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Asparagus fest ends 29 year run in 2014

Farewell to the Stockton Asparagus Festival
Farewell to the Stockton Asparagus Festival
Christina Rivas-Louie

Stockton, Calif.-- The Asparagus Festival Board of Directors announced the largest charitable festival in the state of California, the Stockton Asparagus Festival, will not return in 2015 for the 30th annual celebration.

Asparagus Fest ends 29 year run in 2014
Christina Rivas-Louie

In a press release issued by the board on Tuesday, the decision to end the festival followed numerous discussions among the directors and key stakeholders including the Executive Festival Committee and the City of Stockton.

"As a result of several conversations and the many meetings by Festival Board of Directors it has been determined, by unanimous action, that the time has come to say farewell to an important and huge part of our community fabric and history," the statement said.

The announcement was made just seven weeks after the Asparagus Festival completed its 29th annual three day run from April 25-27.

On opening day of this year, the festival was met with a rainy and windy storm which lead to an early afternoon closure due to safety concerns. Smaller storms rolled in throughout the city for the remainder of the festival weekend.

The inability to meet the mission of contributing back to local charities was one of the many reasons identified in the decision to end the Asparagus festival according to the announcement. Many charitable organizations volunteer at the festival at vendor booths, kitchens and other capacities to earn proceeds for their California community based organizations.

According to CBS Sacramento, the 2014 attendance numbers slumped to 55,000. Over the last six years, records show the spring festival's attendance dropped to 75,237 visitors in 2013, down from 104,158 attendees in 2012. In 2011 there were 103,000 festival-goers, compared to 85,000 people in 2010 plus the same number again in 2009, and lastly there were 110,000 visitors in 2008.

Stockton Asparagus Festival donations to local non-profits in recent years:
• 2013 $63,550
• 2012 $325,000
• 2011 $351,457
• 2010 $361,574
• 2009 $276,507
• 2008 $461,912

The Stockton Asparagus Festival donated over $6 million back to local non-profits since it began in 1986.

More information about the Stockton Asparagus Festival is available on the event website.