HOLTVILLE — The Street Fair at this year’s Carrot Festival in Holtville encompassed an entire city block Feb. 8 and attracted vendors and patrons from all over the Imperial Valley and beyond.
Festival attendees could find just about anything at the street fair from nick knacks to rasta hats and everything in between.
It seemed half the people at the festival were wearing green and gold T-shirts displaying their hometown pride with Holtville High School’s colors. The Holtville Threads booth saw non-stop action as Hornet clothing was in demand like never before.
“Holtville Threads have the best shirts in the world”, said Teresa Reichle, a Holtville native who returns annually for the festival. “I moved to San Marcos a few years ago but we try to come back every year for the parade (also held Feb. 8).”
Reichle spoke about how the street fair has grown in past decades: “The street fair is bigger. The parade is amazing as ever. It is still a community-oriented event.”
Iris Biederman of BK Stichers has been a vendor at the Carrot Festival for more than 40 years.
“The Street Fair used to be in the park. I like it more since they moved it to the street. We get a lot more people,” she recalled.
Although Biederman didn’t get a chance to walk around the market because she was busy selling her wares she was able to deduce, “Its big. I like the way they put food vendors next to the other vendors. That way people will come and see everything.”
Popular among the youngest attendees at the festival, Harlequin’s Entertainment stayed busy making balloon animals and face painting.
Business owner Tasha Robles said she started the business in 2015.
“We do face painting, balloon animals, story time for birthday parties. We also work with Pioneers Memorial (Healthcare District) to do hospital visits,” she said, describing her business aside from the Carrot Festival.
Also a Holtville native, Robles shared her insight about the popularity of this year’s street fair saying, “It seems a little bit slower this year than previous years. But it is still a great turnout.”
The Holtville Connection is a men’s Christian group that meets weekly in Holtville. The group worked hard to keep festival goers hydrated offering free coffee and hot chocolate.
“We are not in business. We are just trying to show God’s love in a practical way,” a member of the group, Carlos Canez, said. “We knew it was going to be cold and windy so we thought we would serve the community by providing hot chocolate.”
The Holtville Connection groups draws 10-15 people for its weekly Bible studies.
“We have been here since 5 a.m. There are lots of people at the street fair. It is very crowded,” Canez added. “Many people don’t believe we have free coffee. I tell them the only catch is a smile.”
Smiles were in abundance throughout the Carrot Festival and Street Fair.
The Holtville Chapter of Future Farmers of America attended the Street Fair in full force and was able to secure the only booth in the middle of the street for its produce station. Melanie Lopez, a 16-year-old Holtville High student, is the vice president the club and noted the event is already a tradition in her young life.
“I have been coming to the Carrot Festival my entire life. I see the festival grow every year. I have been helping at the produce station for the past four years,” she said.
Future Farmers of America is a student led-organization providing opportunities, leadership roles and conferences.
“We are here raising money for our state conference, which is the most important conference of the year. We are selling a variety of different vegetables and carrots supplied by local farmers,” Lopez added.
This year’s Carrot Festival felt like Holtville’s own version of the California Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta. The only difference was the entirely local element created by the Street Fair that left attendees eager and waiting for next year’s festival.
This story is featured in the Feb 13, 2020 e-Edition.