Organizers are hoping that the beauty of the Capay Valley and the chance to get out of the house and get a taste of some regional cuisine will bring local residents out to the 2009 Almond Festival.
The festival will be held this Sunday along Highway 16 in the Capay Valley, about 30 miles northwest of Davis. The towns of Rumsey, Guinda, Brooks, Capay and Esparto will participate and host various stops along the highway.
California is the only place in North America that grows almonds commercially, according to event organizers. More than 6,000 growers devote an estimated 530,000 acres in the Central Valley to this $2 billion industry.
Festival planners expect an attendance of nearly 20,000 people at the event. The festival is normally held in February, but it was moved to March this year in the hopes of better weather.
“This is the first time in eight years that it is supposed to be a really nice day,” said Elizabeth Campbell, event organizer. “So I think that will make a big difference in attendance.”
Though the festival is put on by the Esparto Chamber of Commerce, it is a five–town event and definitely maintains a community feel, she said. It is an opportunity for local companies to come promote their products and mingle with other members of the Capay Valley community.
People like Pam Welch, co-owner of Capay Valley Vineyards, expect several interested visitors.
“We will be open [the day of the festival] from noon to 5 p.m. and we will be offering tours and tastings,” Welch said. “We are offering some special pricing on our wine and of course the tasting is usually complimentary.”
Capay Valley Vineyards also displays the artwork of local artists, enhancing community cooperation, she said.
“It’s just a nice festival atmosphere,” Welch added.
Capay Valley Vineyards has participated in the festival for the last five years and receives a lot of business at their stop in the middle of the valley.
Durst Organic Growers, another sponsor of the festival, is excited to present some of their produce to the community, said owner Deborah Durst.
“We are a sponsor [of the event] and we will also have an interactive booth at the festival,” Durst said.
Durst Organic Growers is an organic farming company that specializes in produce such as asparagus, tomatoes and melons, she said.
“We will be selling our asparagus [at the festival],” she added.
Durst Organic Growers has been involved in the Almond Festival since they began growing in Capay Valley, Durst said. Durst’s husband Jim was born and raised in the area.
The Dursts enjoy the community atmosphere of the Almond Festival and interacting with their business neighbors, Durst said.
“Capay Valley is very intertwined and community minded,” she said. “It is like one big farming family.”
For directions to and more information on the Almond Festival 2009 visit espartoregionalchamber.com/AlmondFestival.aspx.
CAITLIN COBB can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.