The San Benito Olive Festival team is delighted to have received so many positive reviews. For example, festivalgoers posted “Country Festival at its Best,” “ Fun local, charming event!” and “My husband and I had an amazing time” on our Facebook page.
We’re well aware that all of this was only made possible by a host of supportive and wonderful nonprofit organizations and a dedicated army of many, many volunteers. To express our gratitude, (and to give credit where credit is due) we’d like to share a brief overview of all the hard work that helped bring this year’s volunteer-driven festival to life.
On the morning of the fourth annual local harvest celebration, as early as 7:00 am, the San Benito High School Key Club members were already at the San Benito County Historical Park helping vendors bring their products to their booths. The SBHS tennis team worked on last minute set-up details.
By 9:45 am, festivalgoers began entering the venue that was beautifully decorated by Juli Vieira with assistance from the Friends of the San Benito County Free Library. The Boy Scout Troop 400 helped guide cars into parking spaces and directed guests to the ticket station. There, the Chamberlain’s Children Center team welcomed over 1,000 attendees, answering many questions and taking care of ticket payments. All guests received a Festival tote bag, efficiently handed out by the wonderful Small Steps of San Benito County.
The Rotary Club of Hollister was kept busy verifying the age of VIP patrons who then proceeded to the exquisite VIP Tasting Grove designed by Jackie McAbee and where the Women’s Club of Hollister served tasty sips.
Throughout the day, volunteers were checked in by our local (and very talented) singers—San Benito Oriana Chorale. Mary and Mark Paxton, with the generous help of the Hollister VFW Post 9272, produced a delicious burrito bar for the volunteers. And, communications among volunteers were provided by the San Benito County Amateur Radio Association.
At the Cooking Demonstration stage, volunteers from CASA of San Benito County hosted the festival’s featured chefs, made sure that the cooking prep area was set up and helped clean the dishes. Video taping these lively cooking demonstrations was the CMAP TV crew.
Our festival had various agriculturally themed, hands-on art and crafts activities. Leading the olive wreath making were Bea, Malia and Freddy Chang. Participants made fall flower bouquet creations under the guidance of the talented Judy Hess, Annie Goularte and the Gilroy Demonstration Garden. Paint and Plant was made possible by The GardenMart, while rock painting was hosted by ARTI-Culture. Rosemary Bridwell demonstrated how to create a succulent pumpkin center piece, and the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce showcased artistic scarecrows created by local businesses for a fun Scarecrow Contest.
The Historical Village was lined with ornate antique wagons presented by the San Benito County Historical Society. Beautiful guest pictures were taken by Hannah Smith at the 19th century Firehouse, which she turned into a photo booth. The R.E.A.C.H. San Benito Parks Foundation handed out free olives for tasting at the Olive Bar and Jim Ostdick, one of the board directors of R.E.A.C.H, led geological tours around the SBC Historical Park.
As the Festival started to wrap up, another shift of young SBHS Key Club members had plenty of energy to put away the many tables, chairs and umbrellas.
Putting on the Fourth Annual San Benito Olive Festival was a spectacular collaborative effort. This was just a snippet of everyone’s valuable contribution, which we believe shows by this festival reviewer's comment, "This was our first time at the festival and we so enjoyed it! We were invited by our Hollister friends and drove up from the SF Bay Area. We will be up next year to go to this lovely festival again…."
Many, many thanks, again, to all of our mighty volunteers!