Other festivals are ailing too


Scales once used at the Asparagus Festival's fresh asparagus booth sit in storage.

Riverbank’s Riverbank Cheese & Wine Exposition has dwindled from 100,000 attendees to 10,000, this MoBee story says. Modesto’s annual Family Cycling Festival is flying 11 feet above the ground. The Oakdale Chocolate Festival is doing fine, which is funny, because the Hershey’s chocolate factory moved to Mexico years ago, leaving the town in the lurch.

The main reason for the Asparagus Festival’s demise was money — not just the recession, but the city’s  fiscal incompetence, which the recession exposed. Stocktonians did not like the move downtown, either. Former Stockton deejay Bill Slayter said he much preferred Oak Grove Regional Park on a local history Facebook page; he immedately go over 200 dittos (though a return to the park is a no-go, I’m told, becasue the expanded Eight Mile Road can no longer be closed from the park to Thornton Road as in the old days).

But these festivals also have to be a vehicle for perennial community creativity. The community, and not just the director, has to bring in fresh ideas. 

Anyway, that photograph reminds me of Salvador Dali’s melting clocks.

Here’s today’s column on the festival’s liquidation.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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