413 E. Lockeford Street, Lodi, CA 95240
Each fall in September Lodi Grape
Festival celebrates the annual harvest
celebration, a tradition celebrating 78 years
The Festival promotes the agriculture and agricultural products of San Joaquin County
in a unique, family oriented event
that includes Lions Clubs, 4-H Clubs, Boy Scouts, Future Farmers of America, Farm Bureau
and Grange Associations. Organizations raise money by selling products at the Festival or by entering competitive exhibits offered each year. Well over $150,000 is raised annually by non-profit groups as a result of the Festival, in addition to the more than $30,000 in prize money paid out by the Festival each year to individuals and
groups. Over 77,000 people attend the
event annually during the four day run,
making it one of the biggest, most
successful events of the year.
Live entertainment, carnival rides,
contests, and the annual grape stomp are
a few of the activities to look forward
to at this fun festival that's quite
affordable (under $10 admission last
time we went!)
It began during the Great Depression in 1934,
and has grown to become a popular
tourist attraction drawing guests from
around the globe. The first Lodi Grape Festival opened on Sept. 7,1934. The three-day event was based at the Southern Pacific Railroad Park along Sacramento Street by the Lodi Arch.
There were festival activities
scattered throughout the city-- downtown park along Sacramento Street
included the festival featured grape exhibits and amusement rides
such as the giant Ferris wheel and
merry-go-round. Set up in other areas of
the city were a swimming and diving
event at the Lodi Baths (at today's Hale
Park), Japanese wrestling and donkey
baseball at Lawrence Park, a golf
tournament at the Woodbridge Golf and
Country Club, a dog act at Pine and
School streets, dancing at Eagles Hall,
boat races and fireworks at Lodi Lake
and stunt flying at nearby Lind's
Grape murals, a trademark of the Lodi Grape Festival, first made their appearance in 1950. In the beginning, grape bunches were used to depict artistic scenes on flat boards. Later, the technique was refined, and individual grapes were glued down to create the colorful designs.
Clubs, school groups and individuals compete for cash prizes
in this event.
In 1976, the festival expanded to four days.
A Kiddie Parade, held in downtown Lodi on the Saturday morning of the festival, remains a popular festival event.
There have been many changes over the decades, but the Lodi Grape Festival remains a September tradition of honoring the community and the grape harvest.