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Community discusses return of Hughson Chamber of Commerce, Fruit and Nut Festival

POSTED February 18, 2011 8:31 p.m.

In 2008 the Hughson Chamber of Commerce held their last Fruit and Nut Festival, and shortly after they shut their doors. The chamber has been completely inactive since that time.

“We made the decision that there wasn’t enough money to keep the doors open and pay employees,” said Bob Newman, president of the Hughson Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber still has about $2,000 in checking, and Newman said that they could not completely disband until the money was spent. The chamber has existed in name only for about three years, but now a small group of Hughson residents is trying to bring it back.

At a community meeting on Wednesday, former chamber members, local business owners, and other concerned Hughson community members discussed the possibility of reforming the Hughson Chamber of Commerce and bringing back the Fruit and Nut festival.

“It’s really great for the community and I hope they bring it back,” said Hughson resident Tanya Nichols.

The main focus of Wednesday’s meeting, led by Hughson City Council member Jeramy Young, was to brainstorm ideas for a new festival similar to the Fruit and Nut festival. They have not yet decided on a name for the new event. Newman said the traditional Hughson Fruit and Nut festival was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, and it was canceled when the chamber went inactive. “The chamber was funded by the Fruit and Nut festival, so they spent a lot of time and effort on just the festival,” Newman said.Attendees of Wednesday’s meeting expressed interest in a festival that celebrated Hughson, but shied away from the bigger commercial ventures that did not have local ties. “I think Fruit and Nut got away from what it was for,” said Shelby Harkrader, owner of Main Street Deli and Bakery. The vision for the new Hughson festival is one of local growers, vendors and restaurants showing off what makes Hughson great. They also hope to have local bands and entertainment, and possibly beer or wine sales.  The new event is still in the planning stages, and Young said he hopes to get a lot more people at the next meeting. “If anyone is not here that should be I apologize. Anyone who was involved in the chamber before or who wants to come is welcome at the next meeting,” Young said. The next community meeting to discuss the Chamber of Commerce and Fruit and Nut Festival will be held at 7 p.m. on March 1, at Hughson City Hall in the City Council chambers. To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail agoodwin@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.
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