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 www.tracychamber.org.
• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or email@example.com.