Festival draws crowds to downtown

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By Monique Larkin

A classic Ferris wheel and a spinning ride Tornado on Market Street during the 2006 Orange Blossom Festival on May 21. (Chris Ullyott)

By Monique Larkin

An entire weekend is given to celebrate orange blossoms.

The smell of funnel cakes, barbecue, corn on the cob and kettle corn once again filled the streets of Riverside for the annual Orange Blossom Festival.

The festival which took place May 20-21, offered train rides, balloons, and plenty of interesting people who came out to enjoy the celebration of the city’s heritage.

The Orange Blossom festival was originally designed to show the cultural side of Riverside, but it has slowly has become an event that may have deterred from its origin, as volunteer Liz Woodford pointed out.

She diligently pedaled away on the wooden orange sizer that was placed in front of the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. She showed spectators how women used to do the tedious process of sizing oranges in the “old Riverside days.”

“Oranges today are sold by their size and not by their pound,” Woodford said. “Not too many people know that.”

Several genres of bands entertained the crowd on the seven stages there. The bands ranged from heavy metal to barbershop.

The music of the festival appeared to be the most attractive attraction to plenty of people who were there–or maybe it was the microbrewery.

Plenty of sights and sounds may have overwhelmed the crowd as many activities that took place simultaneously. Of course, depending on what part of the festival a person happened to be at a particular time.

For example, while a certain festival participant could enjoy a free Ralph’s sample of it’s own creamy peanut butter, another participant could be enjoying a motorcross or a cookware expo.

Some festival goers enjoyed watching local artists draw expressive chalk art, while others enjoyed watching their children smile on a train ride.

Clay pots and murals were made visual, and a carnival with all of its perks was made available to all who were willing to enjoy it.

For many Riverside residents as well as other visitors, the festival is always something to look forward to, but due to this year being the second year that violent fights have broken out, city officials called for an immediate termination of the event.

Plans are to introduce, in the future, a more culturally based event that will be more family oriented.

View more photos of this event here

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