Local auto race promoters say they will put on a 30th version of the Stockton Asparagus Festival. Two months ago organizers of the iconic event called it quits after several years of declining attendance and rising costs.
The Noceti Group, successful promoters of auto racing at the San Joaquin County fairgrounds in Stockton, says it will move the festival from downtown Stockton to the fairgrounds.
“This is a jewel here, it belongs here, it needs to stay here,” said Tony Noceti in a press conference at the fairgrounds.
It was just a few weeks ago that another private promoter attempted to continue a Stockton tradition by reviving the defunct San Joaquin County Fair. The so-called San Joaquin County Family Fair drew criticism from vendors who say the Next Level Concert Group lied to them and did not pay fees they were owed. The heavily promoted 4th of July fireworks show as cancelled because the fireworks company wasn’t paid in advance.
Festival boosters say a local promoter will make all the difference.
“Every time I’ve gone to one of his events, there are two things. Number one it’s always packed…number two it’s always well-organized,” said Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva.
The husband and wife team of Carol and Tony Noceti say they have local farming roots and will consult with the non-profit groups involved with the festival and who will continue to share in the earnings.
“We are going to run it like a business. We are promoters, but we want to give the public a heck of a good show,” said Tony Noceti.
They are bringing in partners to beef up the entertainment and will feature other kinds of agricultural exhibits. However they insist that asparagus will still be king. They say they are anxious to continue a signature event that defines the city of Stockton.
They also say the fairgrounds has plenty of space and lots of parking, which might have hurt attendance at the the downtown location of the previous festivals. Still it will be a gamble for the Noceti’s. A well attended auto race may draw 10,000 people. The Asparagus Festival at its height drew over 100 thousand visitors over a three-day run.