Lori Wille is getting excited about this year’s Gourd and Arts Festival slated for Sept. 26-27 at Folsom City Lions Park. The festival is a fundraiser for the Folsom Patrons of the Arts. “We have a lot of exciting things coming up,” Wille said. “We’re going to expand our raffles and we’re adding wine tasting.” It’s not just any ol’ wine tasting. “The first 500 wine tasters will receive hand-painted wine glasses done by high-end regional artists,” she said. The wine-tasting portion will be run by the Folsom High School Music Boosters. They will also share in the proceeds. The concept is one that Wille carries through the entire gourd festival. Jim and Kim Castro, of Town Planner, are running a food drive to benefit Twin Lakes Food Bank. Those who donate food will receive a free raffle ticket. The Rotary Club of Historic Folsom, Terry Carroll, Jim Pelley and Folsom Lake Bank will be offering two-for-one coupons, with some of the proceeds going to the Play For All Park project. The project is one that will allow children with disabilities the opportunity to play alongside able-bodied kids. “What we’re hoping to do is really increase attendance and help all these organizations,” Wille said. “It’s a new Patrons (of the Arts) thing to collaborate with others.” The Folsom Lake Community Concert Association will be in charge of the raffles and silent auction, she said. “We have fabulous prizes coming,” Wille said. “We have a gentleman donating a hand-carved wine cabinet.” Parking is $4, but portions of the proceeds benefit the CAVE Teen Center. Admission to the festival is $5. Even though average attendance is usually around 4,000, Wille said many are still confused about the event. “It’s amazing how many people have lived here and have never heard of it,” she said. “Some think it’s still held at Zittel Farms, but it’s been at the park for seven years now.” Wille said those looking for art, gourd crafts, live music, dancing and food should come out and enjoy the weekend. The festival features 150 artists. If you’d like to volunteer to help out at the festival, e-mail email@example.com. For more information on the festival, visit FolsomGourd Festival.com. READER FEEDBACK Christina Smith, a Folsom resident, called to let me know what she thought about our Palladio Lifestyle Center update on the front page July 29. “We can’t wait for it to open,” she said. “We can walk there.” Christina went on to tell me that she was so grateful for the article because she too had been wondering what was going on at the construction site. Rumors were floating around that the project had stalled and she had recently been speaking with a friend about the Palladio and its future, she said. “Then I open the Telegraph and there it is,” she said. “Thank you so much.” You’re welcome, Christina. Thank you for calling. BUSINESS BEAT Riad Morrar called to say she is opening a new store, Folsom Food Market, on the corner of Glenn Drive and Sibley Street in Folsom. “It’s a grocery store, halal meat and deli,” she said. “It has American and Middle Eastern products.” The term halal means the food adheres to Islamic Law. According to Wikipedia, 70 percent of Muslims worldwide follow halal food standards. Editor Don Chaddock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.