Brian Franzese, president of Bella Vino Wine, pours wine for a participant during the 2019 Belleair Bluffs Wine Walk. After taking the year off because of the pandemic, the annual event returns Oct. 23 and organizers say they are expecting plenty of patrons to attend.

BELLEAIR BLUFFS — Since its inception in 2017, the Bluffs Business Association’s annual Bluffs Wine Walk has grown from a potential revenue generator for local businesses into a certified countywide phenomenon, drawing upwards of 800 guests to the Belleair area each fall in the pre-COVID-19 era.

After taking a year off due to the pandemic, the Bluffs Wine Walk is scheduled to return Saturday, Oct. 23, from 3 to 7 p.m. With more than 50 participating businesses and a Jolley Trolley to shuttle people from stop to stop, BBA officials are expecting a huge turnout this year following the 2020 hiatus.

“We’ve sold $3,000 worth of tickets already, which is amazing, and we’re estimating we’ll sell 1,000 tickets total,” BBA president Bonnie Trembulak said by phone Oct. 1, noting tickets cost $20 in advance and $30 the day of the event. “People seem to be committing earlier, which is nice for us because it’s easier to know what size crowd to prepare for.”

Trembulak, who took over as president of the BBA in 2013, said she felt the Belleair area was ideal for a Wine Walk event after visiting the immensely successful one hosted by the Tarpon Springs Merchants Association in 2016.

“Since the beginning, once I saw what Tarpon Springs was doing, I said Belleair Bluffs is perfect for this,” she said. “We brought it before the board and they immediately approved it. We held the first one in the fall of 2017, and it’s been a huge success ever since.”

Indeed, Trembulak said they are confident the 2021 Bluffs Wine Walk will attract record numbers due to a combination of the setting, the season, and the desire for people to congregate outside again.

“I think the setting, No. 1, is really cool,” she said. The route along Indian Rocks Road is dotted with decorated storefronts filled with welcoming employees, owners, and staff.

Trembulak noted that the Jolley Trolley shuttle is important “because we have a lot of older participants who can’t walk as far. And then you have the eagerness to get out and do something outdoors. Because let’s face it, everyone has enjoyed alcohol more during the pandemic.”