Stockton Asparagus Festival
The 23rd Annual Stockton Asparagus Festival was held April 25-27, 2008 at the Downtown Stockton Waterfront. Resplendent with the new arena and the Sheraton at Regent Point, the Stockton Waterfront is a pleasure to visit anytime, but especially during the annual Asparagus Festival. Parking was well marked and reasonable at $10 per car, and there was the free "Asparabus" shuttle to drop you off at one of the three public entrances. Admission to the festival ranged from free to $10, depending on your age group. Several blocks of Center Street were blocked off for this well-organized festival. There were tie-ups available in front of the Sheraton for those who arrived by boat. The festival hours were 10:00am to 7:00pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
There were two stages for entertainment. The Main Stage at Weber's Point featured the Greg Kihn Band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and War. Nearby was the "Asparazone" which featured numerous rides for the kids. "Spear-It-Lane", aka Center Street, ran the length of the festival, and featured food vendors, the California Asparagus Commission, the KCRA 3 booth, and Asparagus Alley, where you could purchase deep fried asparagus, asparagus pasta, asparagus burrito, and asparagus tri-tip sandwiches for 3 tickets each. A ticket set you back $2.00. In the Spear-Its of the Valley tent, you could purchase local wines and beers as well as an "Aspara-Mary". Along Spear-It-Lane, you could find the "Aspara-Rita", as well as the usual sodas, water and beer.
At the north end of Spear-It-Lane were the Arts N Crafts and Celebrity Kitchen areas. The Arts N Crafts section was full of wonderful vendors and was located in a shaded, grassy area. The Celebrity kitchen featured performances by Martin Yan and others, as well as appearances by KCRA personalities. At the south end of Spear-It-Lane there were paddle boats, which looked like a great way to get cool. A cruise of the Port of Stockton boarded at Weber Point. There were plenty of events to keep the family busy for a day or more, including a deep fried asparagus eating competition, the Olympic Professional Pole Vault League, Tyson the Skateboarding BullDog, the California Repercussions, a farmer's market on Saturday, the Great Spear-It Run on Sunday, and much more. When you needed a break, there was plenty of shaded seating.
This is a non-profit festival, with proceeds benefiting over 100 non-profit organizations. The volunteer crew of 5,000 ensured a well run festival that was a joy to attend. The Stockton Asparagus Festival is held annually at the Downtown Stockton Waterfront on the last full weekend of April.