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The Lodi Grape Festival: The Fun Behind It All

The Grape Festival is a yearly celebration to highlight the agricultural industry and the goods of Lodi, California . It also satisfies the county’s objective of raising public awareness of the value of agriculture. Another reason for celebrating the event is to recognize the effort and finish in joy of the grape harvest as the grape season has just recently ended around the time of the festival. This is important since grapes are the primary ingredient in wine. The event bolsters the reputation of Lodi’s wineries and attracts customers. This tradition began in a time when immigrants had to work hard to move forward and by doing so, they were able to display the beauty of nature inside the vineyards making it even more significant to celebrate.

The people who are now employed in vineyards are also included in the festival, it is not simply just about the farmers, immigrants, and the county roots. It demonstrates how strong a community is and how collaboration unites individuals and may produce wonderful results. The first Lodi grape festival took place in 1907. It all started off as a large carnival downtown  which, over time,  expanded all across town and eventually drifted to the fairgrounds where it has been ever since as a Lodi tradition. Andrew Edwards, one of my close friends who resides in Lodi has been to the grape festival and claims to have had amazing experiences each time. This is what happened when I had the chance to ask him about his experiences and other questions I had regarding the festival: 


Giselle: How was your experience with the grape festival?

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Andrew: I had a really busy day during the grape festival. I went on a Saturday in the late afternoon. I had to walk there and when I did it was really packed and chaotic. Parking spots were few and long lineups were forming. When I was waiting in line it felt like there was a sea of people rushing back and forth. The event itself was quite busy as this lasted throughout the remainder of the day. There were so many people waiting in line for rides and food. I was only able to go on two rides. For the second ride, my friend kindly saved me a space in line. This allowed me to skip the line. It made me happy since I had to wait an entire hour for the first ride I went on. The festival in my opinion was enjoyable although because of the number of people present it was challenging to carry out any activities.

Giselle: Were there any bands you liked that played? What was your favorite song? Why?

Andrew: “Plain White T’s and Valley Roots were two of the bands I enjoyed. Both “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s and the cover of “Valerie” by Valley Roots were among my favorite songs played live. “Hey There Delilah” is a song that I really love listening to since I know someone who does an excellent job of covering it. Specifically from the band, Grateful Dead, Valley Roots does several excellent covers. Hearing these bands perform, especially my dad’s band Valley Roots, made me very pleased. I am aware of his intense devotion to music. I now possess the same enthusiasm that he does. We come together through music and this connection we both have we use it to bond as father and son.” (@valleyroots on social media!)

Giselle: Out of all festivals you have attended what made the grape festival different?

Andrew: “The difference is that I simply go more to music festivals therefore music is always the major focus at all of them. The primary attraction during the grape festival are the rides and food. The majority of music festivals are sit-down events on fields where performers play on the main stage such as the annual strawberry music festival. The grape festival takes place every year as well however it has smaller stages with local performers. Children, adults, and teenagers are all present at both the grape and music festivals although there were a few more teenagers during the grape festival.”

Giselle: How was the food and rides? Was there food that wasn’t quite ordinary? Do you think the rides were safe to go on?

Andrew: “The food that was given during the grape festival was typical of what is often offered at occasions like these. I spent $10 on a burger at the festival and it was terrible. Of course everyone has different taste preferences but it was just what I thought. The rides I believe were mostly secure to ride. There were a lot of long lines. I had to wait an hour for the viper ride which picked me up and spun me around. Although it was fun, the wait was not worth it. I rode the hot-wheels ride as well and it did the same thing, except the spins were quicker. There were no foods that were unusual but I understand what you mean because I recall you telling me about the asparagus festival and how they sold asparagus ice cream which is very shocking. However since grapes are a key element of many different foods I don’t believe there could have been an odd food combination. Overall, the festival contained regular festival food including Mexican cuisine, American eats, etc. The rides were pretty standard and simple.”

Giselle: What is a good memory you made that day? How has this changed the way you view festivals?

Andrew: “The hot wheel ride with my friend when we were crashing into each other as we spun is one of my favorite memories I have from that day. Because we were battling to see whose cart could spin it faster than ours or another friend’s. Because of a story like the one I just shared, I came to the realization that festivals are far more enjoyable when you are among family and friends. The whole point of festivals in my opinion is to have fun and relive the same events with different experiences.”

Overall, I find the history of the grape festival to be very interesting. I like how the Lodi community comes together each year to celebrate the grape season. It is still pleasing to hear that people get the chance to spend time with family and friends even if it is not to learn about or educate themselves on the county’s historical beginnings or the education of its agriculture and agricultural goods. The event allows the development of new memories and strengthens one’s enjoyment of the good years of the grape harvest. 

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