It really does take a village
October 29, 2022
The Apple Festival, on Oct. 15-16, was hugely successful, and the public truly enjoyed it from all reports. Once the event is up and running it may seem like a simple task, but the truth is, it takes a village to get it there.
It starts in March with vendor applications being revised with new dates and rules. Throughout the following months we update Facebook, Instagram and Google with all the updates, as well as all sponsorship agreements. By the end of the summer the event is fully insured and the process of getting permits from the City of Tehachapi, environmental health, the fire department and alcohol and beverage control begins. This year, we were sold out by the end of July, but the process of getting all the administrative bits done continues until the license to sell beer and wine arrives days before the event.
By end of September the hard work really starts. We do a complete inventory and organization of all the supplies and needs of the event. We evaluate what purchases need to be made and ensure everything will arrive in plenty of time. We are creating maps and laying out the event to make sure similar vendors aren't too close to one another. We have to consider vendor requests, make sure each vendor gets the space they applied for. It's a time-consuming task. Getting that info out to the more than 100 vendors takes time, too.
By the week before the event, we need to mark the streets with booth lines and numbers so vendors can find their space. All the inventory is pulled, cleaned and loaded. An amazing group of people joined me this year in doing these chores. I must thank Jill Davies, Jani McGuire, JoAnne Eck and Lorna Nyberg for measuring and marking spots. Thank you, Cliff Meredith of Stray Leaves, for the fun tour of your wine tasting room after we marked the spots. The following day, the same group, plus Nilly Smith, Boyd Nyberg, Jon Eck and Dave McGuire rallied and got all those tables, chairs, sandwich boards, games, etc., cleaned and loaded. Richard Silva was invaluable in driving the truck and trailer to town and then helping unload, set up, hang banners and generally lend a hand in what needed to be done.
The American Legion Ladies Auxiliary helped to make sure vendors found their correct spot and then helped with getting some of the necessary elements of the event in place. Boyd Nyberg set up the sound system and the very same group who helped load up did whatever it took to get the event features set up and running, all while the vendors continued to set up the 103 booths with their wares.
Face painter, Terri Barillas, set up her area; Windswept Ranch's petting zoo arrived and got all the animals in place; the puppet show, run by David and Dalton Steelereed, was set in place; and the Tehachapi High School Cheerleading Squad arrived to help Caitlyn Havis, my terrific daughter, and Nilly Smith finish setting up the gaming area. I had to ask Vincent Hernandez, who was there as my event photographer, to help unload and get games set up, which he did incredibly willingly. At the completely other end, in the Depot lawn, bounce houses were being inflated and the Tehachapi Wrestling Club were setting up to sell bracelets and tickets. They provided a safe environment for kids to enjoy a playground of bounce houses.
The Lions Club and Rotary Club of Tehachapi set up a booth to finish selling tickets for the Apple Drop, which is highly anticipated. At the designated time they had the crane, the target and all the rubber apples in place for the event. The Salvation Army sent a group from their youth program to help us out with keeping the event garbage friendly and sanitary.
Bands arrived throughout the two days of the event to perform live in Centennial Plaza. We started with Mike Heckathon, then Beechwood Recording Artist James Lee Stanley and friends. We ended with the rockin' sounds of Big Game Tickets on Saturday. A harmonic duo, Walt and Pam, opened Sunday and we finished with the lively music of Acme Music, featuring Opal with a guest appearance by Michelle Fulton. There was dancing in the plaza and entertainment all day long. Thanks to my "funco" crew who checked IDs so Westlane Brewery and Tehachapi Winery could serve wine and beer on Saturday and Sunday.
A big shout out the entrants for the Pie Eating and Pie Baking Contests this year. These are both fun events and reinforce the apple theme of the Apple Festival. Plus, how great was the Vintage Trailer Show! Ten trailers arrived Sunday morning and hosted a slew of people to view both the exterior and interior of these amazing odes to camping past.
The traffic, both vehicles and foot, was never ending and I want to thank Theresa, Terry and Missy for doing an exceptional job of getting people and cars through that insane intersection at Tehachapi Blvd. and Green Street. Plus, thanks to the Tehachapi High School Football coaches and team members for your assistance in collecting and loading everything back up, and generally helping to get Green Street back for business. A special thanks to the Wiehn ladies for helping to clean up all the "little stuff" on the streets.
A big shout out to the sponsors of the event. Without the financial and in-trade support of sponsors, this event would NOT happen. BHE Renewables, Alta One, Terra Gen, Rio Tinto, Tuff Shed, The City of Tehachapi, Waste Management, The Loop newspaper, Tehachapi Living Magazine and the Tehachapi News.
People, friends, organizations, vendors, sponsors and you the public who choose to attend the event and purchase from the vendors, are the best village in the best town that an event producer could ever ask for.