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'Everything's waiting for you, Downtown'
Events on hold until farmers' market settled
Banners supporting the Salvation Army Kettle Dash and Stanislaus State can be seen flying on poles throughout the downtown core. Banner space is up for rental to any local business or organization, according to Turlock Downtown Property Owners' Association Executive Director Gina Loretelli. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

There's no question that Turlock's downtown is in the midst of a renaissance. Downtown businesses are flourishing.  Restaurants are full (to bursting on weekends). Boutiques are drawing customers from throughout the area and the Carnegie Arts Center and the Art Space on Main have given the downtown area a more cultural atmosphere.

The Turlock Downtown Property Owners' Association has encouraged community involvement in the downtown with events like the Festival of Lights in December, Junior Iron Chef competition in September and Bacon Week last May, which saw downtown restaurants feature bacon-inspired dishes while raising money for local charities.

 The TDPOA is looking to build on that momentum with new downtown promotions. Some new events that might soon be coming to downtown include paint and sip nights, a summer entertainment series  with a different theme each week, a back to school fashion show and an outdoor music fest, said TDPOA Executive Director Gina Loretelli.

If the TDPOA is able to host the outdoor music festival, which Loretelli said would have a "Downtown Decades" theme featuring music progression from the 1950s to current hits, it would be a welcome return for many residents of a live concert in the streets of Turlock.

Another popular activity that could be coming to a downtown parking lot in the near future is a trivia night.

While Loretelli said she is excited about the possibilities for future events, planning is in limbo at present.

"Because of the uncertainty with the farmers' market, a lot of things are being put on hold. It's hard to plan anything right now on the weekends because we don't know what's going to happen with that," she said.

Many of the events the TDPOA would like to sponsor in conjunction with the downtown farmers' market, like the entertainment series and the fashion show, said Loretelli.

The TDPOA is also currently looking for local businesses and organizations to sponsor downtown events and promotions. These sponsors would receive logo recognition at every event hosted by the downtown association.

Another way local organizations can be involved in the downtown is through pole rentals. Banners supporting the Salvation Army Kettle Dash and Stanislaus State can be seen flying on poles throughout the downtown core, and Loretelli said the space is up for rental to any organization. It costs $30 per pole for a three-week time period and banners can be either 2 feet by 4.5 feet for the street side or 2 feet by 6 feet with a 2-foot cut in for the sidewalk side.

More information about pole rentals can be found by calling the TDPOA at 634-6459 or emailing

The TDPOA will also be having a contest asking local graphic artists to create the design for their spring/summer banners. More details on the banner contest will be released soon, said Loretelli.

All of the new programs and events coming to downtown are ways the TDPOA can fulfill its mission, said Loretelli, "to have an attractive downtown that attracts people."