Lodi’s big events back in business

With California’s economy completely reopened, several large annual events that were canceled last year and were up in the air in 2021 are now coming back.

The Lodi Grape Festival is the first of the annual events to welcome guests for the first time in more than a year on Sept. 16-19.

“We’re planning on having a full-blown festival,” Grape Festival Manager Mark Armstrong said. “We’ve been following (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) every day, and we feel we’re ready to have the whole festival again. Of course we’ll have hand sanitizer and maybe some signage with recommended guidelines, but we see it as a normal event again.”

Armstrong said nearly all the vendor and concession space has been filled, and Butler Amusements, which has provided rides for the event the last several years, is ready to set up as soon as it can.

“There have been other fairs that have already happened,” Armstrong said. “And they’ve done really well, and I think it’s because people just want to get out after more than a year.”

The only aspect of the fair that will be different this year is the headlining acts on the Michelob Ultra Stage.

Blue Collar Men: A Tribute to Styx will take the stage Thursday night, while Thunderstruck: America’s AC/DC performs Saturday night. Saturday night will see the Beatles tribute act The Fab Four perform.

Armstrong said as soon as the state reopened on June 15, he reached out to vendors, concessions and entertainment acts. But getting acts like Los Lonely Boys and WAR, both of which performed in 2019, was difficult to do at the last minute, he said.

There will be several local acts performing that guests can support, including Lodi Community Band, the Diamond Dancers of Galt, and Funky Tim & the Merlots. There will also be a Lodi Musicians Showcase Thursday evening.

“We intend to do this as safely as we can,” Armstrong said. “But people are anxious and excited that we’re doing something again. We’re happy to be back.”

Admission will be $10 for guests 13 and older, $6 four youth ages 6-12. Hours will be 4-11 p.m. on Sept. 16, noon to midnight Sept. 17 and 18, and noon to 11 p.m. Sept. 19. Visit www.grape

festival.com for more information.

Just a couple weeks later, the Lodi Chamber of Commerce will hold the Lodi Street Faire in downtown. The twice-a-year event featuring antiques and new merchandise was completely canceled in 2020, as was the spring 2021 fair.

The Chamber said on its event website that vendor applications and more information will be available in the coming weeks.

The event typically takes up 14 blocks on School and Church streets, with more than 500 vendors selling antiques, art and crafts. There are also 25 food vendors offering wares from around the world.

One month after the Street Faire, the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival is scheduled at Hutchins Street Square. The Lodi Sandhill Crane Association is anticipating having an art show and informative presentations in the exhibit hall, but it also has to wait on what the City of Lodi has planned for resuming activities at Hutchins Street Square, Kathy Grant said.

In addition, to reduce impact on the limited crane viewing sites, as well as to eliminate crowded buses, LSCA leaders are planning a self-driven wildlife tour schedule that will last over the course of several weeks this fall and winter.

Tour registration will begin at 5:30 a.m. Nov. 6, and tours will begin at 6:30 a.m., lasting throughout the day. On Nov. 7, tour registration begins at 5 a.m. and tours start at 5:20 a.m., also lasting through the day.

Workshops, presentations, live animal shows, music and children’s activities will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Nov. 6, and begin at 10:30 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 7.

The art show and exhibit hall, with vendors, displays, food and the Crane-ium will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Nov. 6, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 7.

Admission to the festival is free. Visit the LSCA’s new website at www.lodisandhillcrane.org for more information.

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