Like most events in California, the 2020 Walnut Festival was cancelled but returned the past two years with excellent attendance witnessed by long lines at both entrances to the event in Heather Farm Park.
This year’s event, themed “87 Years- Small Acts of Kindness Builds a Strong Community” was reportedly scuttled due to a lack of volunteers to work the four-day event scheduled for Sept. 21-24. The festival website advertises the dates of Sept. 26-29 for a 2024 festival.
The first Walnut Creek festival was in 1911, a celebration of the grape harvest called The Grape Festival. During prohibition, grapes were replaced with walnuts as the cash crop of the area and the vineyards became walnut groves. In 1936, the harvest celebration became known as the Walnut Festival.
It was first held in a downtown location where walnuts were harvested. It moved to nearby Civic Park and then to Heather Farm Park in 1976.
This year’s Walnut Festival was to be held the same weekend as the free 27th Lafayette Art, Wine & Music Festival, which most observers consider the county’s largest annual event.
The annual Walnut Festival Twilight Parade, featuring high school bands was also canceled previously. It had been scheduled for Sept. 16.
Walnut Creek still has a large fall event coming Oct. 13-14 in Civic Park East with the free 6th Walnut Creek Oktoberfest, which expands to include a Friday the 13th evening schedule featuring live music and silent disco along with traditional beer, food and vendor booths. The 18th Clayton Oktoberfest happens Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.
The Pittsburg Seafood and Music Festival returned this weekend, Sept. 9-10, after a three-year absence on Railroad Avenue rather than its traditional site at Pittsburg Marina.
Heather Farm Park, site of the Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival in June and the Walnut Festival, will undergo a major construction project over the next two years as a new swimming pool complex is constructed in the park near the Community Center. The eventual use of the adjacent land where Clarke Memorial Pool resides has yet to be determined.