13th Annual Olive Festival

A look inside the 13th Olive Festival in downtown Oroville, CA.
sign outside the 13th olive festival oroville ca
sign outside the 13th olive festival oroville ca
Andrew Vojta
Olive Festival flyer

Downtown Oroville’s 13th annual Olive Festival took place in the old Courthouse Park, across the street from the Ehmann House, popularly known as “the house that olives built.” The free-admission event celebrates the ways olives have had and continue to have a historical role in the economy of Butte County.

 

 

 

 

The annual event was hosted by the Butte County Historical Society from the hours of 9 am to 2 pm. It’s the Butte County Historical Society’s largest fundraiser event of the year. The Society and nearly 25 vendors sold books, olive oil, goat soap, purses, and even jams. Along with vendors were food trucks like Sweetwater Shaved Ice, Will’s Catering, and Dave’s Dam Dogs and Burgers.

Inside the Olive festival newsletter (Andrew Vojta)
A vendor at the Olive Festival who products include high quality olive oil and products that are derived from or include olive oil. (Eston Conley)

“We host the event to remind and educate people about the importance olives played in the economy of Oroville, it’s also a feel-good event for the community; a chance to see friends and neighbors; support local businesses that will be vending, and to support the historical society and its many projects,” Nancy Brower, Butte County Historical Society board member, mentioned to Chico-Enterprise Record.

 

 

 

 

People could purchase raffle tickets for gift baskets and other prizes donated by the vendors, Feather Falls Casino, Bell-Carter Olive products, Sohnrey Foods and Home Depot. Proceeds benefited the Butte County Historical Society.

Creative Dragon Shoppe is a vendor that sells handmade dice, ranging from $25-40 dollars, mostly for Dungeons and Dragons, some even with tricks like the white dice turn Perry Winkle. Creative Dragon is located in Marysville and has been in the industry for three years now. You can purchase her products online on her Facebook page, Creative Dragon Shoppe.

Products made with olive oil at the Olive Festival. (Eston Conley)
A crowd shot with several vendor pop ups at the Olive Festival. (Eston Conley)

Another vendor, CALOLEA, run by Michael and Monica Keller, started making olive oil after a trip to Italy. They were inspired by the different taste of the oils, so Michael came back to the United States and started his own company. “The best way to buy oil is from those making it,” Michael says, adding “you get what you pay for, it pays to get the right stuff.” If interested, you can buy olive oil from them at www.Calolea.com.

Patrons attending the festival were excited to see the different vendors, and appreciated the opportunity to come together as a community, to help the local small businesses and the Historical Society. Some liked the handmade purses, and others couldn’t decide what their favorite booth was. The tour to Ehmann house was a big draw, even to many who have grown up in Butte County but had not previously gone inside the historic building.

A painting housed within the Ehmann Home. (Eston Conley)
Soap products being sold by a vendor at the Olive Festival. (Eston Conley)

The Ehmann house was built by Freda Ehmann, who many consider the “mother of the ripe olive canning industry,” along with her son, Edwin Ehmann, in 1911. It is also the only surviving reminder of the once-dominant olive presence in Butte County. The company factory that used to be on West Lincoln Street burned down in 1947.

Since then, the home has suffered and is now in need of major repairs, including dry rot and electrical issues. Restoration is ongoing. Last year, the Historical Society raised more than $15,000 and fixed plumbing issues. Blueprints are being drawn of the home by a local civil engineer.

 

Ehmann Home common Area. There is a piano in the corner and a fireplace with a map of Oroville displayed above and a few chairs. (Eston Conley)

The Historical Society has 400 members who maintain the society’s museum, archives, Ehmann House, Bangor Church, and Oregon City School. All proceeds benefit the preservation of these historic buildings, their contents, and the availability of all archived records and information to the public.

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