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Grape Stomp fun at the Harvest Fair

  • Sheena Schwandt, who works as a swabber, reacts after being sprayed with juice while her husband, Jay, stomps on grapes during the finals of the World Championship Grape Stomp at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair in Santa Rosa, California on Sunday, October 6, 2013. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

A mother-and-son team from Santa Rosa nabbed the World Championship Grape Stomp title Sunday, their seventh non-consecutive year taking the sweat-earned prize at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

By now they've got the system down: Kopa Kaluahine, 32, stomps — with size 14 feet. His mother, Michelle Kaluahine, 58, is the "swabby," the person scooping the juice through the screen and into a jug, all the while keeping grape pulp from clogging the spigot.

"My mom has the hard job. I'm just stomping, building the juice," said Kopa Kaluahine, a daycare worker.

Sonoma County Harvest Fair


The grape-stomping stage was a rowdy center of action at the fairgrounds in Santa Rosa Sunday, which hosted an otherwise much more subdued Harvest Fair this year, with smaller crowds and fewer activities and displays.

The grape stomp drew people from as far as Alaska and North Dakota, who came to get soaked in grape pulp and juice alongside Sonoma County competitors.

But beyond the cheers at the grape stomp pavilion, the Harvest Fair on its final day Sunday was subdued.

"We've had a lot of families coming in here saying they're disappointed," said Julie Johnson, who was manning a booth for Sebastopol's Mom's Apple Pie inside the Hall of Flowers.

Johnson, a Montgomery High School alumna who is not related to this reporter, said the change appeared to take many by surprise.

"When I was growing up, I remember hay rides and haunted houses," Johnson said.

At the Wine Country Shipping booth, Robin Jackson said that in previous years they've had a steady stream of customers throughout the day.

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