HUGHSON — The City of Hughson has taken a few hard hits in the past, but the Valley town is not down for the count. In fact, over the past two years the city has staged a comeback.
The city has gained control over its budget; the Hughson Chamber of Commerce was reinstated, after disbanding in 2008; and the city has partnered with Stanislaus Alliance to bring a business incubator to town.
The return of the Hughson Fruit and Nut Festival — which is now called the Hughson Harvest Festival — has brought the residents of Hughson back together.
An important part of the city’s revival is attracting new businesses. The City Council approved the creation of Hughson’s first Economic Development Committee. The committee, along with the city manager and Stanislaus Alliance, vet new businesses for the incubator, housed in the areas of City Hall that were vacated because of recent budget cuts.
“We’re trying to think outside of the box and reuse facilities that are underutilized right now,” City Manager Bryan Whitemyer said in 2011.
Several residents and community leaders have also been working towards bringing back the Hughson Chamber of Commerce. The organization disbanded after the 2008 Fruit and Nut Festival, of which it was the sponsor.
The return of a festival to Hughson is another recent happening that looks to unite the town. Marie Assali is just one community leader who has been in on the planning of the Hughson Harvest Festival.
“The purpose of having the Hughson Harvest Festival is to promote the community. We have a lot of new businesses downtown and it gives them an opportunity to promote their business,” said Assali in 2011. “It’s also a time to get together, a place for families to go downtown and to see people.”
The 2012 festival — held last weekend — was a huge success. Next year’s event has already been planned for Sept. 21-22, 2013.
“Hughson is a wonderful community and (the festival) helps us to showcase that great community,” Whitemyer said.
— KRISTINA HACKER 209 reporter