The Fruit and Nut Festival has been a Hughson tradition for years until the event was discontinued last year when funds were sparse. Newly elected Hughson Council member Jeramy Young is looking to bring it back with the help of community members and organizations.
“There is a lot of interest and a lot of people are willing to put in the work to get it off the ground,” Young said. “People want to celebrate what the community has to offer.”
About 25 community members met on Thursday night to discuss what they liked about past festivals, what they didn’t like and what they would like to see for a future festival.
The overall discussion led to an agreeable time of the new festival to occur in September 2011 to avoid running the same dates as other festivals — in the past the Hughson Fruit and Nut festival ran the same time as the Oakdale Chocolate festival in May.
Community members also expressed interest in incorporating the festival with Hughson High School’s homecoming, including a parade and other aspects of the small town.
“It will be a little different, but it is more of what the community is asking for right now,” Young said.
And what they are asking for is a small, unique and local festival.
“We want to keep it local and we want to keep it unique,” Young said.
Some complaints from previous events were the carnival aspect that left trash around the town and tore up the school grass and the charge for the event itself.
“Everyone wants to keep it a free event,” he said. “Now it is more important than ever with the economy.”
Incorporating local businesses was also a suggestion for the new festival as well.
“We want to do things to help the local businesses,” Young said. “We want to try to include all the businesses in Hughson.”
Community members are hoping to have local businesses set up booths during the festival so residents can try their products and get to know what options are available in Hughson, while bringing local funds to local businesses.
Some options that community members really pushed on Thursday were an alumni-type dance like the one that was held at the Centennial celebration and the idea of local bands playing a variety of music during the festival.
A small farmers market with local produce and a type of competition such as a barbecue contest or chili cook off were also mentioned.
The plan is to start the festival out as a one-day event on the weekend and gradually grow it over the years, Young said.
Many were worried about financing the festival, but Young said, “There will be some challenges and it will be hard work, but as long as we know we want to do it, we can figure out the rest.”
So far, they plan on using money from the Chamber of Commerce along with soliciting funds from sponsors and other fundraising campaigns.
“We are not planning on doing things that will cost a lot of money,” he said.
Community members and Young are still looking for a name for the festival, ideas or suggestions for the festival and volunteers who would be interested in being part of the process. Those interested can contact Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next community meeting is expected to be in January.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail email@example.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.