Stockton Asparagus Festival Ends 29-Year Run

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The Stockton Asparagus Festival celebrated their last year this spring.

According to a press release sent Tuesday, the 29th Annual Stockton Asparagus Festival is the group’s last.

The board of directors for the festival says the decision was made on multiple circumstances that prevented the board and others involved to “provide much needed revenue to over 100 local nonprofit organizations who depend on the Festival to help bolster their community efforts.”

Some residents were shocked by the news. They believe canceling the festival is almost like ripping away the city’s identity.

“Everyone knows Stockton as the Asparagus Town,” Stockton resident Errol Respicio said. “And now we don’t have the Asparagus Festival, so what are we going to be known for now?”

The Asparagus Festival started in 1986, and since then has raised almost $6 million for those most in need in the Stockton area, according to the board of directors.

At first, they only had a few nonprofit beneficiaries, now there are 100+ beneficiaries and the cost to put on the festival are higher. FOX40 learned the festival raised the most money in 2004, more than $400,000, but in 2013 they only brought in around $70,000.

The 2014 festival got off to a rough start, when they had to close early on their first day because of weather.

There are rumors swirling that another festival about asparagus may pop up in another part of the region, and maybe Stockton would hold another event in April. However, sources told FOX40 these are just ideas and nothing is definite.

“I believe there will be something that would be bigger and better,” Douglass Wilhoit, of the Asparagus Festival Board of Directors, said. “Look at this, we have the water, and so how about a jazz festival? We even got a call from the State Fair people saying if we want a state festival up there. So that was kind of an outside option that we have.”

Rina Nakano contributed to this report

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