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The sixth annual South Lake Tahoe Food and Wine Festival arrives Oct. 16-18 at Harrah's and Harveys Lake Tahoe. Join in for an autumn weekend of great food, fine wine and high spirits.

Award-winning Chef Mark Tarbell is the featured celebrity chef this year, hosting several key events. Tarbell studied in Paris, receiving wine training at the l'Acadamie du Vin and earning a Grande Diplome d'Etude Culinaire from La Verenne Ecole du Cuisine. Nominated for "Best Chef - Southwest" by the James Beard Foundation, he has been invited to cook at many special events around the country.

Tarbell and his restaurants have earned more than 50 awards through the years, he has written the weekly wine column for the Arizona Republic since 2004, and has been published in numerous magazines such as “Wine Spirits” and “Food Arts.” Tarbell has appeared on “Good Morning America,” the “Today Show” and several Food Network programs including the battle in the Iron Chef America Kitchen Stadium.

Activities begin the evening of Oct. 16 with a sake tasting at Sushi Kai restaurant at Harrah’s from 10 to 11 p.m.  Enjoy tasting a variety of sake and discuss the basic components – such as traditional versus non-traditional – and the growing popularity of sake in the U.S. A kick-off party takes place at PEEK Nightclub starting at 10:30 p.m.

The festival kicks into high gear on Oct. 17 with the Grand Market Expo at Harveys Convention Center. Stroll through the market and enjoy interactive entertainment and the tastes of Harrah's restaurants, local favorites, spirits, craft brews and wine. Tarbell will be on hand for demonstrations. The Grand Market Expo runs from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Additional events on Saturday evening include: “Wine 101” from 4 to 5 p.m. at the 16th floor President’s Lounge at Harrah’s and “Whiskeys of the World” from 10 to 11 p.m. at Harrah’s Cliché Lounge.

Tarbell host the President’s Dinner with Mark Tarbell at Harveys 19 Kitchen & Bar.  The President’s Dinner is a four-course dinner prepared by Tarbell, who will discuss each course and of his best kept culinary secrets and techniques.  Tickets are limited for this event.

The Gin Blossoms will be on stage from 7:30 to 9:15 p.m. in Harrah’s South Shore Room on Saturday night, performing over two decades worth of alternative rock ‘n’ roll hits.

On Sunday, a farewell Champagne brunch takes place at the Forest Buffet from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Try made-to-order omelets, traditional breakfast delights, specialty salads, fresh fruits and a dessert bar.

For more information, event prices and to purchase tickets to this year’s South Lake Tahoe Food and Wine Festival events, visit www.ltfoodandwine.com.  Patrons must be at least 21 to attend.  Tickets are available through www.ticketmaster.com (search under “Harrah’s Lake Tahoe”) and at Harrah’s and Harveys Box Offices.

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