Free entertainment, a farmer's market, hamburgers by firefighters and a chance to win $500 is making Whitmore Park a popular hangout this summer.
The city kicked off the Concerts in the Park series on June 2 with Greg Scudder and Beer:30 performing. Beth Hunt was the lucky winner of $500 in the Ceres Chamber's Cash Pass promotion. In the Voice of Ceres talent contest, Brooke Ford was voted the favorite after a three-way contest with Kristin Fahey and Natalie Solovcano.
The second concert of June 9 featured musicians Nathan Ignacio and Patty Castillo Davis, who was accompanied by Tim Allen on the keyboard. Linda Medlin was the week #2 winner of the $500. During intermission, youth from kindergarten to high school perform in the Voice of Ceres talent contest. The second night pitted Gabby Gonzalez and Leilah Elsumeri in the singing contest.
During the concerts, along the western boundary of the park - which is undergoing work to make way for new restrooms - lines of vendors provide food and produce for sale. Last week, Siena Farms was on hand selling olive oil, Edith's Bakery selling fresh breads, Root Farms was offering nuts and dried fruits, and Ruiz Produce was selling fruits, vegetables, smoothies, yogurt, milkshakes and fruit plates. E. Canolli was selling the popular Italian dessert. Bogdanich Farms of Patterson trucked in apricots to sell.
The Ceres Chamber also sells beer and wine at concerts. They also hand out the new Shop Local reusable canvas shopping bags to those who purchased the $35 Cash Passes. Bags are being sold for $2 apiece otherwise.
The city-sponsored Concerts in the Park series is held Tuesday evenings, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Whitmore Park in downtown Ceres until July 14. There is no admission for attendance.
As last year, a promotion called the Ceres Concerts in the Park Cash Pass ticket promotion is designed to get attendance up. Concerts are free but a $35 season Cash Pass is sold that enable people to have a chance to win $500 during the concerts. Winners must be present to win the entire $500 amount but those who are not present if their name is drawn will be awarded $250. Passes may be ordered by calling the city at 538-5628; or the Chamber of Commerce, 537-2601. Those who wish to participate in one concert drawing may buy a single "prize pass" for a 50/50 drawing for $10 per ticket. Passes are available at the Ceres Community Center, 2701 Fourth Street, at the Ceres Chamber of Commerce, 2938 Fourth Street.
The remaining concerts in the series are:
• June 23 - Heath Adrian, Elizabeth Robinette & the Silly String Band;
• June 30 - Ernie Bucio Little Big Band;
• July 7 - Local church choirs;
• July 14 - The Van Diemanns and A La Lune, performing on Cultural Night.