- WHAT: Patterson Apricot Fiesta
- WHEN: May 29 to 31
- NEEDED: Corporate sponsors to donate $2,000 or more; major sponsors to donate $500 to $1,999; chairperson for the Student Arts and Crafts Show; and chairperson for Free Speech area.
- INFO: www.patterson-ca.com (includes information and applications for craft, commercial and parade); 892-3118.
To put it plainly, the Apricot Fiesta is looking for donations from the community. The worldwide economic slump has hit locally, and Patterson residents are watching their pennies.
Meanwhile, the May 29 to 31 fiesta is approaching fast.
“It’s going to be a tough year with the economy what it is,” said Rich Greer, general chairman. “Corporate sponsors are down, and donations from the community are down. We’re hoping it will improve here soon."
“Anybody who has free cash and would like to make a donation, send it to us.”
Greer, who has been a Fiesta volunteer for the past 19 years, was co-chairman with Lea Emmons beginning in 2005. Emmons stepped down last year.
“I don’t think people realize the work and effort the city and the Apricot Fiesta put in,” Greer said.
The fiesta board, volunteers and city workers put on Patterson’s biggest party. This year’s theme is “Centennial Past, Present and Future — Celebrate!” for Patterson’s 100th anniversary.
Fiesta secretary Marilyn Hoobler said it has been tough to get sponsors for the event’s 39th year. Hoobler, who has been the fiesta secretary for 25 years, said the event costs $180,000 to $190,000 to put on each year.
The fiesta won’t have any big changes this year and is trying to stay afloat with mainstay events — pageants, parade, entertainment, kids games and Lions Club chicken barbecue — for a weekend in which families can visit and enjoy local entertainment.
“We know the community looks to the city and the fiesta to put it on, so we’re just trying very hard to get sponsors in the way of memberships, fireworks donations — anything people can do to help out,” Hoobler said. “Volunteering has a value also.”
Hoobler said the cost of fireworks is high, but not hard to attain if folks follow her formula.
“If people truly love and enjoy the fireworks, we need more financial support,” Hoobler said. “If we had $1 for every person who lives in Patterson, we would have an incredible fireworks show.”
Biggest fiesta in 2008
The 2008 Fiesta had an estimated crowd of more than 30,000 people — the largest since its inception in 1971.
“It was one of the biggest fiestas ever — I can’t really give a figure because we do not take admission at the gate,” Hoobler said. “I’ve never seen the food court lines so long. The lines were crossing and intersecting, so I couldn’t tell which line was which.”
When vendors were setting up last year, Hoobler wished them all a good weekend.
“Numerous vendors stated, ‘Oh, Marilyn, it will be wonderful,’” Hoobler said. “The way they put it to me is in a down economy, people are staying closer to home and spending their disposable income locally. So, in our case, they look forward to the fiesta and are ready for a party.”
Some of the money raised from the fiesta itself and from local service organizations that have booths fiesta weekend, goes back into the community for such things as scholarships for graduating high school seniors.
“We, as a group, are thinking positive — that it’s going to be a great fiesta,” Hoobler said. “Hopefully, Mother Nature will help us out with her sunshine — not only for our sake, but for all of the groups who participate and benefit from the weekend.”