The Hollister Grape & Fall Festival will return to historic Downing Street in Hollister on Saturday, Oct. 12, with everything everyone loves about the event – live entertainment, the hilarious grape stomp, a Color Me Grape 5k, a children’s area including petting zoo, and street dance, as well as a variety of food and craft vendors. What many of the thousands of people who flock to the event every year might not realize is that the festival is a celebration of Hollister’s rich history.
“The Grape & Fall Festival was first known as the Grape Carnival and was celebrated each fall, for a period that lasted about three decades, in the early 20th century,” explained Former Hollister Area Chamber Of Commerce Chairman, D. Todd Aeschliman. “The carnival served as a chance for local residents and their guests to celebrate another year of hard work and success in an Ozarks agricultural—and tourism—based community. As Hollister faced the challenges of post-depression America, floods and World War II, the community turned its attention to more immediate priorities and the festival was forgone. In the 1990s, interested residents, the Hollister Chamber of Commerce and the City of Hollister once again turned to what is now known as the Grape & Fall Festival for many of the same reasons as its original organizers. To this day, the festival offers residents and guests the chance to celebrate another year of hard work and progress in Hollister.”
Aeschliman said because the Grape Carnival called attention to the area vineyards, it only seemed natural to include a fun, grape-based event in the festival’s second life, thus the wildly popular grape stomp was born.
“After the first grape stomp, it became apparent that it was an event that was here to stay,” he said. “Stomp teams of all ages excite the judges and the crowd into an event high that generates comments long after the event has ended.”
The tradition continues this year Saturday, Oct. 12, when the Hollister Area Chamber of Commerce will once again host Hollister’s Grape & Fall Festival from 10 a.m.–10 p.m. in downtown Hollister.