This year, the city of Cupertino celebrated its 30th Annual Fall Festival on Sept. 22 at Memorial Park. Coordinated by nonprofit service organization Cupertino Rotary and Silicon Valley-based newspaper World Journal, it featured an array of booths and events open to people of all ages.
Since its inception in 1982, the Fall Festival has become one of Cupertino’s four main community fundraising events. Some of the money raised through the festival goes to mini-grants to help pay for classroom materials and school programs for Cupertino High School, Lynbrook High School and MVHS.
“[The] Fall Festival originally was just the community event that allowed families and kids to come out and spend the day and have fun,” said longtime Rotary member Tina Ferguson. “It has morphed into a multicultural event with entertainment, food … and new things [each year]. There’s so many levels of [the festival] this year.”
One of the new attractions this year was the Tomato Bash booth, hosted by nonprofit organization Green Steaders. The booth offered taste samples of over 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, as well as tomato sushi, tomato ice cream, gardening tips, wine and live entertainment — all for the price of just $10.
“It all started with the idea of having heirloom tomato tasting,” said Green Steaders cofounder Lidia Marchioni. “[We wanted] to make organic, heirloom local foods more common and known with people.”
Other new additions to the festival this year include a petting zoo, food trucks and environmentally-friendly trash cans, according to World Journal Sales and Marketing Department Manager Peter Ho.
“Every year we’re hosting a different … element here,” Ho said. “We’re trying to add a little bit of everything every year.”
In recent years, several high school organizations like MVHS and CHS Robotics, MV DECA and LHS Amnesty International have begun participating in the festival as well. According to MVHS Robotics Vice President of Operations Joyce Yan, having a booth at events like the Fall Festival allows them to have a greater presence in the community.
“The purpose of us being here is just to let the community know that programs like ours exist,” Yan said. “We have [visitors] that are really, really little and [visitors] that are almost in high school who are interested in robotics, and [we] try to get exposure as soon as we can.”
Even after 30 years, the festival continues to expand annually with new events incorporated each year. When it was first started in 1982, the Fall Festival raised about $7,500. Now it raises about $35,000 each year.
“[The Fall Festival] crosses national boundaries,” Ho said. “We would like to provide a platform for different ethnic groups here [and make] Cupertino a better community.”