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Four-year-old Jillian Osborne tries to get back up on her feet for the fifth time in a row only to fall and tumble inside the water walking ball at the San Joaquin Asparagus Festival. Her mother and her grandmother laugh and cheer for her as she continues playing inside the ball, while sipping on their asparagus margaritas on the windy spring afternoon in Stockton.
Stockton welcomed back the Asparagus Festival for Mother’s Day weekend at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds from Friday to Monday after a two-year pandemic break.
The festival returned with numerous carnival rides and games, monster truck rides, a variety of asparagus dishes such as bacon-wrapped asparagus, deep-fried asparagus, ice cream, margaritas and more.
Jillian’s mother, Brenda Osborne, and grandmother Holly Herber were celebrating Mother’s Day at the festival. “This is my Mother’s Day margarita, and this is what being a mother is all about right here — watching [my daughter] play, laugh and have a great time,” Brenda Osborne said.
On another side of the festival was 7-year-old Cooper Schmidt shouting out to his mother from the flying elephant ride, “Do not eat my food. I can see you from here.” His mother assured him from the ground that she would not, before bursting into laughter along with other parents watching their kids.
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“We used to come out of the festival regularly. We were here two years ago, too, and my daughter was in a stroller,” said Kristina Schmidt, mother of Cooper and 5-year-old Rose Schmidt. “It feels good to be back here. We cannot wait to try the food.”
The festival also brought back the Miss San Joaquin Asparagus Festival Scholarship Pageant. Manteca’s Arveen Birdi was crowned the Queen of the Festival for 2022 and was awarded a $650 scholarship.