After hearing the Asparagus Festival being revived, when it was mentioned it
would close after 30 years, well, I was darn right excited. The first hearings
apparently would be that the festival would be managed by a different group
people and to be held at the county fairgrounds, I was shocked. I was surprised
since the San Joaquin County Fair was no longer operating due to low attendance
and other reputations it might have received in years past.
As we made our way to the festival on Saturday, April 18 at about 1PM,
traffic was heavy! As soon as we reached the fairgrounds, parking was a
reasonable $5 bucks. When our car entered the fairgrounds, we were immediately
directed to another lot which looked like a horseracing track. It was mentioned
that the county fairground parking lot reached its maximum capacity! Whoa! The
line to enter the festival was about 15 - 20 minutes. Keep in mind, when it was
in downtown Stockton there were about 4 entrances all around and no lines to
enter. We only knew of two which were at the front to the fairgrounds at the
time. Entrance fee was an economical $10.
As soon as we entered, we hustled our way through large crowds to find food
and beer. Many were dressed in summer gear ready for festival food,
entertainment and the many vendors it provided. It was tough finding the
asparagus food booths since signage at the fairgrounds was not easy. In recent
past, large signs were on display at major intersections at the festival which
directed you to specific areas. When we found the deep-fried asparagus lines,
there were about 6 lines total, all jammed packed! Many waiting to get that
deep-fried dish - ASPARAGUS! We placed two orders which came up to $14 - $7 each
for about 6 spears. They tasted great and provided ranch and other necessities
like hot sauces at a table, all for free. We even went for Lockeford sausages,
corn dogs, craft beer and other festival foods.
For pulling off their first aspara-fest in a new location, I congratulate
them! There’s definitely room to grow and improve - especially parking and
Asparagus Alley. The set up was confusing. I definitely will attend next year
and see their new improvements. Thank you for bringing the festival back!