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Tens of thousands expected to attend annual Lodi Grape Festival

Coordinators say some new exhibits at the more than 80-year-old festival will include a live bee and bat exhibit running through Sunday.

LODI, Calif. — The familiar sight of large tractors and trucks funneling in and out of the farmlands surrounding the city of Lodi has returned, according to Lodi resident Mark Armstrong.

“I live in an area where I know the grape harvest has started because the picker machines go right by the back of my house,” Armstrong said. “It's getting near the end of the grape harvest, it’s going a little late.”

For Armstrong, the general manager of the Lodi Grape Festival, the signs of the annual harvest mean it's crunch time for him and his team who put on the more than 80-year-old festival each year.

"That triggers some angst with me because I know the festival is not far away,” Armstrong said. “We put signs around town to start advertising about the same time harvest starts, about a month out. It all just kind of starts to happen all of the sudden.”

Even after decades of fairs have been held at the Lodi Grape Festival Grounds on Lockford Street, Armstrong says this year's festival will bring new attractions to the 20-acre fairgrounds.

"Our theme this year was ‘Take Flight,’ so we tried to get things that went along with ‘take flight.’ We've got a live bee exhibit and shows, we've got a live bat exhibit and shows,” Armstrong said. “We opened up a big outside patio so people see that layout change. We always try to make it look different from year to year.”

In addition to the usual warehouses filled with vendors, wine tasting and exhibits, this year’s festival will also bring back popular food and entertainment options.

Headlining the festival will be country music artist Lee Greenwood, set to take the main Michelob Ultra Stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. A mariachi band will perform Sunday.

While Armstrong hopes moderate weather conditions, food, entertainment and exhibits will help attract the nearly 90,000 visitors expected, he says the festival's ability to bring the community together and raise funds for local causes will also serve as incentives for attendees. 

"We’re a big fundraiser for a lot of nonprofits that do like beer booths, or food booths, that type of thing. I think it brings a lot of money into our area when people come to town to see the event,” Armstrong said. “I think it's just a great uplifting event. It's getting near the end of the grape harvest, it’s going a little late, but everybody just comes out and celebrates, it's like a big old town reunion.”

Need to Know:


  • Lodi Grape Festival Grounds at 413 E. Lockeford St. Lodi, CA


  • Thursday, Sept. 15 from 4-11 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 16 from 12-11:59 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept 17 from 12-11:59 p.m.
  • Sunday, Sept 18 from 12-11 p.m.


  • Adults: $10
  • Youth (ages 6 to 12): $6
  • Kids (5 years old and younger): Free
  • 12-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday: Free
  • Carnival ride coupons: $1 (most rides require 3 to 5 coupons)
  • Carnival wristbands: $35
  • Parking: $10


  • Lot 1: On Cherokee Lane at Lockeford Street next to the fairgrounds
  • Lot 2: On Lockeford Street across from the fairgrounds
  • Lot 3: Behind the Grape Bowl, accessible from Calaveras and Stockton Streets
  • Cost: All festival-sponsored lots charge $10

Watch More from ABC10: Lodi family with 300 olive trees in backyard start olive oil business

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