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Celebrate all things asparagus

For nearly four decades, the Asparagus Festival has served as a celebration to promote the area’s popular spring vegetable.

In the course of that time, the popular Asparagus Alley have dished out more than 10 tons of California-grown asparagus served up in a variety of ways.

The Noceti Group – led by entrepreneur Tony Noceti, a French Camp farmer and auto racer – has kept the event in Stockton, giving back more than $750,000 to non-profits since 2015.

The 38th annual San Joaquin Asparagus Festival is a three-day celebration featuring an array of asparagus-related dishes coupled with carnival rides and games, live music, chef demonstrations, and even Monster Truck rides.

All this and more will once again take place at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds at 1658 S. Airport Way on the weekend of April 12-14.

“Every year we have several more asparagus-related dishes to our already outstanding deep-fried asparagus and asparagus ice cream, such as dishes that have made their debut at the festival, present and past,” according to festival organizers.

This includes, but not limited to: bacon-wrapped asparagus, asparagus lumpia, pulled pork sandwich served on asparagus slaw, asparagus chicken bowl, asparagus corn dogs, asparagus chili cheese fries, asparagus nachos, chicken asparagus burrito, steak asparagus burrito, veggie asparagus burrito, asparagus pasta, deep-fried ground beef & asparagus wrap, steamed asparagus with garlic butter, crab & asparagus balls, asparagus churros, asparagus rice & Lo Mein, and mac & cheese with asparagus, to name a few.

The festival made its debut in 1986 as way to promote the area’s fresh market asparagus.

The inaugural event was held at Oak Grove Regional Park in Stockton – its home for several years before moving to downtown and later to the fairgrounds – and was created by the local economic development committee under the supervision of the City of Stockton.

The Stockton Art Commission, a division of the city, oversaw the event through 2015 – this division of the city was able to do it thanks to a local endowment fund.

Here’s a few of the highlights for 2024 San Joaquin Asparagus Festival:

Gastronomic Extravaganza – A culinary adventure with an array of asparagus-themed dishes. Foodies can explore the various options of this beloved vegetable.

Live Entertainment – A lineup of local bands and nationally acclaimed artists. The festival stag will kick it with sounds of diverse genres for every musical taste.

Family-Friendly Activities – From carnival rides and games to interactive exhibits, the festival’s Kids Zone features activities for children of all ages.

Asparagus Marketplace – This is where festivalgoers can discover unique and locally crafted items by artisans and vendors, from handmade crafts to specialty goods.

Educational Exhibits – Learn about the rich agricultural history of the San Joaquin Valley while gaining insights into the asparagus farming process and its significant role in shaping the region.

Community Spirit – The San Joaquin Asparagus Festival is not just an event but a chance for those in attendance to celebrate its agricultural heritage along with the pride and unity that define the city.

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