Welcome to the Carnival of Family Life — Harvest Edition! This is a very special time of year here in “Livable, Lovable Lodi” that, as a child, I always looked forward to with great anticipation and excitement. This coming Thursday through Sunday is the annual Lodi Grape Festival and Harvest Fair!
For the past 74 years, Lodi has boasted its very own festival and carnival, the purpose of which is to “promote the agriculture and agricultural products of San Joaquin County, and to offer diverse forms of agricultural education. The Festival strives to present unique, family–oriented exhibits that not only entertain, but educate and enlighten.”
The idea of an annual celebration of the grape harvest actually dates back to the Tokay Carnival which was held just once in 1907. There was a queen and king, band concerts, a Wild West show, vaudeville acts, numerous displays, and a parade down the dirt streets of downtown Lodi which had just become a city the previous year. The Carnival was so ambitious, in fact, that such an event was not attempted again until the Grape Festival was established in 1934.
The Lodi Business Men’s Association held a queen contest with customers voting to select the winner. The Lodi Chamber of Commerce sponsored competitions for the best and largest bunch of grapes, etc. There was a carnival and parades.
Grape murals first appeared in 1950 and remain the Festival’s trademark. Individual grapes are glued onto large display boards, creating beautiful designs in keeping with the Festival’s theme. Clubs, school groups, and individuals compete for cash prizes and the honor of draping a ribbon over the corner of their winning design.
In the early days, Lodi’s grape crop was harvested using small, curved knives and each bunch was cut by hand before being tossed into the heavy wood lug boxes. Red Flame Tokay grapes were the variety for which the city was best known. Hence, Lodi High’s mascot and teams are known as the Flames, and the school’s colors are red and white. In contrast, I graduated from Tokay High School, the official colors of which are purple and gold. Our school newspaper was the Tokay Press (an homage to wine and newspaper presses). My kids attended Vinewood School, and the names and logos of many local businesses and shopping centers reflect Lodi’s agricultural focus including Flame Liquor, Arbor Convalescent Hospital, Vintage senior living center, Wine Country Care Center, etc. Our city transit system is known as the Grapeline, and many city streets bear names such as Tokay, Zinfandel, Chianti, Burgundy, etc.
Today, harvesting machines straddle the grapevines, moving up and down the rows day and night, mechanically stripping the grapes off. Few Flame Tokay grapes remain, having been replaced by zinfandels, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, chardonnay and merlots. In fact, the city’s motto is “Zinfandel Capital of the World.” Many people do not realize that Lodi produces more zinfandels than the Napa wine region and, in fact, many of the world’s finest wines can trace their origins to the vines that surround our fair village.
The Festival has changed over the years, as has the grape industry it honors each September Although the Saturday morning Kiddie Parade remains extremely popular (yes, as a child, I was a participant), the Sunday afternoon parade was discontinued in 2002 due to a lack of interest. And the last Grape Festival Queen was crowned in 1980, a sign of the changing roles and interests of Lodi’s young women.
The Festival features entertainment and I will be performing again this year. If you’re in the area, stop in and listen to the Lodi Community Band perform this Saturday, September 13, 2008, at 4:15 p.m. in the Grape Pavilion. I’ll be in the front row playing my flute and piccolo so make sure you say “hello” after the concert!
Rachel presents The 3 Biggest Thing to look for in a Utah Personal Injury Lawyer posted at Utah Personal Injury Lawyer. “Legal issues can often leave a family aching and torn apart because they cost so much money,” Rachel advises.
Dad presents 11/4/2006 – The Party posted at Falsely Accused Dad, warning readers that “what happened to me is something all parents, especially fathers need to be aware of.”
Family Cooking & Recipes
Family Crafts and Activities
Toni presents The Sentimental Garage Sale posted at Wifely Steps. “My sisters and I prepared this garage sale,” Toni writes. “It was difficult letting go of some things, but we knew they’d find a better home someplace else. “
HowToMe presents How To Easily Make a Storage Sack posted at HowToMe. “Does anyone else store toys and seasonal clothing in plastic trash sacks?” she asks. She received a tip from her neighbor and discovered that it is very easy to make a fabric, drawstring sack from a pillowcase. Stop by her site to learn how.
freefrombroke presents What Is Raising A Child Worth – We’re Going To One Income posted at Free From Broke. They recently made the decision to drop to one income so that the author’s wife can stay home to raise the kids.
The Smarter Wallet presents Eat Well for Cheap! How To Eat Out For Less posted at The Smarter Wallet, offering tips on how to bring down the cost of dining out, especially “when you have your family in tow.”
Abby Freedman presents It’s not skimping! posted at i pick up pennies. “Being a responsible parent includes knowing when to say ‘Enough!’ Specifically,” according to Abby, “it includes raising kids who know they don’t ‘deserve’ everything they see.”
Family Health and Wellness
Aparna presents Caring for your neck and some awesome neck-exercises posted at Beauty and Personality Grooming. “The importance of a long, beautiful and elegant neck has been an integral part of conventional beauty from ancient days,” Aparna instructs. “In Africa, many tribes have a dreadful custom of putting copper rings around the necks of their baby girls to elongate them and show how prosperous they are!”
BeThisWay presents Lessons in Patience posted at Are You Going To Be This Way The Rest of The Time I Know You?.
Family Relationships and Self-Improvement
Aahz presents Now That’s The Reaction I’ve Been Looking For posted at Philaahzophy, explaining, “It’s been a struggle getting my 12 yeard old daughter really excited about something. But I finally hit the nail on the head thanks to Miley Cyrus.”
Donna Freedman presents Family matters more than finance posted at Smart Spending. Donna says, “Every year I spend my vacation days visiting family — I make room in my budget for plane tickets. The time to tell people you love them is now, and in person.”
Sandra Foyt presents Hunting Travel Memories At The Atlantis posted at On Living By Learning. “The Atlantis is a fun-filled family travel destination, but it’s a challenge to explore the Bahamas’ island culture when you’re staying in the resort,” according to Sandra.
Parenting Tips and Advice
Nicholas Powiull presents Growth through Practicing Unconditional Love: Parenting: by Nicholas Powiull posted at Conscious Flex.
Joe presents GPS Kid Tracking Tip – Adventure is King posted at GPS Tracking Watches, saying, “Getting your child to buy into their GPS safety device and to value it can be difficult, but with this tip you can help give your child a vested interest in it – giving you some peace of mind while you have fun with your child.”
Thank you all for participating in the Carnival this week!
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