There’s no better way to come out of hibernation from the bitter cold and sharp winter wind than to celebrate with an outdoor festival amongst the brightest, greenest valleys in California’s springtime. The Central Valley plays hosts to various street faires that are sure to appeal to anyone’s interest; especially those partial to food in a family-friendly environment.
The 8th annual Taste of Turlock Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 20 in the streets of downtown Turlock. The event is free, but in order to taste samples, a ticket system be implemented. Each ticket will cost $1, and will only be sold the day of the event.
Turlockers should expect a greater range of visitors occupying their streets this year after local star Colin Kaepernick put Turlock, and its local eateries, on the map during the San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl appearance. Turlock is also well known for its rich agriculture and smart produce, which has garnered additional attention.
There have also been some changes to this year’s FEASTival, according to Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association representative Dana McGarry.
“I think it is important to mention that we have shortened the length of the festival to only three blocks this year,” said McGarry. “Last time, it was six blocks down Main Street, and it was just way too long. Shortening it makes it more pleasurable and compact. It is easier on fairgoers’ feet, and being a little more compressed offers you a chance to see more at once.”
McGarry said there will be also be “more restaurants, more vendors, more entertainment, and fun for the kids.”
“This is a family event suitable for all ages. We have a kids’ zone in Central Park and will have a small selection of live entertainment. There will be a petting zoo, art activities, and a nutrition activity. After all, this is a food event,” said McGarry. “But people can expect that there will even be a surprise or two.”
Turlock is not the only Stanislaus County town ready to open its streets to visitors this spring and summer. There are a plethora of faires and festivals celebrating culture, food and cars.
25th Annual Ceres Street Faire
Rain or shine, the Ceres Street Faire will provide its annual Car and Truck Show from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. May 4-5 at 4thand Whitmore streets in Ceres. The show is open to all vehicles regardless of year, make or model. Car show participants also receive a free T-shirt and dash plaque. The street faire also features local vendors, family and children’s entertainment, food and drink booths, live exhibitions and entertainment.
21st Oakdale Chocolate Festival
Get ready for a sugar rush. The Oakdale Chocolate Festival is going country as it celebrates a “Cowboys ‘n Chocolate” theme from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 18-19. The festival is located at the junction of Highway 120 and 108 at Wood Park. Two hundred vendors will be present, including unique arts and crafts, a variety of fried foods, and special merchandises. There will also be a classic car show, a “fun run” for 5K or 1-mile runners, and a Chocolate Challenge stage with activities for kids and community performances by Zumba, karate, and dance Studios. Western performers, local and cover bands will also be present on the Main Stage. Children 12 and under are free.
Patterson Apricot Fiesta
The City of Patterson will host its annual Apricot Fiesta to promote local consumer growth and industry with apricot flavored ice-cream, pop corn, and other unique snacks May 31 to June 2. A parade will stroll through the streets of Patterson at 9 a.m. on May 31, featuring classic cars, local businesses, and horse drawn spectacles. There will also be live entertainment, eateries, a dunk tank, rock wall, and giant slide for the children. There will also be a local pageantry for scholarship funds, art, various vendors, and beer booths for the older crowd.
Modesto Highland Games
Modesto will host a Highland Games spectacle at the Tuolumne River Regional Park off 1200 Tiago Drive at 9 a.m. June 1. The event will feature championship athletic events such as the caber toss and Scottish hammer. There will be professional bag pipe bands and Celtic musical entertainments. Children will get a chance to play athletic games, and intermingle with Renaissance re-enactors. Visitors can enjoy the mutton, take a jig with Highland and country dancers, and experience Celtic culture and merchandise. Children 12 and under are free.
Car Show and Festival
The North Modesto Kiwanis will once again feature the classic car parade known as American Graffiti, while welcoming this year’s Grand Marshal George Lucas, June 8-9. The event will be held at Modesto Junior College’s West Campus, 2201 Blue Gum Ave. The parade starts at 7 p.m. June 8. Check out the classic cars, stroll through hundreds food craft and specialty booths. There will be live music throughout the festival each day. All proceeds go to local charities.
— BROOKE BORBA
209 staff reporter