While children were careful not to smudge decorative face paint as they indulged in juicy chocolate covered strawberries, adults relaxed with a glass of wine or beer to quench thirst on a warm afternoon, idly chatting or catching up with neighbors.
Vendors displayed their wares, including area honey, vintage jewelry, pampering products, and colorful Ethnic purses. Snow White and Captain America wandered through the crowds, often stopping for photo requests.
The Yosemite High School marching band, under the direction of Francisco Marquez, briefly entertained, before acts like Elvis (Jeremy Pearce), Rocktherapy, and The Dave Henderson Band took center stage.
The 24th Annual Fall Festival, sponsored by the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce, held last weekend at Oakhurst Community Park, drew thousands. It has become one of the biggest events in the Mountain Area, thanks to the love of wine and chocolate. Along with those two favorites, there was wine sampling from area wineries, and demonstrations in the artists tent, a new feature this year, along with vintage cars and informational booths.
For some, it has proven to be a not-to-be missed event. For others, attending for the first time, it was a chance to meet and make festival buddies.
Anna Fraley with 4-year-old son Elias in tow browsed the vendor booths. She said, while they have wanted to attend in the past, there has always been a scheduling conflict, so she and Elias were happy to be able to come out this year and spend time with others in the community.
Cindy Payan of Chowchilla and Laura Peterson of Ahwahnee met and bonded while admiring copper jewelry created by area resident Mike Misaique.
Tandy French of Oakhurst checked out the art pieces, while her son, Christopher Warren, 10 and an Oakhurst Elementary School student, was content chewing his newly acquired candy. The Field family of Oakhurst have attended the festival for five years, ever since moving to the area. While holding her young son, Elexander, who was happily enjoying a chocolate covered strawberry, mom Amber smiled saying, “Chocolate and wine ... how can you not come?”
“I want to thank everyone for their help, and everyone who came out to make the festival such a huge success this year,” said Don Eaves, Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce president and chairman of the Fall Festival. “Overall the vendors were pleased, and some even prepaid to come back next year. The area hotels were filled, and the event worked well in conjunction with the half marathon. The Fall Festival is a community event to benefit the Oakhurst area, and anything the chamber can to do help our local businesses, that’s what we’re here for ... we look forward to seeing you all again next year.”