Bill and Debbie Cave had just pushed through the turnstile at the Grape Festival Grounds with their son and nephew, and the boys had already crowded around them, practically jumping out of their shoes for spending money and ride tickets.
And once they got those in their hands the two sprinted off as if they just heard a starter's pistol.
"The rides of course," Debbie Cave said when asked where the boys, ages 13 and 12, were headed. "Just give us our money and we'll meet you at a certain time and place."
Debbie and her husband Bill, Acampo residents, said they've been to the Lodi Grape Festival almost every year, partly because their children love it, but also because they have a fun time themselves.
They said they planned on having a beer and then taking their pick of the festival's many food booths.
The Caves were just a few of the hundreds of people who came out for the festival's opening night.
Before the gates opened at 4 p.m., a line of about 20 people waited out in front of the main gate. When the doors swung open, a steady trickle of families, couples and seniors started to flow into the festival.
As the evening wore on, the crowds grew thicker and the lines longer, but a jovial, relaxed atmosphere pervaded the festival.
One of the first places to fill up was the midway, as families with small children headed there first, picked up their tickets and then let their youngsters have their pick of the dozens of games and rides.
Morada residents Temple and John Gallagher were taking their 8-year-old son through the carnival games.
Temple Gallagher clutched a bag of pictures her son had just won at the dart toss, and said she's been going to the festival since she was a young girl.
She said not much has changed since then, but added that's not really a bad thing, because she and her husband love the family atmosphere.
But being from Lodi, Temple Gallagher said the festival also sometimes seems "like a high school reunion."
One of the features that makes Lodi's festival unique from other carnivals is the grape mural displays. And this year's vintage of murals was as creative as any in the past, as Lodi's grape artists incorporated the festival's theme "Wide World of Sports" theme into their artwork.
Next door to the main hall featuring the murals, a motorcycle museum offered visitors a look at antique motorcycles, dirt bikes, speed bikes, Harley's and even a drag racing motorcycle that looked like an aluminum missile with handlebars.
Just outside of the motorcycle museum, a small group watched the antics of A Giant Bicycle Team, a traveling exhibition of extreme sports.
As skateboarders and BMX bike riders went up and down a half-pipe ramp, the show's emcee exhorted the crowd of about 20 to "make some noise."
Nearby towered one of this year's featured attractions; the "Slingshot" ride.
As a ride, the slingshot is pretty simple. A small metal cage surrounding two seats is suspended by large, taut cables. The cables are released, and the cage is sent flying into the air before being snapped back down by the cables.
Perhaps it was the thought of being flung several hundred feet into the air, or the ride's $25 cost, but few people were taking a ride on the slingshot early Friday evening.
One of the festival's attractions that was bringing in a steady crowd was the Reptile Exhibit.
It could of been the prime location near the main entrance, but a steady crowd of visitors passed through the exhibit taking a peek at the snakes, turtles, lizards and alligator.
Terry Lansdowne and Tiffany Lenhardt said they enjoyed seeing the alligator and lizard, but looked forward to taking in the rest of the carnival.
The Lodi couple said they are set to be married in a month and were making the night a date for themselves.
In addition to the rides, the two said they planned on stopping by the Lockeford Sausage stand.
"The food is always a big hit for me," Lansdowne said.
It was shaping up to be a good night then, as the two had already won a ham at the Lion's bingo game stand.
Contact reporter Andrew Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.