The area’s most plentiful — and profitable — nut will be honored during an upcoming festival in Turlock, which aims to educate the community and celebrate the value of the almond.
The first-ever Almond Festival is making its way to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds from noon to 8 p.m. Oct. 5 and 6 and the weekend will highlight the No. 1 agricultural commodity in the region.
Almonds were a $1.1 billion industry in Stanislaus County in 2018, representing 30 percent of the county’s agricultural profit. Organizer Molly Amant said the crop’s popularity in the area inspired the creation of the inaugural festival, which will be the first of its kind in the county.
“I think we were just sitting around the table one day wondering why there isn’t an almond festival in this area,” Amant said. “Sometimes you grow up here in the Central Valley and I feel like for myself, personally, you don’t know a whole lot about what goes into growing the almond.”
While the Almond Festival will feature plenty to do throughout the event’s two days, including a natural beauty pageant that will crown the first-ever Mr. and Miss Almond, live music, a beer garden, food, a car show and even a talent show, the focus of the event is education, Amant said.
An exhibit at the festival will showcase stages of the almond process from seedling to packaging, and various agriculture companies and farms will have their equipment on display.
“We just wanted to make sure to have that educational aspect,” Amant said. “The event is free, so it’s a place where people can bring their families out to spend the day and enjoy what the Valley has to offer.”
Through exhibits and the presence of local almond producers, the festival hopes to not only raise awareness for almonds, but also the by-products their industry produces, like shells used for animal feed.
“People don’t really know that those things come from almonds,” Amant said.
Vendors at the festival will also feature their best almond products, whether they’re selling food or goods. Soaps by Hailey of Turlock will be selling honey soaps — a beneficial by-product of the almond pollination season — and Divine Swine Grill & Bar of Modesto will offer almond and bacon cookies. Candy apples mimicking the popular candy Almond Joy will be for sale by The Apple Chick and Primo’s Tacos will have almond salsa available.
Amant and other festival organizers said they hope attendees leave with not only newfound knowledge of the almond industry, but also with “full bellies.”
The Almond Festival is still in search of vendors, and those interested can contact Amant at firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as those interested in entering any of the other events during the festival. For a full schedule of events, visit The Almond Festival’s Facebook page.