For the first time in 14 years, Yuba City did not hold the California Prune Festival this fall. In its place was an unnoticeably different California Dried Plum Festival. It’s name was changed to put a more positive spin on the food that becomes center stage for two days a year.
With a new name came the same attributes that have made this festival a success in the past: Namely ample food and good entertainment. Those in attendance expressed enjoyment with the venue, although shade tents seemed to be the most popular site.
Tents bulged with people for most of the day due to a cloudless sky and overbearing heat, but the heat didn’t stop everyone from trudging through the grass or kicking up dust between attractions. Attendants regularly patrolled the grounds, holding signs announcing the upcoming events.
A crowd favorite was Igor’s Jazz Cowboys, with their turn of the century clothing and rousing acoustic swing. During one performance, two members of Gator Beat watched from the crowd, having just finished a performance themselves.
Gator Beat plays an upbeat amalgam of Cajun and Zydeco music, straight from the bayou. Although the music is distinctly southern, each member hails from a different country and comes together to play dance music.
Many couples got up and danced during their performance, the atmosphere reminiscent of a backyard party full of friends and family. Another band causing movement on the dance floor was Barkin Dawg, a Dixieland Jazz band composed of musicians no older than 17. Appealing to those young and old alike was the Animal Band, dressed in colorful animal costumes and standing amidst a collection of giant inflatable ladybugs.
A crowd of eager children sitting in the grass echoed back lyrics about aliens and how to call 911.
Visitors were treated to many stands offering all kinds of food with or without dried plums. Of course there were many different prune based treats, such as the popular “French Kisses” and Prune Ice Cream.
The California Dried Plum Festival also featured an Artisan’s village, filled with crafts that drew a constant flow of people amongst its stalls. All items sold were made by local artisans.