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Davis, California

Friday, May 17, 2024

Northern California festival celebrates all things almond

Colorful almond blossoms have been in bloom for the past two weeks, which means it’s time for the 95th Capay Valley Almond Festival.

On Sunday, Esparto, Capay, Brooks, Guinda, Madison and Rumsey will all collaborate for a celebration spanning 22 miles throughout the region.

“Because this is an agricultural community, there are a lot of almond ranchers here,” said Monique Garcia, Esparto Regional Chamber of Commerce interim executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. “They are going to come together for this celebration.”

The festival is a culinary tour of the area down Highway 16. Visitors stop by numerous locations to sample wine and food, including barbequed ribs, steak, tri-tip sandwiches, barbequed oysters, local organic produce and baked goods.

The festival features 17 different flavors of almonds, including candy-coated almonds, raw almonds in different varieties and the valley’s famous Almond Roca. Wine tasting and tours at Capay Valley Vineyards is also a favorite during this time of the year.

Those looking for a scenic view of the valley’s almond blossoms can take a tour with an Almond Blossom Trail Map, provided by the Esparto Regional Chamber.

Other activities include a classic car show, a petting zoo in Guinda, free activities in the park for children, vendor booths filled with locally crafts and fresh valley-grown produce, according to a press release. There will be live rock, R&B, blues, country or jazz music at five locations.

A pancake breakfast at Esparto High School begins at 7 a.m. Later in the day, the newly crowned Almond Queen Hannah Muller will be the focus of a parade.

The celebration is a longstanding Northern California tradition that began in 1915 stemming from farmers who used to farm six days a week and take one day of rest. The festival is a celebration of actual blossom forming, while the actual almond harvest is in the fall.

The chamber is hosting the event while Cache Creek Casino Resort and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation are among the sponsors.

Ten thousand people are expected to attend. The Yolo County Law Enforcements will deploy officers to enforce drunk driving crimes, patrolling through Capay Valley.

“It is the hopes of the ‘Avoid 8’ that everyone enjoys the festival, but that they know ‘When to Say When’ and to plan for a designated driver prior to consuming alcoholic beverages,” said Davis Police Department Sergeant Rod Rifredi in a press release.

California is the only location in North America that grows almonds commercially, according to the California Almond Board. California almonds are shipped to over 90 markets around the world.

Over 6,000 growers maintain approximately 530,000 acres in the Central Valley devoted to almonds. A stretch of land with the state’s largest tree nut crop extends from below Bakersfield to Red Bluff in the north.

Coupons for the festival are available on espartonews.com.

POOJA KUMAR can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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