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Hughson celebrates
Weekend festival showcases Hughson
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Diane Younker enabled grandson Isaiah Kelly to get closer to an alpaca in the Hughson 4-H petting zoo corral during the weekend Hughson Harvest Festival. The event was held on Hughson Avenue both days. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

Thousands of persons flocked to Hughson over the weekend to enjoy a small town festival in the form of the fourth annual Hughson Harvest Festival.

The downtown venue included a classic car show, farmers market, arts and crafts booths, fun activities for the kids, a reptile show, local performers and information booths.

Chamber Board member and festival chairman Marie Assali said the festival "brings the community together and showcase our town." She called Hughson a "small community with a big heart."

The festival featured more than 100 vendors, as well as fresh produce and freshly-prepared dining options. There were arts and craft options and commercial booths, with free, locally grown items courtesy of the Taste of Central Valley Agriculture booth.

Saturday kicked off with the Walk 4 Love event at 9 a.m., followed by an opening ceremony with a performance from Hughson High School Jazz Band at 10 a.m. Saturday also hosted a chili cook-off, a fireman's muster, a classic car show, and a Step It Up dance performance.

On Sunday there was a pancake breakfast hosted by Hughson United Soccer at the community center and a reptile show from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Shelley Streeter and Joni Morris & Company performed at the Main Stage in the afternoon.

For the kids, pony rides, a kiddie-tractor pull, a make-your-own-ice-cream booth, and a petting zoo were offered.

"It really brings people to our downtown and showcases our businesses and helps different nonprofits raise money," said Assali. "I'm just excited about the festival as a whole because it touches so many different lives and raises money for our town."

The Hughson Harvest Festival, previously called the Hughson Fruit and Nut Festival, was established in 1988 to raise money for the town's community center. After running for about 20 years, the chamber and the festival dissolved.

The community brought the festival back with the same underlying goal to raise money for the community about four years ago. Next year, the festival will be once again called the Hughson Fruit and Nut Festival, as per request of community members.

"It's been wonderful since we brought it back," said Assali. "It's just growing every year as a festival that really promotes agriculture."

Alysson Aredas contributed to this report.