Aromas Day to celebrate small-town life with family-friendly fun

Aromas Day, slated for Sunday, Aug. 30, is a day of old-fashioned fun that also raises money for local nonprofits.

For Aromas residents, it’s a day to greet friends, help a local nonprofit, and celebrate small-town life at its best. For the rest of the world, it’s become known as the premier place to shop for bargains.

No matter now you slice it, Aromas Day — this year slated for Sunday, Aug. 30 — has something for everyone.

The annual shindig in the community at the border of San Benito, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties has long been popular with locals, but it has garnered attention from visitors from the Monterey Peninsula, Central Valley and the Bay Area as both a day of old-fashioned fun and a chance to shop at multiple yard sales.

Downtown Aromas, all three blocks of it, is the center of operations, with food booths, art displays, a classic car show, live music and carnival games, while yard sales are held at residences throughout the Aromas area, a tradition that has been part of Aromas Day for decades.

“We estimate that between 5,000 and 7,000 people come to Aromas for Aromas Day,” said Aromas Day 2015 coordinator Jan Saxton. “It’s a good number of people for our little town.”

This year’s celebration begins with the Aromas Grange pancake breakfast from 7-11 a.m. at the historic grange hall at the corner of Rose and Bardue, with a silent auction and 50/50 raffle available there until noon. Booths open and live entertainment begins at 9 a.m.

Not only do vendors’ booths offer items for sale at the downtown street fair, there are also nonprofits dispensing information, food for sale, and activities for kids, including carnival rides and games, a petting zoo and pony rides.

No admission is charged, but the downtown area is barricaded so that vehicles can’t enter, and neither are ridden animals or personal golf carts allowed, Saxton said. All-day parking is available at a lot off Aromas Road, for which a donation of $5 is suggested. Proceeds will help send Aromas School students to science camp.

This year’s entertainment lineup on the main stage in front of Marshall’s Market includes the Watsonville Taiko Drummers at 10 a.m., the Buffalo Canyon Band with Jeff Hardy at 11 a.m., ChromaBreeze at noon, and Mariachi Hermanos Muratella at 1 p.m.

The annual Aromas Day parade, this year featuring the North Monterey County High School marching band, begins at 2 p.m., and will also include community floats, vintage automobiles, horseback riders and other lively entries. Grand marshals for this year’s parade are longtime community volunteers Fred and AR Pointer.

Saxton notes that parade applications can be submitted up until Aug. 25 and can be downloaded on the Aromas Day website, Aug. 15 is the last day to sign up for vendor spaces and to enter the classic car show.

The day’s entertainment concludes from 3-4 p.m. with the Hit and Run Band with Mike Miller, and booths close at 4 p.m.

Another popular feature is the Aromas Hills Artisans’ Art in the Park event, in which locals display and sell their creations, and another is Garage Sale Alley, near Aromas Bible Church on Carpenteria Avenue, where people can buy booth space to sell used items.

Aromas Day, sponsored by the Aromas Eagles service organization, also involves many other groups in the community, including Boy Scouts Troop 504, the Aromas Grange, Aromas 4-H, Aromas Home & School Club, and others. Money raised during the day helps support these groups as well as going to local scholarship funds.

“It supports our local nonprofits,” said Saxton. “That’s why we do it.”

For more information, visit the Aromas Day website here.