Kiwi plants have long been a staple in our community when we think back to our sister-city Te Puke, New Zealand and the many families who were instrumental in putting Gridley on the map for kiwi production.
In 1982, the Gridley City Council took the first steps to enter in to a sister-city relationship with the city in New Zealand and approved a letter be sent signed by Mayor Doris Long. Described by organizer Barbara Spink, who described Te Puke as a beautiful little community similar to Gridley, the Te Puke area was known as "The Kiwifruit Capital of the World."
In May 1983, the first two-day "Kiwi Blossom Festival" was held at the Butte County Fairgrounds with an equipment show, exhibitors explaining their products, the introduction of Miss Kiwi Blossom Tambra Patten of Biggs, followed by a BBQ dinner of New York Steak and the Marcy Brothers Band performing. The second day, on Saturday featured a panel discussion regarding, "Marketing: Past, Present & Future," was held in Goldies followed by lunch and a Recap on 1983 Kiwi Growing by Extension Pomologist Jim Beutel, according to The Gridley Herald's special edition.
Fast-forward to 2018 and on June 1, 2 and 3 the Butte County Fairgrounds will again be the location for a similar event entitled "North State Kiwi Fest," with many different types of events sure to draw a large crowd much like a street fest which Kenny is very familiar with, producing many over the years.
While many activities are being finalized it is safe to say there will be a rugby competition with at least six teams participating thanks to the Gridley Barbarians, a train show which will fill the very large Expo Hall, three stages for entertainment and a rodeo on Saturday thanks to the Butte College and local High School Rodeo teams. A ham radio group will give demonstrations and the Gridley Museum will hold a special yard sale Friday and Saturday full of great bargains.
Especially great for the kids, will be Midway of Fun Carnival bringing different rides that have never been to the Butte County Fairgrounds.
There are many opportunities for groups to be involved. See Kenny at the fair office with any ideas you would like to bring to the Kiwi Fest.
Be sure to reserve these dates for a visit to the Butte County Fairgrounds where kiwi's will be celebrated and where there will be plenty of entertainment for everyone. More information will be included in future articles as participants are verified.