It's Harvest time; why not a festival to celebrate?
44th annual Harvest Festival opens today at Fairgrounds
It's Harvest time around the country with grapes coming off the vines here in the Tri-Valley and crops being harvested in the Central Valley to the east.
So why not a festival to celebrate?
The Harvest Festival Original Arts & Crafts Show plans to do just that when it opens its doors at the Alameda County Fairgrounds at 10 a.m. this morning. The three-day, 40th anniversary festival tour will last through 5 p.m. Sunday
The show features over 24,000 handmade arts and crafts, including jewelry, woodturnings, art and photography, specialty foods, clothing, décor and much more. In addition to the handcrafted wares, this year's show also offers special entertainment and live music, artist demonstrations, foods and prize drawings.
"Forty years ago, we never imagined how much this event would grow," said Nancy Glenn, the Harvest Festival show manager.
"We started as a small community marketplace in San Francisco where artists could congregate to create and sell their products," she said. "Now, we hold eight shows in California, one show in Arizona and one show in Nevada. We're so proud to have such a wonderful group of talented craftspeople and loyal attendees year after year."
For the fourth year, the Harvest Festival will support the Alameda County Community Food Bank by offering $2 off admission to anyone who brings a monetary donation or non-perishable food items to the show. The Food Bank serves one of every six residents living in the county, Glenn said.
The Food Bank is looking for volunteers to help in this year's distribution efforts. Anyone interested can call Kathryn Weber at (510) 635-3663, Ext. 28, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event is also partnering with the Oakley Raiders Youth Football and Cheer league as the official show charity and will offer the youth sports organization half of the proceeds from every shopping bag sold. The Oakley Raiders also will host the interactive KidZone, dressed as goblins in the "Make It and Take It" area where they will create individual bags of Halloween candy. Children can participate in hands-on arts and crafts in the zone by making personalized labels to staple to their crafts.
A free child identification program at the show will be offered by New York Life Insurance. Company representatives will issue IDs for children and also will teach them to them how to stay safe in their own home, at school and while out playing with friends.
In fact, show-goers will be able to find something for all age groups. The Cash Tribute Band featuring James Garner will headline this year's all-day outdoor stage entertainment with musical hits of the legendary "Man in Black" -- Johnny Cash. Also appearing on the main stage will be comedian and entertainer John Park with his "Funny Waiter Show."
And, after spending the day at the festival, food trucks will be available at the Fairgrounds, offering both gourmet food and music.
Drawings for prizes will take place at 1:15 p.m. all three days on the show's center stage with top prizes including an Amazon Kindle Fire.
All artisans featured at the Harvest Festivals are vetted by the Harvest Festival management team to ensure products are all handmade and made in the U.S. The juried process also ensures a rich mix and diversity of merchandise.
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors who are at least 62 years old, $4 for teens between 13 and 17, and no charge for those 12 and under. Tickets are valid for re-entry all three days.
For those who can't make this show, the Harvest Festival organization has eight more coming between now and Christmas, including in Anaheim, Del Mar, Pomona, Sacramento, San Mateo, San Jose and Ventura, as well as in Las Vegas and Phoenix.
For more information, call 800-346-1212 or visit www.harvestfestival.com.