This year's Almond Festival Oakley's annual ode to all things nutty is gearing up for its 19th season, and the community is invited to come out and celebrate as the festival's tasty mascot Ben Toasted marks his final year as a teen.
Held Sept. 12 through 14 at O'Hara Park and sponsored by the Oakley Chamber of Commerce, this year's Almond Festival is shaping up to be one of the biggest in its history.
I think because of the current state of the economy, people are staying closer to home this year, and that is certainly going to be a good thing for the Almond Festival, said Chamber President Steve Nosanchuk. We will have a lot of great things going on this year, and we hope the public will come out, bring the family and just enjoy themselves.
From perennial favorites such as the parade, cooking contest and diaper derby to the classic car show, sign-ups for the festival's events are currently underway and applications may be picked up at the Oakley Chamber of Commerce, 3721 Main St., or downloaded on the chamber's Web site, www.oakleychamber.com.
We are really encouraging the community to come out and participate, said Nosanchuk. This is a community event and participation is important. This year we are really placing the emphasis on community.
In a poignant show of community support, all admission proceeds from the first night of the event (carnival night) will go toward the Nunn/Wilson Children's Trust Fund. Oakley residents Eric and Tanya Nunn and Craig and Michele Wilson were killed in a private plane crash in June. Admission that evening will be $1 per person, and music will be provided by the Crosstown Band.
Other musical entertainment at this year's festival includes tributes to Journey and the Beatles by cover bands Evolution and The Sun Kings, respectively.
Also available this year are discount carnival tickets. If purchased in advance, festival-goers can pick up a $30 book of ride tickets for only $15. The tickets are currently on sale and available for pick-up at the Brentwood Press; Oakley Press; Oakley Chamber of Commerce; Oakley Chiropractic; and other Oakley businesses, including Spagans; Hardcastle RV; Hook, Line and Sinker; Les Schwab; and Coldwell Banker.
Nosanchuk says that the early sign-ups of vendors and community volunteers bodes well for this season's turnout. Either way, he says, the weekend party offers a nice opportunity for residents to come out, support the community and have a little fun.
I really believe that this year we have something for everyone, he said. There are craft booths, good food, a carnival for the kids and the car show for dads. I'm very excited, very jazzed about it. Everyone loves a parade and everyone loves a festival. How can you go wrong?
The Almond Festival Parade will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 and will begin at Empire Avenue, move down to Cypress and end at O'Hara Park. Hours for this year's festival will be Friday the 12th (carnival only) from 5 to 10 p.m. The whole festival, including the carnival, will be open on Saturday the 13th from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday the 14th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
General admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and children 5 to 12. Admission is free for children under 5. Family Fun Packs, which include two adult and two children tickets, will be available for $12. All admission tickets must be purchased the day of the event at the gates.
For more information, call the Oakley Chamber of Commerce at 925-625-1035.