Valley gathers for inaugural Citrus Festival in Calipatria
Juanita Ortiz (right), 10, cuts pieces of her citrus baked goods contest entry, a lemon cake, for judges Margaret Navarro (left) and Gloria Rivas during the first Citrus Festival in Calipatria on Sunday. Ortiz said, "My grandmother baked the cake and I decorated the cake with frosting and squeezed lemon." (JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO / January 27, 2013)
Coordinated by the city of Calipatria and the Calipatria Chamber of Commerce, the three-day festival ended strongly, after weather conditions caused the festival to close early Friday.
“People are rolling in and it’s becoming a full house; they’re really excited,” Mayor Pro Tem and event coordinator Maria Nava-Froelich said.
The festivities aimed at showcasing local citrus growers and their contributions to the community, Nava-Froelich said.
With weather conditions having cleared up by Saturday, crowds of people took part in the day’s activities.
“We had our hat contest and our apron fashion show and we had citrus growers her in full display giving out their seasonal fruit,” Nava-Froelich said.
Sunday’s festivities also continued as planned, with carnival rides, raffles, tamale and citrus baked goods contests, along with several vendors selling food, drinks and toys.
“There are lots of people, lots of vendors, lots food, lots of fun,” Nava-Froelich said.
More than 700 people were estimated to have attended the festival, prompting Nava-Froelich to consider next year’s event.
“It’s been really great and we hope we can do this again next year,” Nava-Froelich said.
Enjoying the festival with her family, Niland resident Nadia Flores was happy to be able to spend time with her family so close to home.
“It’s the first time that Calipatria has had a festival, so me and my family came to just bring the kids and check out the rides and booths and have fun,” Flores said.
Also having fun during the event, Calipatria residents Earl and Reyna Allen decided to bring their niece Victoria Chacon to the event to have some family time.
“I think it’s great. It’s something for us to do as a family,” Earl said. “It’s a real good time.”
Staff Writer Celeste Alvarez can be reached at 760-337-3442 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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