Chico >> Families from around Butte County celebrated the harvest season in John Bidwell’s front yard for the 13th annual Farm City Harvest Festival.
The Farm City Celebration is an agriculture community collaboration. Each year, a series of events are hosted at the beginning of November to celebrate the harvest. Their shared goal is to bring the farm into the city to educate and promote agriculture throughout the community.
“We have a lot of people that are from out of town, go to school or relocate their families, and we are such an agriculture-strong community that we do stuff like this so you can know what we do around here and what thrives,” said Theresa Schneider, the event chairperson.
Schneider is a farmer herself. She farms a couple hundred acres of almonds and walnuts in Chico with her family. Although she came from three generations of farmers in Butte County, she said farming is not the only way to be involved with agriculture.
“If you eat food and wear clothes, you’re involved with agriculture,” she said.
The festival held at the Bidwell Mansion typically lures in about 2,000 to 3,000 people each year. Schneider said they had a good crowd in spite of the rainy weather, though the numbers weren’t exactly what she was used to. Either way, families brought their children to celebrate.
“It’s always very positive because people don’t get this opportunity to learn how milk a cow, or to be out here,” she said. “We have nut cracking, plants, bees, tractors and all kinds of activities that kids and members of the community just don’t get to do every day.”
Since the first Harvest Festival at Bidwell Mansion 13 years ago, Schneider said the event has grown exponentially. The event originally started with five to 10 activities, and this year, the event was able to host 25 different attractions.
They included roping a dummy cow, petting bunnies, Dutch oven cooking with fresh pancakes and horse-drawn carriage rides. The free event also featured, antique and modern farm equipment, bee demonstrations, blacksmithing demonstrations and Bidwell Mansion tours. Some events, like Boy Scout Troop 2’s rope bridge, were canceled due to the rain. But, there were plenty of activities housed under canopies to entertain the annual crowd.
Schneider said that at the end of the day, her favorite part of the event is watching the joyful faces of kids who come to learn more about agriculture each year.
Other events Farm City Celebration is hosting this week include an agri-business bus tour and lunch on Wednesday. And, they will finish off the celebration next Saturday with a dinner dance and awards reception at the Sierra Nevada Big Room.