In just three weeks the 72nd annual Carrot Festival and Street Fair steps up to the plate and the Holtville Chamber of Commerce again leads off with the heavy hitters.
The first day the Carrot Capital of the World begins the series of events is Feb. 1. The Royalty Coronation Banquet will see the crowning of Carrot Festival Royalty at the Barbara Worth Country Club & Resort at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 each, noted Anita Martinez, chamber chief executive officer.
The banquet includes recognition of the Citizen of the Year as well as the 24 Carrot Award.
Next, from Feb. 4-7, is the Soroptimist Club Cooking Contest at the Civic Center with chefs arriving between 5:15 and 5:30 p.m. each day. Also beginning Feb. 7 is the Carrot Festival carnival. Pre-sale ride coupons come in booklets of 30 and are on sale at the Chamber of Commerce, Cuts & Fades Barbershop, Sun Community Federal Credit Union, Holtville Taco Shop and George’s Pizza.
“We’re still waiting city approval of the zip line ride (inclined cable with suspended harness) and there’s an inflatable obstacle course for all ages with a $5 fee,” said Martinez.
On Feb. 8 the Carrot Festival Concert (Downtown Hoe-Down) features live music, beer garden and food vendors on Holt Avenue.
“Friday night, the eighth, a Hoe-Down kicks things off. Where else can you find a good hoe-down these days?” Mayor David Bradshaw wondered. “The 72nd event should have wonderful school bands and the most innovative floats. Rusty from Highline Cooling puts serious effort into his creations--a must see.”
Bradshaw explained the festival has become a homecoming for families with children and grandchildren living away, so they return to a fun-filled week.
Meanwhile, about town businesses are teeming and indisputable joy is in the air as residents prepare to enjoy something special one week a year, an event for which Holtville is acclaimed.
Feb. 9 is the big day with the Carrot races beginning at 7 a.m. and the Street Fair running from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. The Carrot Festival Parade begins at 10 a.m. with awards to follow and a drumline competition after the awards. In the early evening there will be Cow Pie Bingo.
Wrapping up festivities will be the inaugural Wing and Carrot Cook Off at noon on Feb. 10.
“Among many favorite things (to list) is how well the farm community, schools, local clubs and businesses work to make this a success,” stressed Bradshaw. “There’s so much behind the scenes work without any grumbling. But my favorite is the fun run/walk that is through Walker Park along the Alamo River. The cross-country team are there in full force to organize. It’s such a great way to show off our city and one of the lesser known Holtville parks.”
The 4K fun run/walk, along with other competitive running events, precedes the Carrot Festival Parade on Feb. 9 starting at 7 a.m. and followed at 7:30 a.m. (starting line: 7-Eleven) with an open (adults and children) 5K run.
The entry fee is $25 per person and there is a Feb. 4 registration deadline to get a T-Shirt. There is also a mile race for children 12 and under, a quarter-mile race for eight and under and a carrot relay mile (carrots used for batons). Gerardo Lara, Holtville High School track and field coach, extended an invitation to everyone to participate.
“The festival is very important to the development of the running program at the high school,” said Lara. “And Holtville is the only high school cross-country team in the county to send an entire team to the state finals (2017 and 2018) and we’re looking to qualify for the finals in 2019 too.”