Pistachio festival a winner
Disappointment for vendors.
The 2011 Newberry Springs Pistachio festival on November 5th offered a
good time for residents to get out in cool but comfortable weather and meet neighbors. Despite
rain the previous day, the weather cleared for the festival with temperatures ranging from 40
to 60 degrees under clear skies and a slight breeze.
The festival appeared well organized with another annual increase in the
number of vendors. Southern California Edison presented the largest entry with the return
of its huge mobile display vehicle promoting the merits of conservation. Unfortunately,
due to the vehicle's fuel guzzling weight, it left some tire depression holes in the baseball
field which needed to be later filled-in by the park's maintenance.
Attendance appeared to be definitely down this year with an estimated
1,000 visitors. Factors for the decline were credited by some to be the previous day's
rain and the cool morning temperature.
Local residents attending the event looked to be having a good time
taking their annual trek around the usual hometown booths, chatting and relaxing.
Many vendors, however, appeared disappointed at closing time;
especially those who traveled a distance in order to peddle their wares. Not only was the
attendance down, but the visitors attending did not spend much.
One food vendor, who had good
sales last year, was excited to return this year. He had stocked-up with perishable food
that he expected to sell. Food is a good yardstick to measure an event's sales trend.
At closing time, he estimated that his sales were off 70% from the previous year.
Paul Owen, an art vendor from California City, had a fascinating display
of large heavy yard art. While reloading his truck-pulled trailer to return home, he
estimated that he had barely sold enough to pay for his vendor's site; and that he was at a loss
for the expenses of his 180-mile roundtrip and time.
For the visitors, the free festival proved to be a fun event.
For some vendors, they may not be back.