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Weekend Festival A Huge Success
This year's Cheese & Wine Exposition was very successful, it was generally agreed among officials connected with the weekend event.

Now in its 33rd year, the annual street festival and fair always held on the second weekend in October, draws thousands to an event that offers wine and cheese tasting, live music, plenty to eat, many artisan and other booths and amusements for the children.

"It was a wonderful event, a dynamite turnout and fantastic weather," said Carla Strong, president of Riverbank Rotary Club that has staged the Exposition for the last few years.

"I just finished talking to Bill Pooley (Chief of Police) and he said there were no law enforcement problems. It was just a good family environment. And we will have some funds left over to put back into the community, which we didn't have last year."

Having the downtown redevelopment project finished was a great asset. The KAT Country stage was back at the west end of Santa Fe Street. As always, it was a big draw and some of the stores opened their doors and did good business.

"I hear Mary Beth's, the new restaurant, for instance, had a dynamite day," Strong said, adding, "Legoland was a fantastic attraction."

Strong thinks the toy building company will be doing more of these tours as it emphasizes interactive games and offers children what is both enjoyable and educational.

"It was a great event for the community. The local people turned out. And working at the information booth I got a lot of calls from places like Modesto, Tracy and Stockton asking how to get to the festival," she added.

Ken Geisick, who chaired Rotary's steering committee for the event along with coordinator Chris Elswick, Al Veldstra and other members, also was very pleased with the outcome of their work.

"This was the fourth year that Rotary has been in charge and this was the best year," Geisick said. "There was a variety of vendors, great entertainment for the kids and the downtown renovation created a great setting. The live music, especially on the new community stage, was enormously popular. I heard a lot of positive comments too on the wine tasting and cheese pavilion."

City Manager Rich Holmer said he was doing volunteer work in the community garden booth and later in the cheese pavilion and found "there was a good crowd having a great time. I'm always surprised how knowledgeable people are about cheese."

Holmer also observed the popularity of the community stage in the new Plaza Del Rio and expected it to become a great entertainment venue in the future.