THE GRAPE DAY FESTIVAL RETURNS TO ESCONDIDO
Escondido's century-old tradition is back this Fall!
Come one, come all, Escondido’s oldest and most famous event, the Grape Day Festival, returns on Saturday, September 9th, 2023 from 10 am - 4 pm. The festival will take place in Grape Day Park, home to the original festivals in the heart of Escondido and next to our beautiful City Hall and the California Center for the Arts.
The Festival will once again celebrate the early days of Escondido, when agriculture was “King” and festival goers traveled from all across the state to see why Escondido was hailed as a great place to grow sweet grapes and a central hub of citrus and other crops. From 1908 to 1950, it drew thousands of Southern Californians and rivaled Pasadena’s Festival of Roses in attendance. Revived by the Escondido History Center in 1990, it ran through 2018, and then again in 2022 after the Pandemic. This year, the History Center is once again bringing the Grape Day Festival to life, with a focus on celebrating the traditions of Escondido’s glorious past. Robin Fox, from the Escondido History Center recalls, “Grape Day is Escondido’s one-day history lesson, as well as a fun time for the whole family. And it’s free”
The festival is a family-friendly event, featuring old time entertainment from Swing Jazz to Bluegrass and other talented musical acts from the early 1900’s throughout the event. Across Grape Day Park will be artisans and crafters, showing how things were made back in the day, with live demonstrations of such things as spinning, weaving, corn shelling and grinding and butter making. Kids can compete in old-fashioned children’s games, get their faces painted and balloons twisted. Antique farm and mining machinery as well as early-century vehicles will be on display for all to see.
Take off your shoes and stomp some grapes, eat free table grapes, like they did back in the original festival, and let the kids enjoy the 4-H petting zoo and meet some exotic animals up close. Hollandia Dairy will be onsite with a cow milking display as well.
Taste the local flavor and head over to the wine and beer garden to savor the area's finest local wines and craft beers, with wineries participating from all across San Diego. “This is a great opportunity to taste local wines in one place, and San Diego is where California’s first grapes were grown” notes event coordinator Samantha Nawrocki. There will also be a food court, with tasty food offerings for everyone to enjoy, from Mexican food to Barbeque. Also, enjoy ice cream, hot popcorn, roasted peanuts, shaved ice, and cold drinks while you take in the festival. Local Native American, first responder, and other community organizations will be there to showcase their contributions to the community.
The Grape Day Festival is produced by the Escondido History Center, in partnership with the Brothers of 6 Charities, and our Title Sponsor is the Rincon Band. Brothers of 6 is a local organization dedicated to preserving history, honoring veterans, and enhancing the community. Bill McNaughton, Brothers of 6 President, said “We’re thrilled to join the History Center in reviving Grape Day. We hope to once again make this year’s Grape Day a fun and memorable celebration of Escondido’s agricultural heritage.”