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Media contact:
Nikki Statler, Director of Marketing
nstatler@airzoo.org  |  269.350.2811

B52 Winery Partners with Air Zoo to Honor WWII Women Airforce Service Pilots during Winery Grand Opening Celebration, October 11, 2019

Grand Opening Reception to kick off Annual Lucky Girl Brewing/B52 Winery Harvest Fest, October 12-13

10% of B52 Winery Sales, Oct 11-13, to Benefit Air Zoo Educational Programs and Expansion of their Women in Aviation and Space Exhibit.

Paw Paw, Michigan, October 11, 2019–A gala Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting and Reception for the B52 Winery will kick off a weekend of fun and music at the annual Lucky Girl Brewing/B52 Winery Harvest Fest. The B52 Winery Grand Opening and Reception will be held, 3-6 pm on Friday, October 11, 2019. The Annual Harvest Fest hours are 12-9 pm, Saturday, October 12 and 12-6 pm, Sunday, October 13, 2019. Both events will be held at the Lucky Girl Brewing/B52 Winery, 34016 M43, in Paw Paw, MI.

Five styles of wine with labels honoring five courageous women from WWII’s Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), will be released during the B52 Winery Grand Opening and Reception. The ribbon will be cut at 3 pm on October 11 by B52 Winery owner Jeff Wescott, representatives from the Air Zoo, and members of the Paw Paw Chamber of Commerce.

Following the ribbon cutting, wine, locally sourced cheeses, and B52 Winery’s signature Charcuterie Board will be served. The wines include 2016 SYRAH (76%)/VIOGNIER (24%)|SHIRLEY, 2016 MERLOT|LIBBY, 2017 DRY WHITE BLEND|CORNELIA, 2015 BDX RED WINE BLEND|EVELYN, and 2014 CDR RED WINE BLEND|BETTY. The stories of the women behind the wines—Shirley Berkley (Slade), Elizabeth (Libby) L. Gardner, Cornelia Clark Fort, Evelyn Sharp, and Betty Huyler Gillies—will be on display. The reception also features local artisans who supply B52 Winery’s café including Windshadow Farm Artisan Cheese, The Victorian Bakery, The Bakewell Company, You Have Great Taste, and Marion Behrman, The Pie Lady of South Haven.

B52 Winery is partnering with the Air Zoo to promote their exhibits and programs including their Women in Aviation and Space exhibit. In addition to participating in the ribbon cutting, the Air Zoo will host an activity table throughout the Grand Opening and Harvest Fest. Artifacts that illustrate the role of women in aviation are being supplied by the Air Zoo. Ten percent of all B52 Winery sales on October 11-13, 2019 will be donated to the Air Zoo educational programs and to the expansion of their Women in Aviation and Space exhibit.

The fun continues during the annual Lucky Girl Brewing/B52 Winery Harvest Fest on October 12-13. Harvest Fest hours are 12-9 pm, Saturday, Oct. 12 and 12-6 pm, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Family activities include pumpkin painting, pumpkin carving, a bounce house, apple bobbing, and an Air Zoo activity table. The B52 Winery will host wine and cheese pairings and wine and chocolate pairings on Saturday and Sunday and Jazz in the Afternoon, 1-4 pm on Sunday. Lucky Girl Brewing will feature Kalamazoo’s own Megan Rae Band, 7-11 pm, on Saturday. Both the winery and the brewery will be open, 12-7 pm, during the Monday Columbus Day holiday with food and wine specials.

The B52 Winery’s focus on honoring the women of the WASP is an extension of the military aviation theme at Lucky Girl Brewing, Lucky Girl Brewing is dedicated to the WWII flyboys and the pin up girls, the women who inspired them (there is even a 14-foot B26 propeller above the bar). “Pin up girls were ideal for a beer brand,” says Jeff Wescott who developed his love of aviation through his involvement with companies like Fairchild Aircraft, Butler Aviation, and Mercury Aviation. He wanted to carry over the military aviation theme to his B52 Winery and discovered the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). “Most people, nine out of ten, have never heard of them,” says Wescott. “There are 1100 of them. It’s just a phenomenal story that nobody knows about. We want to tell the story about what these women did as aviation pilots.”

A plaque next to a huge blow-up of a vintage photo of four WASP women in uniform tells the tale of why it is important to honor them: “B52 Winery celebrates the heroic 1100 first female aviators to fly military aircraft in WWII. These pioneering female aviators flew over 60 million miles and ferried every type of military aircraft to the war front. Thirty-eight members lost their lives and one disappeared while on a ferry mission, her fate still unknown. In 1977, for their WWII service, the members were granted veteran status, and in 2009 awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.”

“The B52 Winery is not only dedicated to the women aviation pioneers of the past,” states Wescott. “We are dedicated to promoting the future of women in aviation. That’s why we are partnering with the Air Zoo, both to promote their programs and exhibits, and to donate 10% of all B52 Winery sales made during the Grand Opening and Harvest Fest to Air Zoo educational programs and the expansion of their Women in Aviation and Space exhibit.”

The Air Zoo is enthusiastic about how partnerships like this help promote women in aviation. “The Air Zoo is thrilled to take part in B52 Winery’s Grand Opening,” says April Bryan, Air Zoo Collections Manager. “This special event will help us tell the stories of women in aviation and space with an all-new, campus-wide exhibit designed to inspire future female aviators and astronauts.”

For information on the B52 Winery Grand Opening and Reception and the Lucky Girl Brewing/B52 Winery Harvest Fest, call 269-485-0074

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NOTE: Suzanne Parish, co-founder of the Air Zoo was a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).

Evelyn Wine Blends PictureLibby Wine Blends PictureWine Blends PictureShirley Birkley Wine Label Cornelia Wine Blends Picture

Posted by Nikki Statler at 9:28 AM
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