27 Aug

Corning’s Olive Festival draws large crowd

By Stevie Ipsen,

olive festival bell carterCORNING – Though the town of Corning is not a large one, the streets of the Olive City seemed as deserted as a ghost town as people entered the city on Saturday – that is until they drove toward Woodson City Park, where not a parking spot could be found for blocks.

The 18th annual Olive Festival’s events took place at the city park, where it appeared as if the town’s population had doubled as locals and visitors alike sampled the flavor of the olive harvest and of Tehama County’s culture. “This is the most people I can remember ever being at the Olive Festival,” Nancy Molina of Corning recalled. “And I don’t think I have missed a year yet.”

Molina said she loves olives so there is no better place for her on Earth than Corning. She had her grandchildren with her at the event and said there was as much for them to see and do as for herself.

As festival-goers traveled up and down the aisles of vendor tents, the aromas of Dutch Oven brickettes and candy and sounds of chatting and laughter were all in the air, adding to the celebration atmosphere that lingers in Corning during the time of the olive harvest. While the young and the young-at-heart hustled and bustled through nearly 50 tents of food, crafts and games that businesses and agencies countywide brought to the festival, it was apparent that there really was something for everyone.

From the California Highway Patrol and the Tehama County Substance Abuse Prevention Center to crafts, jewelry and lemonade and rootbeer float stands, everyone at Corning’s signature event was sure to find something to please their personal interests as well as their palates. Rest and relaxation was also abundant for many whom had worn themselves ragged at the festival. People could be found napping on the grass as well as receiving massages from vendors.

Seven-year-old Idelle Walters was definitely among those who had worn herself out.

“I liked the shaved ice and the Dora the Explorer play land,” she said as she exited the blow-up Dora the Explorer tent out of breath.

Another Corning resident that will surely need some rest as the weekend wraps up is the newly crowned Miss Corning, Tara Panowski. Panowski said she had kept busy operating Butte Community Bank’s Dora the Explorer blow-up playground as well as being a food taster at the food contests and making appearances with her court at all of the day’s activities. She said it was fun to see how excited all of the little kids got when it was their turn to play in the larger-than-life playground.

“I think the parade and bed race were special events, because they were my first major ones,” Panowski said. “I think we will all be exhausted after today but I am really looking forward to the rest of the year as Miss Corning

.” As a 16-year-old girl, Panowski said one event that she can’t wait to attend is the car show in May and said she will be representing the city of Corning in the Miss Tehama County Pageant next year.

Panowski said, “I think any one that lives in Corning will agree, we are proud of our city, our olives and we have one of the best celebrations around.”

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