loudoun created the three-year event, managed it for those years and built a brand of what’s valuable in the county,” she said Tuesday.
“We used it to position Loudoun as a premier East Coast destination—and we feel we accomplished that,” she said. Now it is Hype Promotion’s turn.
“They’re very good, very successful and we could not be more thrilled at the move to One Loudoun—it opens up an entirely new demographic,” Erickson said, calling The Barn at One Loudoun “a great backdrop” for the festival.
Erickson said the tourism agency’s mission with the festival had run its course, and that the original plan had always focused on spinning off the event to another organization.
The Board of Supervisors agreed to subsidize the fledgling effort with $200,000 per year allocation from tourism funds generated by hotel stays.
Visit Loudoun Vice President of Marketing Jackie Saunders stated the announcement of the changes, “Epicurience Virginia has successfully positioned Loudoun County as a premier East Coast wine and culinary destination, garnering national media coverage and support from major businesses and community partners.”
Visit Loudoun will continue to support the festival through sponsorship and promotion of this year’s event.
Attendance over the three years at Morven Park increased by 170 percent, according to Visit Loudoun, with its most successful public ratings achieved last year and garnering press coverage from local and national media valued at $4 million.
Hype Promotions will also manage the Americana Beer & Music Festival at Morven Park, slated for June 11. Erickson said the company plans to open a Loudoun office.
“We are excited to bring some new flavor to Loudoun County and know that our experience in managing culinary and beverage events will ensure this will be another successful year for Epicurience Virginia,” Hype Promotions representative Kristi Geske stated, adding the company looked forward to growing the event at its new location.
The news has been received well.
Visit Loudoun Board Chairman Herb Glose noted that the organization actively started to look for “the right shepherd” after the close of last year’s event in September. “Recently we were able to come to agreement with Hype, and we’re very happy to see Epicurience continue on with such a strong partner going forward in Hype Promotion,” he said.
Bill May, vice president of Miller & Smith and managing director of One Loudoun, welcomed the culinary festival to its new home.
“We look forward to continuing the culinary tradition created by Visit Loudoun at Morven Park and feel that One Loudoun is the perfect setting to host this exceptional wine and food festival,” May stated.
Todd Henkle, who represents the wineries on the Epicurience task force and says the event provides a great showcase for Loudoun wines, praised Visit Loudoun for its efforts to find a good event management partner for Epicurience to ensure sustainability for the years to come.