Turlock

Go nuts; new family festival celebrates the Central Valley’s almond harvest

Emin Dhaliwal show sisters Maleah, 7, and Bella Raymond, 10, the Bullet II tree shaker during the Central Valley Almond Festival in Turlock, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019.
Emin Dhaliwal show sisters Maleah, 7, and Bella Raymond, 10, the Bullet II tree shaker during the Central Valley Almond Festival in Turlock, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. aalfaro@modbee.com

A new festival seeks to celebrate one the Central Valley’s signature crops this weekend.

The fledgling Almond Festival kicked off Saturday at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, and will continue Sunday. The free family event is organized by the same people behind the popular Ranch of Horror haunted attraction held nearby at the fairgrounds this month.

The festival features vendors, food booths and agricultural equipment displays. Molly Amant, one of the organizers, said they wanted to honor the region’s almond harvest, much like the long-running Ripon Almond Blossom Festival, held at the start of the crop’s growing season.

“We were sitting around a table one day and talking about all the almonds in the area and said, ‘Why not have an almond festival?’ ” she said. “There’s the Almond Blossom Festival, which is them blooming. But we wanted to celebrate the harvest and what products are made from almonds.”

The first-time festival featured about 35 booths selling a variety of products, including some nut-based items. The modest festivities also included a pageant, live music and talent show. Amant said she hopes to turn it into an annual event.

Sunday’s schedule includes a car show and comedy performances. The Almond Festival continues noon to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Turlock fairgrounds. Admission is free; all-day parking is $5.

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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