PHILOMATH, Ore. — A Labor Day event in Benton County is helping the economy, but is also raising money for a good cause.
Different wineries and businesses, such as Spindrift Cellars, 2 Towns Ciderhouse, the Alsea Fish Hatchery, and Bellwether Wool Co. teamed up over the three-day weekend to support Strengthening Rural Families, a nonprofit that provides programs for families in rural Benton County.
For 20 dollars, anyone could get a Bounty of Benton County passport for the weekend to 30 different destinations.
“We get more traffic that we normally wouldn’t get,” said Spindrift Cellars owner Tabitha Compton.
But the event is not just about bringing in more customers. The passport money goes straight to a local program.
“I’m all about supporting Strengthening Rural Families, it’s a great organization,” Compton said.
Strengthening Rural Families provides parenting education programs, teen support groups, preschool education, and family activities for folks living in rural areas in Benton County.
“Anything we can do about strengthening our community and bringing support to all different kinds of families in all aspects,” Compton said. “I think it’s all about community and bringing everybody together.”
But the event also helps the local economy.
“Typically for wineries, Labor Day in our area has been kind of slow, so that’s why we really wanted to support an event on Labor Day through the Bounty of Benton County,” Compton said.
Passport holders could taste wines for free at many wineries, including Spindrift Cellars. But Compton says many of the wine tasters also buy the products. She says most customers are from the area, but not everyone.
“We came out specifically for the Willamette Valley wines,” said Ben LaGarde, who is visiting the area from Pennsylvania. He says he came all the way out to Oregon just for its wine. And to see his friends.
“I frankly think the Pinot Noir grapes in the Willamette Valley are some of the best in the world, and we really enjoy coming out here every time we get a chance,” he said.
Spindrift had a bounce house on Saturday for kids to play in. Compton says Bounty of Benton County isn’t just about the extra business. It’s about supporting the community.
“We try to keep it supporting the families and not just people who drink. That’s what I like about the Bounty. There’s something for everyone to do.”