Sample the Sierra Returns Revamped With Intimate Evening of Food, Beer, Cocktails, Wine, Music and Art

Sample the Sierra, South Lake Tahoe’s annual farm-to-fork festival originally scheduled Sept. 18, 2021, has been cancelled by event organizers. (

Planners made the difficult decision based on numerous factors: recent impacts on businesses and the public from the Caldor Fire in El Dorado Country, a spike in COVID cases due to the Delta variant, and staffing concerns among numerous restaurant partners. All tickets will be fully refunded.

“We are all heartbroken, however with the many challenges beyond anyone’s control, we were left with no choice,” said Emily Abernathy, director of operations at the Tahoe Chamber. “The Tahoe Chamber team will continue to find ways to celebrate our local bounty and businesses through the year and ask our loyal followers to stay connected with us on social and stay tuned for better days to come.”

Visitors and locals are encouraged to support Sample the Sierra restaurants, wineries/breweries, vendors and sponsors whenever possible, and to look for specific opportunities and promotions via Sample the Sierra and Tahoe Chamber’s Facebook pages.


July 21, 2021 (SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif.) – Sample the Sierra, South Lake Tahoe’s farm-to-fork festival, returns to Bijou Community Park Sept. 18, 2021, from 3 – 7 p.m. The 12th anniversary foodie event showcases regional cuisine, wines, spirits, beers, as well as artisans and live music. (

Attendance will be limited to approximately half of previous years, to provide a more intimate atmosphere with ample space to sample and imbibe. Tickets are $75 for adults and $65 for under 21 and designated drivers and are available online at Advance sell-outs have been the norm the past several years, making early purchases the tasteful move.

“We’re looking forward to raising glasses together in person once again and wanted to make this year more exclusive to allow for more room to mingle, sip and sample,” said Emily Abernathy, director of operations at the Tahoe Chamber. “We wanted to spice up the event with a chic cocktail, late-afternoon/evening ambiance. Sample the Sierra allows us to cheer and applaud our regional establishments who had to constantly pivot and shift operations during a challenging year.”

The culinary adventure will include more than 20 booths featuring a different winery, distillery or brewery expertly paired with a restaurant utilizing local produce in signature dishes.

Food providers include Betty’s Balls Tapas & Catering, Chicken in a Barrel, Dragonfly Bagel Co., Gastromaniac, McDuff’s, Poor Red’s, Tahoe Bagel Company, The Baked Bear and The Loft Tahoe. Drink providers include Bella Grace Vineyards, Crystal Basin Cellars, Findleton Estate Winery, Lava Cap Winery, Nello Olivo Winery, Sidellis, South of North Brewing Co., Tahoe Blue Vodka and newcomer South Fork Vodka. Food and drink purveyors will be updated online in the coming weeks as well as pairings announcements. Attendees can take home their favorite vintages by purchasing directly at the Wine Tent Sales benefitting various local non-profits.

A marketplace will feature local handmade goods, apparel, jewelry, and artwork among other items. Vendors feature Arivka Jewelry, BellaDrops Jewelry, Chris Harrison Photo & Art, Kelly Smith Cassidy Fine Art, Lovin’ Lake Tahoe LLC, MK Designs, Mountain Water Canvas, Tahoe Dog Gear, Tahoe Grown, Tahoe Heartbeat, Tamacino, and Warrior Goddess Jewelry.

The Residents, South Shore’s homegrown band established in 2020, will headline the music with a blend of classics as well as original upbeat, heartfelt tunes. Bandleader and lead vocal Ted Kennedy, whose daytime gig is Tahoe area restaurateur with establishments around the lake, will be joined by Sean Hodges, Tommy Ciccone, Thomas Brandolino, Josh Sweigert, Jon Sills, Tanner Morgan, Jeff Connor, Gentry Monasmith and Willie Twumasi.

Sample the Sierra began as a geotourism initiative by the Lake Lake Tahoe Shore Chamber of Commerce (Tahoe Chamber) with El Dorado County and the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority to promote the bounty and heritage of the region. It has grown into a sold-out festival that attracts residents, foodies, and international visitors alike. For 12 years attendees have tasted their way through the unique and popular flavors of the Sierra Nevada via wine, spirits, beer and cuisine created from local sources. (2020 was virtual, take-out and online shopping.) The festival and the area’s expanding food scene has morphed since its 2010 inception.

Sample the Sierra is produced by the Lake Lake Tahoe Shore Chamber of Commerce, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, El Dorado County, Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority, and the City of South Lake Tahoe. The event is supported by Festival Sponsor, Lake Tahoe Culinary Academy/ADVANCE; Sierra Nevada Sponsors include Bently Heritage, and South Tahoe Alliance of Resorts; Main Stage Sponsor Winters Electric and Sierra Sothebys Realty; Sierra Stage Sponsors Deb Howard & Co, RPM Mortgage, and South Tahoe Refuse & Recycling Services; Sierra Stage Panty Sponsor, Whole Foods Market; Sierra Chefs Challenge Sponsors Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, and Sacramento International Airport as well as Media Sponsor Tahoe Daily Tribune.

For information about Sample the Sierra, tickets and participation, visit

Contact: Jenn Boyd Lemming or Phil Weidinger, Weidinger Public Relations, 775-588-2412 or

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cheers with two classes of beer for sample the sierra
Cheers to the return of Sample the Sierra, Sept. 18, with revamped intimate
evening of food, beverages, art and music. Credit: Brian Walker
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