SAN LEANDRO -- The city is looking for at least $50,000 in sponsorships to bring back San Leandro's age-old Cherry Festival, which honors the city's roots as a mass cherry producer.
The festival, which began in 1909, was most recently suspended in 2010 because of budget cuts. Just a year earlier, the city marked the festival's centennial with a celebration replete with real, painted and papier-mache cherries, performances, rides, 100 vendor booths and a 30-minute re-enactment of the original festival parade, pageant and cherry queen coronation ceremony.
This summer, Councilwoman Pauline Cutter asked City Manager Chris Zapata to explore the city's options to bring the festival back to the town nicknamed "Cherry City."
"I am happy to report there is genuine community and corporate interest in sponsoring the event for a three-year period" beginning as soon as next year, Zapata said at Monday's City Council meeting. He said he hopes to bring a list of committed sponsors to the council next month.
The festival's total cost is close to $70,000, city officials estimate.
An estimated 25,000 people visited the city's first Cherry Festival in 1909, which featured three parades, concerts, a baseball game, foot races, motorcycle races and a grand ball. The festival continued with varying attractions from 1910 to 1912 and from 1922 to 1931. It was revived in 1972 for the city's centennial and was hosted again from 1986 to 2004, and from 2007 to 2009.
Ashly McGlone covers San Leandro, San Lorenzo, San Ramon and the Washington Township Health Care District. Contact her at 510-293-2463. Follow her at Twitter.com/AshlyReports.