BOMBAY BEACH – Amid efforts to get the Bombay Beach Volunteer Emergency Response Unit up and running, the Bombay Beach Community District, with its BBVERU volunteers and unique American Legion Post 801 member, is bringing back an old Bombay Beach tradition.
The not-exactly inaugural Bombay Beach Harvest Festival will be held on Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Bombay Beach Community Center, to raise money for the BBVERU and other projects to bring back some vitality and improvements to the community like its heyday, said Candice Youngberg , director of the Bombay Beach Community District.
Now the Bombay Beach Harvest Festival returns to the small community, enlivening the once sprawling tourist town on the Salton Sea.
The community hasn’t had its one-time post-Thanksgiving Harvest Festival signature in about 18 years, Youngberg said.
“The community board of directors then started it and then it faltered and died,” she said. “They used to have it every Saturday after Thanksgiving. It was their holiday parade. With the festival we add a bit of flair to it.”
“We try to make it a fun family day,” Youngberg said. “We have games for kids and face painting. We’re trying to do it like you do in a small town, like a country fair like you see in movies in Kansas or Nebraska.
The Harvest Festival includes games, music, a harvest market, silent auction, and several contests including the corn-cob eating contest, the pie-eating contest, a pumpkin and palm leaf decorating contest, and even a revival of the harvest royalty contest.
The Harvest Royalty is a ticket-based fundraiser that girls from kindergarten through high school can participate to win the title of Future Harvest Queen (pre-K through 8th grade) or Harvest Queen (high school age girls). In addition, three teams of adults – in pairs – compete to become ‘Harvest Royalty’, including some for the BBVERU members themselves.
“We’re trying to start something that the older people like,” Youngberg said, as the majority of year-round residents in Bombay Beach and the surrounding area are senior citizens.
“The musicians we have are all local to this area and the Slabs,” she said. “We just want to keep it real, keep it simple and fun so everyone can enjoy themselves without getting too over the top with it.”
The event kicks off with a pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Bombay Beach Community Center, a small community parade held from 10 a.m. to approximately noon, and the various Harvest Festival festivities that continue from noon to 11:30 p.m. Youngberg, who is also an event coordinator, said.
At a recent meeting of the Imperial County Board of Supervisors, $1,000 was donated by the County to the Bombay Beach Community Services District for the first annual Harvest Festival, said County Public Information Officer, Gil Rebollar, in an interview yesterday, Nov. 23. .
“All proceeds from this event go back to community projects such as the Bombay Beach Emergency Response Unit, park and community center upgrades, and our kids club,” said the Facebook event page of the “1st Annual Bombay Beach Harvest Festival.”
To join the parade as a vendor, or to inquire about charges for the Bombay Beach Harvest Festival events or Harvest Royalty tickets, please email [email protected] or the Bombay Beach Community Service District call at (760) 550-3264.