American pie: the Lodi Grape Festival

Celebrate the 2010 harvest with us at the Lodi Grape Festival…

September 16-19 – When was the last time you’ve savored true Americana?  The annual four-day Lodi Grape Festival has been serving up sky-high slices of it, with sides of Tokay and glasses of teeth staining Zinfandel, continuously since 1934.  The first grapefest was a celebration of the previous year’s repeal of Prohibition and (since unions were not in fashion then) the quelling of a labor strike during the harvest of ’33.

Long gone are the mustachioed honorary peace officers, the beauty queen pageantry and grand parades; but still going strong are the grape contests (Best Tokay Bunch, Largest Tokay Bunch, etc.) and, since the fifties, the annual grape mural contest (giant, colorful artistic displays made from grapes painstakingly glued to flat boards).

Admission into the earliest grapefests was just 25 cents; but relatively speaking, it’s about the same today:  $8/adults; kids under 5 free; $4/6-12 year olds; and carnival ride wristbands for just $20.

Plenty more entertainment for the kids (like racing pigs and “Susan the Mistress of Mesmerism”), boogie chillin’ music for the adults (this year, highlighted by Edgar Winter and tribute bands like Led Zepplica and The Fab Four), and as always, liberty and cups of Zinfandel for all.  Scenes from the first day of the 2010 grapefest…

Award winning table grapes perkin' our appetities...

Award winning grape mural: Lodis around the world ("it's a small world after...")

Queen Bertha DeAlmado from the first Lodi grapefest (1907)

The 1960 queen and her royal court of princesses and tokays...

A queen and princess from the more swingin' sixties...

How the luv-gen swings today: guitar monster Shane Dwight channeling Stevie Ray...

Swingers today: guitar king Shane Dwight channeling Stevie Ray the first night of this year's grapefest...

According to Robin and Dan, the "Mesmerizers" in the Grape Pavilion, the Van Ruiten Old Vine Zinfandel is the greatest in the world (and they may be right!)

... so we tested the Van Ruiten zin with the beatific Lockeford Sausage hot dog, buried in sauerkraut and jalapeno relish (and the wine kicked butt!)

Back into the Grape Pavilion to check out the historic murals...

San Francisco artist John Garth painted the Grape Pavilion's stunning murals (as rich and muscular as Zinfandel!) in 1960, depicting seasons in the vineyards

'Twas a time when men were men and women were... right in there!

... although our forefathers may have been less environmentally conscious when it came to spraying

Lodi's near-forgotten Tokay grapes (seeded eating grapes of our past)

Lodi's unforgotten Tokay (magnificent seeded eating grapes of our past)

Novel way to spell Petite Sirah (nevertheless, looking great in 2010!)

Mixed media in Lodi: where playing with vegetables and fruit can be copacetic..

Then outside we go for entertainment of more gut wrenching fashion...

A ferris wheel just for our size challenged offspring...

Future bikers, or weekend warriors, of tomorrow...

Future bikers, or weekend warriors, of tomorrow...

Timeless classics -- like beauty queens and Tokays...

Signs of the times: lucha libre and rainbow ukeleles...

Good ol' fashioned carnival magic and ventriloquism...

Man, the things you gotta do to entertain kids these days...

A banner from yesteryear...

See you at the 2010 Lodi Grape Festival & Harvest Fair!

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

*