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New festival aims to bring people back to Downtown Stockton

The first ever Flavor Fest will be held at downtown Stockton's Weber Point Events Center in May.

STOCKTON, Calif. — The weather may still be cold, but organizers in Stockton are already busy preparing for a new event to kick off summer in the city.

Stockton Flavor Fest, a new festival organized by nonprofit Visit Stockton, will be held in May 2022 and is set to feature food, music and cultures.

"We have been working on this for a few months already," said Wes Rhea, CEO of Visit Stockton. "We're super excited about it."

The festival will be held May 14 and 15 at Weber Point Events Center in downtown Stockton. On the grounds at Weber Point, organizers will set up "pods or villages" made up of tents celebrating different cultures and foods. 

"When you enter that area, it feels like you're immersed in that culture, and have entertainment around that," said Rhea. "It's about making it feel like no other festival here in Stockton."

The idea for the festival was described as a "no brainer". 

"The City had reached out to us to put on a festival really focused on bringing people into downtown Stockton," said Rhea. "It was kind of a no brainer to really think about, celebrating our diverse food scene here in Stockton, but also the arts and cultural scene."

The two day festival will also feature stages for music performers, workshops, family activities, wine and craft beer tasting, live art, and a drag brunch. 

The goal of the festival is to support local businesses and bring people back to downtown Stockton after the pandemic dealt a blow to the area.

"When you haven't had as much entertainment downtown with the Bob Hope or the arena, people have kind of forgotten," said Rhea. "We want to remind them we do have a beautiful waterfront, we have a lot of great small businesses downtown and dining opportunities."

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Visit Stockton will rely partly on volunteers and nonprofits to coordinate the event. Those nonprofits will receive a portion of festival profits in return.

"We're here to support our nonprofits," said Rhea. "We want to make sure that those volunteer hours go to a good cause in our community."

The festival will culminate a 10 day project in downtown focusing on diverse cultural events. While this year's festival is slated to be confined to only the events center itself, Rhea says Visit Stockton hopes to expand it in future years to include more of the city's downtown district.

Visit Stockton is still hoping to involve more local businesses, organizations, and volunteers as they prepare in the coming months. Those interested in participating in the festival can find information on Visit Stockton's website

"We're just super excited to get people excited about the festival," said Rhea.

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