Patrons braved the warm sunshine in downtown Riverbank to participate in the final edition of the annual Family Night Out/Farmers Market on Friday, July 28.
This year was the first time the market has been held on Fridays since its inception in 2003. In the past, it was held on Wednesdays. Originally organized and sponsored by the City of Riverbank, the first couple of years saw the event held at Third and Santa Fe streets. Then it moved to Community Center Park, then to the Plaza del Rio Park across from city hall. When redevelopment work demolished streets in downtown, the event was moved to the parking lot between Cool Hand Luke’s and the Galaxy Theatres, on Patterson Road, but it has since returned to the Community Center Park.
Over the years, the market has been sponsored by the city, the Downtown Business Association, City Council Member Dotty Nygard, along with the Community Gardens, and now the Chamber of Commerce. After city employees stopped participating, all workers are volunteers.
This past Friday saw a small but enthusiastic turnout to the final day’s market. In addition to grower Delfa’s Garden, from Escalon, participants included the Central Valley Resource Center’s food booth, where hot dogs and hamburgers as well as tacos, quesadillas and other tasty fare were served up, along with ice cold beverages.
Inside the cool Community Center, two features drew participants, a cooking demonstration and accompanying wine tasting.
The food demonstration was supervised by Emily Cowdrey, of the Culinary Arts classes at Riverbank High School. She was assisted by students Damien Lopez, Robert Mendoza and Francisco Luna, all seniors. All three boys are preparing for their second semester in the class.
Immediately adjacent was a table set up with wine samples from E & J Gallo Winery. It was overseen by board member and council member Darlene Barber-Martinez. Taste samples there included Merlot, White Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Red Moscato wines.
Across the park, at the Community Pool, the city offered a free swim to families for the evening. Included were new features, a log roll, and several large inflated items that proved popular.
Also outside, youngsters found the free bounce house had returned to the park.
Between the pool and the bounce house classic cars were parked, for enthusiasts to view and discuss with owners. At the end of the evening, the Chamber of Commerce announced the People’s Choice Awards, based on popular voting over the eight-week run of the market.
Chamber board member Bill Robinson made the awards. Chet Fulton received the third place certificate for his 1970s Cadillac, and Andy Rodrigues was presented second place for his 1938 Ford sedan, so “customized” with parts from other vehicles as to be kind of incognito. First place was awarded to Charles Bumgarner for his 1948 Chevrolet pickup truck.