For its ninth year, The Orinda Olive Festival returns to Wagner Ranch Nature Area on Sunday, Oct. 14, from 11:30 a.m.– 4:30 p.m., to celebrate “all things olive” and to raise funds for outdoor education programs. Organized by the Friends of Wagner Ranch Nature Area, the festival attracts over 1500 visitors from all over the East Bay. This year’s event, set to open with a tribute to Nature Area Champions Ann Alton and Mary McCauley of McCauley Olive Groves, will highlight six Bay Area olive oil vendors. Attendees can learn about and taste a variety of olives, olive oils and products from local growers, while the more creatively-inclined can make leafy crowns crafted from fresh olive boughs, among other craft projects. Docent tours through the historic ranch and olive grove will also be
Children who attend the festival can earn honey sticks from Steve Gentry’s Honey Bee station by having their Olive Passports stamped with pictures from a dozen activities. Visitors of all ages are invited to test their skills at the popular Pit Spit Challenge. Not only do participants get to taste delicious olives, they can win prizes for accuracy and distance. Volunteers from Scout programs, Others First at Orinda Intermediate School, Miramonte High School, A.L.M.A. Music Program, National Charity League, and Boys Team Charity, will be joining many other community volunteers to make this a memorable day for all.
The event is free and open for all ages. Arrive early for best parking. Food is available to purchase, or attendees can bring their own picnic goodies. The organizers love all animals, but only service dogs are allowed. For more details about the Olive Festival visit http://www.fwrna.org.
– Lynn Kalmar, Assistant Editor