The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey has hit the big stage.
The Londonderry Township winery, brewery and hard cider business has been attracting national recording artists to its farm property off Route 283 over the past two years. This year the venue will welcome O.A.R. in August as part of the rock band’s “Just Like Paradise” tour, the first national tour to stop at the vineyard.
That tour, which also will feature singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson, will swing through Dauphin County on Aug. 18 on its way from Rhode Island and before heading to New York.
Vineyard partner Mike Wilson, known as “Merlot Mike,” said he has been trying to book O.A.R. for the past three years.
The band finally agreed as the vineyard and brewery operation establishes itself as an attractive outdoor venue for live music. Last year, The Spin Doctors, Gin Blossoms and Blues Traveler performed there. Rock band Everclear hit the stage in 2016.
Wilson said he expects about 4,000 to 5,000 O.A.R. tickets will be sold online through the vineyard’s website. The event may also create business for area hotels and transportation companies as national acts typically draw people from surrounding states.
As part of the O.A.R. announcement, Wilson also provided details about the venue’s annual Straws & Stripes military benefit event, which featured Lee Greenwood and Phil Vassar last year. This year’s event, which will be July 14, will be headlined by rock legends 38 Special. Country pop star Uncle Kracker and rock band Puddle of Mudd will open the show.
The venue’s newest festival, Sun Splash, which made its debut last year, will return Aug. 4 this year. The family-friendly festival also will have bands, but contracts are still being finalized, Wilson said.
In a bid to improve customer service at events last year, the owners started canning beers and ciders for on-site sales. And wine was sold by the bottle with cups to help keep lines moving. In past years, the business relied on draft service, which led to longer lines. Selling cans proved to be more efficient for handling large crowds, Wilson said.