Pear Fest Celebrates Agricultural Roots


Lamorinda citizens explore the 2013 Pear and Wine Festival in Moraga.

Joan Harris, Staff Writer

On the last Saturday of every September, Moraga hosts its Pear & Wine Festival at the Moraga Commons Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On September 28, the town celebrated its 15th edition of the event.

The festival is held to commemorate Moraga’s agricultural history. Although the pear orchards are now hundreds of years old, they still produce an abundance of fruit. Volunteers harvest these pears at the Saint Monica Catholic Church and Joaquin Moraga School orchards. The pears are then donated to the Contra Costa and Solano Food Banks.

Tom and Stephanie Smith came up with the idea of an annual Pear & Wine Festival. They wanted to provide a fall event for Moraga’s citizens while showcasing the pear orchards.

The Parks and Recreation department coordinates the event. According to Kimberly Nelson, the Recreation & Facilities Coordinator, the community event isn’t very costly because of the businesses that set up their wares at the festival. “There are no proceeds from the event. It pays for itself, with the fees that we have for exhibitors to pay for the booth,” she said.

This year’s attractions included jump houses, a fire truck provided by the fire department, and a mobile truck from the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF).  According to Nelson, anyone can have a booth at the festival to promote his or her business. “We put up booth applications and whoever wants to be a part of it summits,” she said.  The planning for the event begins right after the 4th of July celebration is over.

Next year, the Pear & Wine festival will be different from previous years, as it will celebrate Moraga’s 40th year as a town. “We hope for the 2014 event to be bigger to also celebrate the town’s 40th anniversary for incorporation,” Nelson said.

Campolindo students were also involved with the event. Volunteers from the LEO club, a community service club, were at the event. They worked at the concession stand, helping wrap hamburgers and hotdogs and serving food. The eligibility process for becoming a volunteer was not difficult, according to sophomore Ashley Lok. “It’s really easy, since we are both in the Leo club. Our presidents asked us who wanted to volunteer and everyone who is available just comes,” she explained.

Freshman Cameron Cort volunteered through her Girl Scout troop. She worked at the face-painting booth. “I thought that it sounded like fun to paint kids faces, and it seemed like something that I could do,” she said.