Table Five performs covers of popular songs under a tarp as a light rain falls at the start of the Carrot Festival Kickoff Concert on Friday evening, Feb. 9, in Holtville. The crowd that turned out to listen and dance was light at the start, but then the rain stopped and the attendance picked up. | CHRISTINA URIARTE PHOTO
HOLTVILLE — The 77th annual Carrot Festival Kickoff Concert featuring Table Five kicked off to some lighter than usual attendance on Friday night, Feb. 9, likely a result of the cold, drizzly weather.
Fortunately, Saturday, Feb. 10, would be sunny skies and perfect conditions for a full day of festivities that included the annual Carrot Races, a street fair, the much-anticipated parade and the debut of the Carrot Festival Mariachi Concert.
But those concert-goers who did turn out on Friday night were treated to a crowd-pleasing mix of popular cover songs, both in English and Spanish. The band played for more than two hours as people sang and danced along to their favorite songs.
Attendance did appear to pick up after the rain cleared out, bringing more people out to enjoy the music, the food, and the festivities. Tacos, hotdogs, kettle corn, and a beer garden were readily available under canopies for all to enjoy.
Coverage of Saturday’s 77th annual Carrot Festival events to follow.
Samantha and Christina Silva, both Holtville residents, agreed on why they enjoy the Carrot Festival, saying they both like that the community gets together every year and that there are options for the children. Additionally, one said she enjoys getting together with “people who moved away and came back.”
“The Carrot Festival is a constant; it will always be here,” one of the women said.
Jesus, owner of the Taco Shop, said he and his family and friends come out for the food, festivities and the music. He added, “We’re from Holtville; we do Holtville things.”
Similarly, Missy Birger and her friend, Cathy Samaha, came out to see old friends who gather at the park every year during this time. They like how the festival is very local and small but also something special and unique to their community. Birger added of the festival, “It brings a lot of people home.”
A group of teens echoed that sentiment as they waited in line to enjoy a carnival thrill ride. One of the girls said, “I like how it is something of our own,” referring to the festival’s hometown Holtville roots.
The carnival was adjacent to the concert, and youths of all ages could be seen flocking to the variety of rides and games available, both big and small.
Anticipation for the parade and continued festivities on Saturday could be felt in the air.
Yvette Rios, lifelong Holtville resident and Carrot Festival coordinator with the Holtville Chamber of Commerce, said she is very proud to be a part of this hometown event. “I’ve attended every year ever since I was a kid. It is very special to me.”