Hundreds of people turned out for the 73rd annual Olive Festival in Corning on Saturday, Oct. 10, the vast majority wearing facial coverings and tapping into the many bottles of hand sanitizer located throughout the Corning Community Park where the event took place. Hosted by the Corning Chamber of Commerce, the festival was okayed by the Tehama County Public Health Agency with COVID-19 rules and regulations in place.
“I think the event went really well,” said Chamber Manager Christina Hale. “A lot of vendors and people from the community were excited to get out and enjoy an outdoor festival after so many other events have been cancelled. A lot of people commented on how nice it was to have a normal event that offered the opportunity to meet and visit with people they haven't seen in a while due to COVID-19.”
Hale added throughout the entire day everywhere she looked people were smiling and seemed to be enjoying themselves.
The festival was home to at least 65 food, craft, organization and Farmer's Market booths.
Festival features, along with the booths, was a chamber-hosted raffle drawing, Corning Rotary Club Olive Drop, and skateboarders and bicyclist enjoying the skateboard park.
“The crowds were large and constant,” Hale said. “The vendors seemed to be pleased with the turnout and the weather couldn't have been better.”
This year it was Rotary Club member Vanessa Haro who braved the climb up the Corning Volunteer Fire Department's extended ladder on one of its engines to drop the dozens of wooden green olives to the bull's eye below.
“It was a bit scarier than I thought it would be climbing to the top of that ladder,” Haro said.
Down below taking measurements of which olives were closest to the bull's eye was Rotary Club members Tony Cardenas, Darryll Stewart and Dan McFall.
McFall reported this year's Olive Drop fundraiser's first place winner of $500 was Tina Duke, who also won second place and another $250, with Mason Koehler's olive coming in third place earning him $100.
At her Paparazzi jewelry booth, Connie Olsen said the day was fantastic.
“The crowds have been really steady all day and I have made a lot of sales,” she added. “And to top that off the weather could be any better.”
The City of Corning Recreation Department was on hand to promote its Help Design a New Park community meetings in preparation for the city to submit an application for an $8.5 million state park grant.
Kevin White of Gold Roots Farm on Corona Avenue in Corning said he was very pleased to be able to have a Farmers' Market booth at he festival.
“With so many events not taking place this year due to COVID-19, this has been great and the exposure to our farm and what we have to offer is really appreciated,” he added.
The Olive Festival had to be whittled down from its usual format, which normally includes a car show, parade, missing olive search, children's activities, food truck night, fire hall breakfast, olive tour and more, as the community continues to deal with the outfall of the corona virus pandemic.
“Keeping the community safe was a priority,” Hale said. “The Olive Festival committee worked hard to have everything in place to meet all of the criteria necessary to make the festival fun and safe at the same time.”