This is from an email I received today from the Oakley Chamber of Commerce regarding the Almond Festival:
Many people have been asking recently about the Oakley Almond Festival. Because the Chamber of Commerce was one of the main sponsors we would like to update the residents of Oakley on the status. Sadly, we will not be holding the Almond Festival this year.
The Almond Fest in its familiar form came to an end because it was no longer possible to get the carnival, and the rides were the biggest attraction. The carnival pulled out of the 2011 Almond Fest at the last minute, leaving the Chamber in an awkward financial position and the citizens with a disappointing event.
There’s also been some debate as to whether “Almond Fest” represents who we are as a city and a chamber. Older residents feel nostalgia for the almonds; newer residents may never have seen an almond tree in Oakley. The primary crop grown in Oakley for the past several decades has been grapes; hence the new “Water and Wine” theme the City is pursuing. Yet, with only one small winery actually located in Oakley, we’re not ready for a full-scale wine festival.
The City of Oakley will be holding its new Heart of Oakley Festival downtown on Main Street on September 14th, 2013–approximately the time of year at which the Almond Fest normally took place. The Chamber of Commerce is one of the sponsors of the Heart of Oakley Festival and will be providing the Beer and Wine Garden, offering wines made from Oakley grapes.
This should not be taken to mean that the Heart of Oakley Festival is a replacement for the Almond Festival. Heart of Oakley is essentially a City event. Admission is free and revenue from booth rentals goes to the City.
We’d love to hear your suggestions for an event to replace the Almond Fest—one that would attract locals, out-of-town visitors, and vendors. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.