The Ceres Planning Commission voted 4-0 Monday night to amend a conditional use permit from the Ceres Chamber of Commerce to include management of a community Farmers Market during the city's Summer Concert Series.
Commissioner Laurie Smith was absent at the meeting.
Last year the Chamber made a trial run with a limited farmer's market, but pursued a contract with Derek Griffin, manager of the original Turlock Certified Farmers Market, to manage and expand this year's Ceres venue. Griffin, whose non-profit certified market was recently booted from downtown Turlock, moved the original market to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds on Saturday mornings and as a result has picked up more vendors. Griffin is hoping to bring 20 or more vendors to the Ceres venue during the seven-week concert season, which begins Tuesday, June 7 and runs each Tuesday through July 19.
"We are so excited to have Derek as a partner of the Chamber," said Ceres Chamber of Commerce President Renee Ledbetter, who contacted Griffin when the Turlock market became homeless. Although Griffin struck a deal with the Fairgrounds managers for the Turlock market, he agreed to take on Ceres as well. "His experience, his vendor following, and his commitment to delivering a successful market is exactly what we need for the Ceres community."
The Concerts Committee, comprised of city and Chamber staff and Ceres residents, is making other changes in hope of increasing attendance at the free weekly concert. The biggest change is bringing food vendors to complement each concert theme. Opening the concert season is Greg Scudder and the Beer 30 for Country Night, which is sponsored by Diamond Bar Arena with the food vendor, Meat Liquidators BBQ Team, serving BBQ tri-tip sandwiches. A roping demonstration from Ceres Police Chief Brent Smith will be held during intermission.
The season includes Throw Back on Tuesday, June 14, featuring Cloak & Dagger, a cover band for MTV 80s and 90s music. The evening will be sponsored by the Ryno Family and feature pizza, hot wings and salad sides from Rico's Pizza.
Graffiti Night, complete with classic car show, is slated for June 21 with hamburgers and hot dogs served by Howard Training Center Traveling Café. Fifties music will be provided by River Rising Band.
On June 28, Kids Night will be sponsored by Steps Dance Art Center and feature the singer/songwriter sounds of the Patty Castillo-Davis Band. Intermission will include a dance exhibition and fun for the little ones include arts and crafts, face painting and a balloon artist.
The Gottschalks Music Center Jazz Band returns on July 5 for Patriotic Night, sponsored by American Pet Clinic. Intermission brings on a "Cutest Pet" competition. Food for the night will be Americana at its best.
You won't want to miss Church Night on July 12, a music compilation from Ceres area churches, sponsored by La Cascada Mexican Restaurant. Food will be themed Taco Tuesday. A memorial tribute will be made to Tim Edwards, who for many years led Church Night and passed away a few months ago.
Wrapping up the concert series on July 19 will be A La Lune, a local reggae music band and the Fun Strummers Ukulele Band during Tiki Tuesday. Food for the evening will be supplied by Hardy Appetitez On-Site Catering with teriyaki chicken. A Hawaiian shirt and hula contest will keep the audience entertained during intermission.
The Ceres Chamber will once again sell its Concert Cash Passes for $35. The Concert Cash Pass offers attendees a chance to win $500 each week. Even if a lucky pass holder wins, their entry goes back in week after week, giving them multiple opportunities to win cash prizes. If winners are not present, they win $250 and a second winner is drawn to split the money pot. Concert Cash Passes go on sale Friday at the Chamber office, 2938-A Fourth Street in downtown Ceres.
"Everything we're doing to raise money for the concert series is to alleviate the city of Ceres from funding this program," said Ledbetter. "We understand tight budgets and don't want to rely on the city to fund this program because as budgets tighten we run the risk of losing such programs as Concerts in the Park. It's going to take our community to realize that if they want good, wholesome, family-oriented entertainment, it's going to take our community to provide it."
For more information about the Summer Concert Series visit CeresChamber.com or call the Chamber office 537-2601.