Courtesy of the San Benito Olive Festival:
As we all launch into the fall — a time when many of us look to fortify our social and cultural schedules — we just want to give everyone a “heads-up” that there will not be a San Benito Olive Festival this year. We understand that there will be widespread disappointment on this count, but it’s important that this well anticipated family event be staged in an ever more professional and comprehensive way.
The past four years of SBOF festivals have been a great success in creating our wonderful sense of place. They have enabled countless local residents (not to mention nationwide and worldwide folks) to see and meet — some for the first time — the many talented artisans, creators, farmers, ranchers, chefs and entertainers that call this region home. To date, these joyful festivals have been brought together in a “grass roots” fashion — thanks to boundless, donated hours of hard work by MANY many dedicated individuals. Every festival is a yearlong “labor of love” for board members, committee chairs, and mighty “boots-on-the-ground” volunteers. Over and above all of the festival deadlines and commitments, there is also the day-to-day running of the SBOF 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The value of this unique festival is obvious, but the work load adds up — especially when most everyone has a full-time job, families to nurture, and outside lives to attend to. Without a full-time (or even part-time) manager/executive director to navigate, we collectively didn’t have the necessary time to pull together and orchestrate the quality event that everyone has come to expect.
Growing pains and realizations: At this point in its growth, the organization needs funding for an administrator — someone to manage the daily tasks, to research and apply for grants, to keep current on nonprofit regulations and updates, to organize and oversee the 20-plus committees, the 70-plus participants, and to maintain our valued relationships with many generous sponsors and 200-plus volunteers (mostly recruited by awesome non-profit organizations).
We’re extremely grateful to all those who care deeply about our community and have worked tirelessly (days plus nights) to make these exuberant Olive Festivals possible thus far! Our amazing decorators, especially — the talented designers and painters who consistently stepped up and transformed huge blank open spaces into gorgeous, harvest-style country festivals with stylish VIP Tasting areas. These beautiful settings helped SBOF to welcome all attendees into a magical San Benito County experience. Families, friends and foodies met up to taste award winning olive oils, world class wines and craft beers while sampling yummy treats along with being entertained by cooking demonstrations. Explorers of all ages reveled in local arts and crafts, olive wreath making, flower arranging, pumpkin painting, scarecrow building, music and dance performances. A great day for all participants to reach out and connect with the fabulous people and small businesses that make our county extraordinary.
For some of the 20-plus nonprofit organizations that made the festivals possible, it was a nice opportunity to meet potential donors and to reach out to new volunteers. For our olive growers, wine makers, craft brewers, farmers, food producers, merchants, artists and performers, it was a perfect stage to showcase their creations as well as share their passion, stories and processes. We were also very fortunate to have famous executive chefs, as well as, knowledgeable chefs from professional culinary academies and local schools, who could join us — bringing their culinary arts expertise, focusing on local ingredients, and then pairing these masterpieces with our region’s most delicious wines.
In order for the next Olive Festival to take place, to celebrate our endearing area and diverse talents, there is much work to be done. We’re looking for funding to make the aforementioned organizational manager or executive director a reality for SBOF. We’re also seeking active/working board members, committee chairs, and sponsors to help us in the growth process as we move forward.
In the meantime (in anticipation of the next Olive Festival), the remarkable photographer, Hanna Smith, has kindheartedly donated all of her photos from the 2017 Olive Photo booth. We will upload these large-size photos, one a day, onto the San Benito Olive Festival Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sanbenitoolivefestival so that everyone can share smiles in the memory of our most recent past festival — and can, also, embrace the future festivals — where many more delightful San Benito memories will be created.
Our sincere thanks to all, including news media, food publications/bloggers, for your tremendous support.