Big changes for Tracy bean festival
by Glenn Moore
Mar 17, 2014 | 13645 views | 10 10 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Visitors make their way down Central Avenue as they explore the 22nd annual Tracy Dry Bean Festival in 2008.  Press file photo
Visitors make their way down Central Avenue as they explore the 22nd annual Tracy Dry Bean Festival in 2008. Press file photo
The Tracy Chamber of Commerce hopes to bring the flavors of regional art and agriculture to downtown Tracy in a new September festival announced Monday to replace the Tracy Dry Bean Festival.

The Taste of the Valley Art & Food Festival will debut Sept. 6 and 7 with a focus on fine art, along with food and beverage tasting and entertainment. Admission to the festival remains free.

Mike Donaghy, chairman of the Tracy Chamber of Commerce board, said the new vision was a response to years of dwindling attendance. The bean festival was a downtown tradition for 27 years, starting in August 1987.

“Over the last few years we looked at, attendance and revenue were declining,” Donaghy said. “We want this to be a regional event. We are trying to make it more interactive and give people more things to do when they visit the festival in downtown.”

Donaghy said the festival’s emphasis on art would take the form of professional art displays and sales. He said he expected a call for artists in the next few weeks and hoped many local artists would get involved.

The new festival also aims to highlight regional crops. Both days of the Taste of the Valley Art & Food Festival will include a farmers market.

“We are reaching out to speak with other agricultural groups and get them involved,” Donaghy said.

With all the changes, the summertime festival will still feature beans and many familiar attractions. Favorites including a car display and children’s pageants will continue with new names.

“For those who like the old bean festival, those elements will still be there,” Donaghy said. “Many of the past vendors will return, along with more new ones. We’re adding new elements to give those people who have never come out to the festival a new reason to come.”

New to the downtown festival will be a wine and beer tasting section and a slightly different layout.

“It will not be the same footprint as the bean festival, but it will still be in downtown, including Central Avenue,” Donaghy said. “At this point, we are trying to include the Tracy Transit Center and the Downtown Plaza in the event, but it is still in the planning stage.”

The chamber of commerce has hired event planner Grace Paget of Captivating Moments Events Planning and Management to help organize the festival.

Applications for booths at Taste of the Valley Art & Food Festival will be available starting in April at the Tracy Chamber of Commerce office, 223 E. 10th St., or at

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or

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March 23, 2014
This sounds like other events that already take place downtown.
March 18, 2014
My two cents: get rid of almost all the booths that have absolutely nothing to do with beans. Why are most of the spaces taken by car dealerships, patio enclosure companies, house painters, banks and hawkers of assorted useless junk trinkets? Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate some non-bean things like the classic car show or a wine tasting area, or local food and art (real art, not cheap braided bracelets or other useless crap). What I can't stand is the crass commercialism of most of the booths and the fact that 95% of the booths have nothing to do with beans. If I want a painter or a new car I have no problem finding one online. Their inclusion in a "bean" festival holds no attraction for me.

I like the idea of moving it back to Lincoln park that someone else mentioned. Why force folks to bake in the reflected heat of endless pavement? Strolling on a nice grassy area would be much better.
March 23, 2014
Why are most of the spaces taken by ...patio enclosure companies...?

It gets hot.
March 18, 2014
You can change the name as many times as you would like but you won't make it profitable again until you change the way the Chamber thinks. Over the last 13 years the festival has gone down hill pretty fast and has stayed there. You can't have entertainment that people don't know or like, you can't go to the Stockton flew Market and get vendors. You need to scout at the Asparagus Festival, Gilroy Garlic Festival and other large festivals. I don't want to "stroll" downtown for knock off clothing or materials OR be hassled by Commercial businesses. Also the Chamber has forgoten many times about including the "BEANS" in the festival. It's sad to think that the Bean Festival started about the same time as the Stockton Asparagus festival and look how completely different they are. The Chamber used to pull in over 100K people every year up until Mike Schmidt took over as CEO.
March 18, 2014
I hope they keep the 5k and 10k races on opening day of the new festival just as they did for the Bean Festival. Though it would be really nice to revise the course a bit, as the 10k course is hardly shaded and always so hot.
March 18, 2014
I wish they would bring back the interesting craft and homemade goods, mom-and-pop type booths that they used to have. The vendors they have had here recently are not impressive. It looks like a flea market instead of a festival.
March 18, 2014
totally agree with you. I'm quite hopeful that this change will bring more homemade crafts and less knockoff sunglasses or $10 sheet sets.

March 18, 2014
"Downtown" tradition since 1987? That's a lie!

Tracy moved The Dry Bean Festival from Lincoln Park about the same time they killed most of the business on 11th Street. That would be 1995. When The Tracy Downtown Association(Gang)decided to try and revitalize the NOT real downtown by forcing possible customers into a hot congested, no parking,commercial based cattle feed. Yes, Let's change the name for sure. That will keep that not since 1987 tradition alive. I haven't been there since 1996. My business moved as soon as my business could, off 11th Street. Any time a business moves, It loses 1/2 it's customers. Why? People don't like change. Way it works.I didn't make the rules. What I see, The Dry Bean Festival died. Killed it like they did the business on downtown 11th Street. Keep attempting to herd folks into that "Pit". Remember this; Winners do what they need to do, Losers do what they want! It's a program of attraction. Put it back in Lincoln Park. Let people breath. Relax in the shade.Call a promoter and get some real entertainment. Stop forcing your will upon others. After all, It's suppose to be a festival.
March 18, 2014
Do you know what a C.A.F.O. is? It is a pathetic condition for other species. Interesting how we have created a system which seeks more and more to place ourselves in C.A.F.O.s (I would even argue some of our most popular art is created with the C.A.F.O. model in mind).

Real entertainment according to whom?

The Bean Festival--from my perspective--is a sardine fest. Hey, people like to amble and display themselves--and they have a right to dawdle this way.
March 19, 2014

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