(Cleveland)— Greater Clevelanders got a jump on Memorial Day weekend Friday, May 18 at Progressive Field, all to benefit Our Lady of the Wayside, a local non-profit agency that provides residential, transportation and day programming for over 900 children and adults with developmental disabilities in seven Northeast Ohio counties.

2,000 people who attended Grapes & Ale, Presented by Giant Eagle kicked-off Cleveland’s BBQ season in style with samplings of more than 300 internationally acclaimed wines, craft brews, and tastes from some of the sauciest restaurants in town, along with the music of The Ace Molar Band, featuring Todd Meany of Fox 8 WJW TV.

Terry Davis, President and CEO of The Wayside, said the organization always looks forward to this event because it’s so much fun and it certainly helps their bottom line.

“Like a fine wine this event seems to be getting better!  What started 19 years ago as an idea has become an event so many plan for and look forward to, but I must admit,  the real winners are the  people we serve every day at the Wayside.” said Davis. 

Proceeds will benefit Our Lady of the Wayside providing residential, transportation and day programming for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Hosting the event this year:  Marc Bona from cleveland.com, FOX 8’s Kenny Crumpton, Q104's Jeremiah, and WMJI's Chip Kullik. 

For $125.00, VIP ticket holders enjoyed access to the Majic VIP Lounge on the top floor of “The Corner” to with fare from Cleveland Chop, The Hilton Garden Inn and Cupcake Cravings, specialty drinks showcasing Tito’s Handmade Vodka, wine selections from Ava Grace, Prophecy and Josh Cellars and beverages from Blue Moon, Fat Head’s Brewery, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Leinenkugel’s, Rhinegeist, Spike Seltzer, Essentia Water – along with all the amenities of the Premiere Grand Tasting.  

The $60.00 Premiere Grand Tasting admission included a souvenir wine glass, wine samplings, beer samplings ($5 for 10 or $10 for 20 samples), program, 50/50 raffle, silent and Chinese Auctions, and delectable dishes from restaurants including: Berea Depot, Giant Eagle, Melt Bar & Grilled, Smokin’ Rock & Roll, Strip, and Pierre’s Ice Cream. 

Event entertainment courtesy of Ace Molar - featuring FOX 8’s Todd Meany, Browning Avenue Jazz, and the School of Rock. Thank you to our media sponsors Advance Ohio, Cleveland Magazine, ESPN 850 WKNR, FOX 8, Majic 105.7, oWOW, Q104 and The Wine Buzz. 

Photos courtesy of Ed 'Flash' Ferenc.