Hollister, California is a real town that has been around since the 1870s. Unlike the fictional town created by a corporate clothing company, Hollister is no where near a beach. The town is about 45 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. Seagulls occasionally make their way over the mountains. Hopefully, they are able to find their way back.
That's the theme of the 2015 San Benito County Fair, which is a four day affair this year. It starts this Thursday, October 1, and ends on Sunday, October 4. Thursday through Saturday, the fair's hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 7.p.m. The carnival opens at noon on all four days.
10 Things I Look Forward to at this Year's County Fair
1. Viewing the beautiful crafted and creative quilts.
2. Visiting thegoats, baaaaa, and chickens, bwak, bwak, bwak.
3. Looking at the art entries by students from the various elementary schools.
7. Guessing how much the rock weighs at Graniterock's booth.
9. Cheering on the All-Alaskan racing pigs.
10. Wandering around the fair with the Husband, simply enjoying ourselves.
Admission to the Fair
Daily gate admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children, 6 to 12, and $7 for seniors (60 and older). Children who are five or younger get in for free. On Thursday, gate entry for children, ages 12 and younger, is free. On Friday, admission for Seniors is $6. And, on Saturday, admission for all active and military people is free with military I.D.
Parking is $5 per car. San Benito County Express offers a free shuttle on all four days of the fair. The shuttle drops off passengers at the fair is front of the Pavilion. The shuttle begins running at 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. on Saturday, and 12 noon on Sunday. Click here to see the schedule and bus stops.
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Folklorico Juvenil de Lucy Rodriguez of Hollister is a dance troupe made up of girls and boys between the ages of 3 and 15. The dancers perform a variety of traditional Mexican folk dances, under the guidance and instruction of Lucy Rodriguez.
The group performs at various local events. The pictures here show them at last Saturday's Music in the Park at Dunne Park. They're slated to perform at the San Benito Olive Festival at Bolado Park on Saturday, October 17, 2015.
Ms. Rodriguez invites any child interested in becoming part of the dance troupe to come to its practice on Tuesday, from 4 to 5 p.m., at Mr. O's Academy of the Arts.
This afternoon is another Music in the Park concert in Dunne Park, at the corner of Seventh and West Streets. The free event, sponsored by Mr. O's Academy of Music, is from 4 to 6 p.m. Bring your own low-back chairs or blankets. Snacks, too. No alcohol is permitted in the park.
The Moondance Band, a 60s rock & roll band featuring Rich Haggett, performs from 4 to 5 p.m. Folklorico Juvenil, a children’s mariachi dance group featuring Lucy Rodriguez, performs from 5 to 6 p.m.
It's not often when I come across a place or thing called San Benito outside of San Benito County. Same with Hollister, Tres Pinos, or Pinnacles. So, when I do see something, I automatically think of home. For instance, the other day, while wandering Main Street in Half Moon Bay, the Husband and I saw a San Benito Hotel, San Benito Deli, and San Benito Ale House.
Have you ever seen the 1930s cartoons in which inanimate objects, such as tables, chairs, and coffee pots, are dancing to popping music, such as "Jumpin' Jive" from Cab Calloway? The coffee bean roaster at Vertigo Coffee reminds me of those cartoons.
This is tasting room for the Pietra Santa Winery in the Cienega Valley above Hollister. I always forget how beautiful and magical it is up by the winery.
Pietra Santa is Italian for Sacred Stone. The sacred stone in this case is the amazing soil from which grape vines and olive trees grow to produce crops for award winning wines and olive oils. To learn more about Pietra Santa, check out its website or Facebook page.
On the north side of Hawkins Street, between Monterey and San Benito Streets, is this concrete hitching post from a long time ago. Perhaps as far back as the early 1900s. If anyone knows more about this hitching post, please leave a comment.
Lately, I've noticed the demise of long-time trees around town. That tree stump, for example, was on San Benito Street last week. Neighbors on my street pulled out several handsome Italian cypress more than 20 years old because their roots were starting to disrupt the neighbors' water lines. The other day, I saw trees laying on their side in an orchard and wondered if the owners took them out because they couldn't water them.
Hopefully, the trees will be replaced with other types of trees or some kind of plant life that are drought resistant. We need plant life for the simple reason that they produce the oxygen we breathe.
The Husband and I experienced another first yesterday evening. We attended a function in the courtyard of the Hacienda de Léal in San Juan Bautista. It was quite pleasant, sitting beneath the Manzanillo olive trees as we talked with friends, ate pizza and desserts from The Grove Restaurant, and watched the night fall.
On the Husband's and my walk the other day, we stopped under a towering bush of pink flowers on Hawkins Street. Because the flowers were a brilliant pink and oh so pretty. Because the bush casted delightful shade to rest beneath for a bit. Because it was a nice view of Washington Street.
Yesterday morning, the Husband and I read on Facebook that Brewery Twenty Five delivered a freshly brewed keg of stout beer in Hollister. Our quest was on to get a taste of the beer handcrafted by local brewers Sean and Fran Fitzharris. We knew it could only be deliciously out of this world. And, if we didn't act fast, we would miss out yet again on tasting their brew.
Although the young couple established Brewery Twenty Five a couple of years ago, it has only been in the last few months that they have started selling their beer to retail outlets. Because the beer is brewed in small amounts, Brewery Twenty Five is not at the point yet to have a regular delivery schedule. When you hear that so-and-so has it on tap, be sure to get there tout de suite. It won't be available for long.
Yesterday evening, the Husband and I did end up drinking a pint of the brewery's Many Moons Stout. It was absolutely amazing and very smooth. After a couple of sips, I was no longer in a grouchy mood. I think it tastes better than Guinness, and at one point the stout reminded me of Courvesier.
The delightful Sean and Fran happened to be at the Running Rooster bar last night. They told us that beer was made with an expresso blend from Vertigo Coffee and cacao nibs from TCHO, a chocolate company in the SF Bay area. I can imagine making an ice cream float with Many Moons Stout. Yummm!
Yesterday afternoon, the Husband and I opted to take the bus to Downtown to pick up our car from the shop. We had enough exercise from walking home earlier, after a yummy breakfast at Cozy Cup Cafe. The walk under the trees on Monterey and San Benito Streets was delightful, passing by a lot of cute old houses. We couldn't get over how big some of the lots were.
This was our fifth bus ride on the San Benito County Express. The other times were taking the bus to and from the county fair the last two years. For free, too. I keep digressing, don't I? The bus ride to downtown was short and sweet. And, because it our first time, we made it a fun adventure. Not that were rubes about taking buses. Both the Husband and I used the public transportation system regularly when we lived up in the Bay Area for many years, once upon a time.
The Blue Line runs about 35 minutes apart so it was important we got to the bus stop on time. An elementary school kid was doing his math homework when we got there. The sweet kid was obviously a regular bus rider. He took us old people under his wing. He assured us that we hadn't missed the bus. "It'll be here at 2:55." He also told us that without a discount, the fare is a dollar.
As we rode along, I wondered if more people will take to the buses as Hollister gets even more bigger.
Last Sunday was the Mexican Independence Day Parade in Downtown Hollister. It was a fun, lively parade that honored the anniversary of Mexico's independence from Spain. The parade featured Mexican brass bands, caballeros, señoritas, traditional Aztec dancers, cute children, and more. Here are a few photos from Sunday's parade.
If you would like to see more photos, check out my Facebook album. You don't need to log on or be a member to access it.
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The olive trees in the parking lot at the corner of Sixth and East Streets are bearing fruit now. Be careful where you walk. I wonder if anyone gathers the olives.
Speaking of olives, the third annual San Benito Olive Festival is a month away—Saturday, October 17, 2015 at Bolado Park. Our county's fun, foodie event features olive oils, chocolates, Blenheim apricots, wines, and other products that are grown and produced in our area. To see the growing list of participants, check out this page at the San Benito Olive Festival website.
The Mission San Juan Bautista cemetery overlooks the San Andreas Fault and the San Juan Valley. This burial ground is accessed through the mission. Historians say that over 4,000 people of the Mutsun tribe were buried in the cemetery during the mission period. The last Mutsun was buried there in 1930.
Tomorrow is the Mexican Independence Day Parade in Downtown Hollister. The parade celebrates the day—September 16, 1810—that Mexico declared independence from Spain. The parade will start at 11:30 a.m., according to online sources. It will march down San Benito Street, turning at Fifth Street.
Traffic karma was on our side and the Husband and I were able to safely pull into the parking lot of Market 25 on Bolsa Road (aka Highway 25) yesterday. Our first time there. It was at the end of the day, so there wasn't much produce left. But, we did buy six ears of corn for a buck, as the sign along the highway stated. The corn was yummily sweet.
Market 25 is one of three produce stands owned by Uesugi Farms, of which the other two are in Morgan Hill and Saratoga. (By the way, Market 25 is located on the Gilroy portion of Highway 25.) The owners are not kidding when they say they sell local fruits and vegetables. Some produce, such as strawberries, corn, and peppers, are grown by Uesugi Farms. Others are from local farmers in Hollister, Gilroy, Castroville, and other nearby areas.
The stand also sells jams and juices from Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville. We learned that every Thursday, around noon, Gizdich Ranch delivers a frozen assortment of their delicious pies. Whoo-hooo! Guess who will be stopping at Market 25 one of these Thursday afternoons.
To learn more about Market 25, check out its website.
The old magnolia trees on Monterey Street next to the old courthouse make wonderful shade—delightful on very hot days like today. Look closely at the sturdy trunks of these handsome living things. See anything? This one, for example, looks like it might be a guard in stealth mode.
The next time you're in Aromas, about 18 miles to the west of Hollister, check out the huge, cheerful, colorful fish hanging out in the Aromas Town Square Park. It's bound to put a smile on your face.
The mosaic fish made up of smaller fishes was created by over 200 Aromas residents and friends. The story goes that the Aromas Fraternal Order of Eagles thought it would be a great idea to have public art on display in the community park. So, naturally, the Eagles approached the Aromas Hills Artisans. They brainstormed and brainstormed. Then, pop! Big Fish in a Small Town.
The perfect idea was inspired from a trip Aromas artist and resident Tina Baine took to the Camcheon Culture Village in Busan, Korea where she saw an art display of a big fish made up of smaller fishes that looked like the big fish's scales. The art project began in November, 2014.
Residents gathered at community events, such as the Aromas Grange Breakfast, and at community venues, such as Aromas School, as well as at homes to paint little fishes. On April 12, 2015, the gorgeous Big Fish was installed in the Aromas Town Square Park, across from Aromas Library.
To see more photos of the Big Fish in a Small Town, check out this page at the Aromas Hills Artisans website. Also, check out this interesting article by Tina Baine about the Big Fish project and the inspiration behind it.
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