A night at the prom: Annual Downtown Batavia Wine Walk welcomes crowds | Business

A night at the prom: Annual Downtown Batavia Wine Walk welcomes crowds | Business

BATAVIA — Hope Sherman wasn’t necessarily expecting to wear her prom dress again so soon.

But the 18-year-old from Batavia — who had narrowly missed being this year’s prom queen — was all dressed up again Saturday night. She wore her gown and tiara among the crowds making their way through downtown.

Was it whimsy? A do-over?

Not in the slightest — Sherman was enjoying herself accompanying family members on the 2021 Downtown Batavia Wine Walk. The annual event had returned with the added bonus of a prom theme.

“I’m the designated driver for my mom and whoever had decided to come out from the quarantine and stuff like that, and being stuck in the house and everything.” Sherman said, accompanying her grandmother Judy Sherman, mom Karen and papa Ray Beimel. “It’s nice to be out seeing people we haven’t seen in awhile, and having fun with family and friends.” Not to forget supporting the surrounding business environment.

The Wine Walk is sponsored by the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District. It showcases local businesses and New York wines, with tasting stations set up at each.

Large numbers of people visit each location, bringing important exposure to the goods and services they offer.

“It’s going amazing,” said organizer Beth Kemp of the BID. “We have a sold-out event, so we sold 600 tickets, with 200 VIP and the rest general admission. We have a bunch of (designated drivers) this year as well.”

How was the prom theme working out? “It’s going great,” said Kemp, who wore her daughter’s prom dress from last year to the event. “Have you seen the amazing dresses and suits walking around? Yes … It’s fun. Everybody has a great time.

“It’s super-important,” she continued. “We were extremely bummed last year, to not be able to host events for our businesses, which is exciting. We have 20 businesses that are stops this year, and they were eager to be on the Wine Walk.”

Crowds formed long lines at participating businesses, with many in their old prom dresses, suits or other formal evening wear.

Sherman said her mom hadn’t been able to attend the prom, so their family was making an evening of it. “We’ve got her dressed up, we’ve got me dressed up,” Sherman said good-naturedly. “I lost prom queen by one vote, but I’m not too sad about it.”

Owner Zach Watts of the My Cut Barbershop and girlfriend Haley Brown posed for a selfie while serving wine samples with Angel Sanchez.

“It’s great,” Watts said. “We love it. We hoped we could have gotten this kind of exposure last year, but they canceled it, so being able to get this type of exposure this year has been excellent for us.

“The prom night makes it even better,” he added. “Everybody looks good, everybody feels good — it’s awesome.”

The event was especially important given last year’s COVID-19 shutdown.

“It’s great,” Watts said. “It’s really important, especially with all the foot traffic we’ve seen. You haven’t seen that. It’s been a year-and-a-half since people have been out of their houses and traveling around. Mix a little wine in it, and people start to forget — it’s not such a bad place.”

Plus the prom theme brings a lot of old and fond memories. Brown wore her senior prom dress from 2015.

Everybody’s having a great time,” he said. “It’s been awesome for us to get in touch with the people who have a hard time knowing that they’re here on an everyday basis. They can come in and check us out on a face-to-face basis. It makes our job a lot easier, you know?”

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