The harvest has started and Fall is on its way, making it the perfect time for a festival. Grab your friends, family, and anyone who knows how to have a good time — maybe even those who don’t, they can learn — and head out to the 75th Annual Grape Festival and Harvest Fair. This year’s festival will open on Sept. 13 and run through Sept. 16.
Prepare yourselves for the unrelenting aroma of delectable fair food as it floats through the air, making you waffle between your choice of a hot dog, the sausage sandwich or the Hawaiian barbecue. And just when you think you are satisfied with your choice, you may find yourself face to face with the new choice of Mexican or Asian food. Let’s not forget, you will face the same dilemma when it comes to your choice of dessert — funnel cake, ice cream, chocolate — so many choices.
For those who like to be entertained, you too will face your share of choices. You can visit a petting zoo, a bug zoo, and a serpentarium. You can be mesmerized by Safari Acrobats, magicians and even a hypnotist. You will even have a chance to rock out to the musical sounds of the Blaze of Glory — the Bon Jovi tribute band — be enchanted by the compositions of the Lodi Community Band and the Banana Slug String Band, and enjoy the talents of Jackie Greene, Lee Koch and Big Booty Bob and the Backside Kickers. The choices are endless.
The midway awaits for those whose tastes lie in a more adventurous direction. You will have a choice to fly through the air, twist, turn, swing, maybe even all at the same time if so you desire. For those with a slightly tamed adventurous side, the midway also provides choices that keep your feet on the ground and games to test your agility skills and thought process - if good enough you could even win a multitude of prizes and stuffed animals.
Once again, the fair will kick off with Thursday as Kids’ Day. Children who are 12 years old and younger will be admitted free. Friday will also a free day for everyone until 5 p.m.
This year the fair will also offer a “2 for $2 til' 2” promotion. Anyone bringing two unopened cans of food from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday will get admission for $2. Canned food will be collected and distributed to local families.
The four-day festival will begin Thursday and run through Sunday. The hours are as follows:
Thursday: 4 to 11 p.m.
Friday: Noon to midnight
Saturday: Noon to midnight
Sunday: Noon to 11 p.m.
Admission is free for children 5 years and younger ; $5 for six to 12-year-olds; and $9 for adults. A carnival ride wristband may also be purchased for $20 in advance and on Kids’ Day, and $28 at the door.
Tickets may be purchased in advance online, at Food 4 Less and Rancho San Miguel Stores in Lodi, or at the Lodi Grape Festival office until close of business on Wednesday.
Parking for the Grape Festival is $5 when parking in the Grape Bowl parking lot, Union Pacific lot just south of Lockeford Street, and on the east side of the grounds in the east field.
To get to the Grape Festival, follow these directions:
From highway 99 south: Exit Highway 12; turn left on Beckman Road and go a short block north to Victor Road; take a left and go to Cherokee Lane; turn right on Cherokee Lane to Lockeford Street and you are at the festival grounds.
From highway 99 north: Take the Turner Road exit and go south to Cherokee Lane, then right on Lockeford Street. (Once you leave the freeway, don’t veer to the right back to Turner, continue straight south.)
From interstate 5 south: Take the Highway 12 exit and turn right onto the highway. You will travel several miles into Lodi, then turn left on Cherokee Lane. Travel north through the city, and turn left again on to Lockeford Street.
One thing to keep in mind during the festival, whether you will be attending or are just going about your daily activities, part of Lockeford Street will once again be turned into a one way street with the flow of traffic moving east to west. Traffic will be directed around the area, so use caution when driving by the festival grounds during festival hours.
For more information about this year’s Grape Festival, visit www.grapefestival.com.