Ken Lung attended his first Grape Festival in 1966 and found it to be a small old-fashioned event.
“I just thought it was more of an old-time fair where people knew each other,” Lung said. “It’s more like being in the Midwest.”
Lung, 71, has attended the Grape Festival every year since he moved to Lodi nearly a half-century ago. This year, he’s the festival’s president.
Lung said he enjoys the variety the Grape Festival provides. His favorites are the activities in the Grape Pavilion, including the murals made with grapes by local residents.
“It’s always good to see the different shows,” he added.
Lung said the Grape Festival has changed for the better since the 1960s. Now it has a greater variety of activities for families.
“It’s a total package of events in that people can sit in one spot and enjoy themselves, review all the activities and have the same amount of pleasure,” he said.
Born in Clovis, Lung was working for Shell Oil in Fresno when he was transferred to the Stockton plant in 1965, where he was a dealer representative. He took over a Shell station in Lockeford from 1968 until he became co-owner of Discount Tires on Lodi’s Sacramento Street in 1980.
In 1992, Lung bought Lodi Tire Service on Cherokee Lane, which he still owns.
A long-time member of the Lodi Lions Club, Lung was invited to join the Grape Festival board in 2005.
“As president, I oversee the financial and general operations of the festival grounds,” Lung said. “It’s great to see the progression as an independent small fair when other fairs are struggling to survive. We have a good general manager (Mark Armstrong). He keeps the place rented year-round.”
Aside from the Grape Festival — the biggest event in Lodi, local organizations rent the grounds for meetings to major weekend events. RV groups also stay on the grounds.
When not overseeing the Grape Festival and tire shop, Lung is a golfer and an avid steelhead fisherman. He has two children, Amy, 31, who works at the tire shop and will someday take over the business, and Andy, who lives in Jamestown.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.