California Cities

Corning Olive Festival

Corning , California Photos, Information and Map Corning, California—Corning isn't corny, though some say it's the pits (olive pits, that is). The Olive City, home to the world's largest ripe olive cannery, might even be described as zany, especially during the annual Corning Olive Festival in August. That's when things that go on behind closed curtains are suddenly aired like yesterday's linens on the streets of Corning in the heated Bed Race, part of the antics at a community-fun celebration saluting Corning's favorite crop. It's the type of merriment you may find in a road stop along Interstate Highway 5.

The destination that features half a dozen olive tasting rooms also enjoys gourmet edibles such as fine almonds and walnuts grown and hand-picked at local orchards. You shouldn't go hungry in Corning with Lindsey Olive Company & Bell Carter Foods, Sunsweet (Dried Plums, Almonds, Walnuts and Peaches), Calico Groves fine Olive Oil Products, Nash's Olive Oil, The Olive Hut and Olives Inc.

For over 4,000 years olives have been enjoyed and their oils utilized in food preparation. In an earlier time, the olive branch symbolized peace and was extended to the enemy who was forced to acknowledge the conciliatory act. Corning embraces the olive and all it represents. While their annual car shows, contests, runs, races and competitions can get downright dirty (especially in the Lawnmower Competition at Olive Festival), everyone shakes hands and spends the rest of the year laughing about the fun they had.

Located two hours north of the historic California state capitol in Sacramento and less than an hour south of the gleaming Sundial Bridge in Redding, Olive City is much smaller than its neighbors. Less than 10,000 people live there but a typical day may see thousands upon thousands of cars and vehicles fly by on the Interstate that begins at the Mexico border in San Diego and continues onto Oregon and Washington states. The very first municipal auto camp was built in Corning in the early 1900's for travelers passing by and though the camp no longer exists, modern hotels with conveniences such as air conditioning and cable television are as popular as the first car park's offerings were.

At first glance you may hardly notice Corning. A few road signs announce hotels, shopping opportunities and the city's olive status. But what's noticeable is the landscape on which the signage stands—there's miles and miles of tan and gold-colored grasses, a few barns, farms and livestock, but nothing outstanding, except for the mountain peaks far away. Though their tops may appear white with a dusting of snow, you're not sure if you want to get out of the car when the temperature says it's 100 degrees. In the summer it can be hot in Corning, though locals say it's a dry heat that's quite tolerable. Tehama County is surrounded by snow-covered mountains including Lassen Peak with its still active volcano in Lassen National Volcanic Park, imposing Mt. Shasta, and the rugged alpine-looking Trinity Mountain Range.

Visitors and locals find several ways to cope with the heat. They sip lots of drinks, go to the lakes or head for the mountains where the air is cool. One of the closest spots to cool off is Black Butte Lake, featuring 40 miles of shoreline, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, hiking, picnicking and camping. Another recreational facility operated by the California State Parks system is Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area.

The oak woodland park nestled along the Sacramento River near Corning offers spectacular scenery, a boat launch ramp, broad sand and gravel beaches and great bird watching in the dense riparian forest. The Bald Eagle nests there in the winter months and the Yellow Billed Cuckoo enjoys its summers. Woodson Bridge, a 328 acre preserve, features over 100 plant species shaded by huge valley oak, California black walnut, Oregon ash, sycamore and willow trees. Look for elderberries, wild grapes and wildflowers that survive in the filtered light. Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area is located on South Avenue three miles west of Highway 99 at Vina, or six miles east of interstate 5 at Corning. Call: (530) 839-2112.

Though Corning, New York is home to a famous designer glass studio, it's not to be confused with Corning, California's shop called The Glassblowers. The California studio does design glass items from three generations of local glass artisans but the style of work is quite different and the prices more affordable. Open to the public, The Glassblowers is located at 2985 Highway 99 W. and South Avenue, Corning, CA 9602. Phone: (800) 886-7455.

The Corning Museum includes displays of clothing, tools, pictures and items dating back over 100 years. The exhibits represent the cultural heritage of Corning and Tehama County. Corning Museum, 2512 Fennell Rd., Corning, CA 9602. Call: (530) 824-5935

Nash's Olive Oil - It takes a ton of hand picked olives to produce between 15 to 20 gallons of quality olive oil at Nash's, home to Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Let them tell you why their oil is the best, freshest product on the market. Nash's Olive Oil, Street 1210 Solano St., Corning CA 96021. Phone (530) 824-5187.

More olives in Corning:
The Olive Hut, 3487 Highway 99W, Corning, CA 96021. Call: (530) 824-5920.
Olives Inc., Street Fig Lane Corning CA. Call: 925-634-4753

Special events in Corning include May Madness Show, Shine and Cruise and Corning Olive Festival in August. For additional events, see

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