For nearly 100 years, the annual Capay Valley Almond Festival has showcased the Capay Valley and its communities — Rumsey, Guinda, Brooks, Capay and Esparto. The regional festival, which takes place this year on Sunday, Feb. 24, traverses a 21-mile route along Highway 16, with each site offering different activities and unique atmosphere.
Early spring in the Capay Valley is one of the best times to experience the area’s distinct beauty. The almond blossoms begin to flower in February and continue through March, creating a stunning backdrop for the event’s numerous activities.
To help navigate, the “Blossom Trail Map” was developed to provide a vibrant, spring-bloom tour of the event. View this guide at blossomtrail.org. Featured are family-friendly fun, food and a variety of arts, crafts, local products and produce. Start off at either end of the valley with a homemade breakfast.
Festival highlights include:
* The Almond Queen dinner to introduce the newly crowned event queen on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the historic Western Yolo Grange and sponsored by Rumsey Improvement Association;
* A 10K fun run Saturday, Feb. 23, sponsored by the Esparto Unified School District. Applications are available at espartok12.org;
* The Almond Festival Golf Tournament at Yocha Dehe Golf Club on Saturday, Feb. 23. Tournament information is at yochadehegolfclub.com;
* Other highlights include a diaper derby, hayrides across the historic Rumsey Bridge, a demonstration of how almonds are harvested, a car show, barbecue, local wine-tasting, live music, book sale, farmers market, petting zoo, wool-spinning demonstrations and a blacksmith working his craft.
Refreshments include almond blossom ice cream, corn dogs, caramel apples, tri-tip, barbecued oysters, local sausage sandwiches and lots of delicious almonds.
For more information, times and complete details, including an event map, visit capayvalleyalmondfestival.com.