The Madera District Fairgrounds became flooded with people who came for the 6th annual Pomegranate Festival, which proved to be the largest one yet.
The Saturday morning event was put on by the Madera Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Alliance Committee.
“The Pomegranate Festival was put together to have a tourist attraction on the valley floor that highlights agriculture in our area, but primarily the pomegranate, and it’s a way to capture people to come to Madera and enjoy what Madera has to offer,” said Alliance Committee chair Julie Herd. “Maybe even stay the night, and go to Yosemite the next day.”
While agriculture is the biggest driver of Madera County’s economy, Madera relies also on tourism, which Herd and others in the Alliance Committee hope to boost.
Last year, the Pomegranate Festival was at the Madera Municipal Airport, attracting approximately 7,000 people. This year, according to Herd, that number jumped to an estimated 10,000 people, making it the biggest turnout since they started holding the festival.
The festival, using the motto “go nuts,” also pointed to the nut growers of Madera County, whose efforts produce the biggest crops in the area, in addition to the 3,000 acres of land devoted to the festival fruit’s namesake. In recognition of this, vendors and booths incorporated the pomegranate into their recipes and products whenever possible
“This is a celebration of one of the most mysterious and loved fruits,” said Alliance and chamber CEO Debi Bray. “And also a celebration of Madera County.”
The festival also featured music, games for those in attendance, classic cars on display, and booths run by Madera County’s first responders.
“This is a great opportunity for us to be out at the fairgrounds for the first time. We’re excited about it,” said Alliance Board of Directors member Jim Chin. “This gives us the opportunity to have more people become more exposed to the Pomegranate Festival. We also are really happy, because with a larger venue like this, we’re really connected to the community, as opposed to where we were previously.”
Following the success of the festival, the Alliance is already at work planning next year’s festival, in which they hope to surpass their achievements in 2016.