The Willcox Wine Country Festival will host its biggest festival ever this weekend in an event that provides an economic shot in the arm and a boost to the region’s burgeoning wine industry.

“The thing has just been growing,” said Alan Baker, executive director of the Willcox Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, who estimated that between 2,000 and 3,000 people are expected to attend.

That influx will nearly double the town’s population of about 3,700. Those folks will plunk down their $15 festival ticket price, buy a few bottles to go, eat at a local restaurant, and for a few coming from Phoenix, possibly stay the night.

All of that contributes to the economy, but is possibly not as lasting as the impression visitors will have of the area’s wine industry. That, Baker said, will bring people back. The festival will be held at Historic Railroad Avenue Park downtown. For the first time, vehicle traffic will not be allowed in the block of Railroad Avenue in front of the park.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642.

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.