By Carole Grosch, Reporter
The month of April got off to an exciting start for Western Heritage Month in Clovis this year, kicking off with Big Hat Days on the weekend of April 1 and 2. An estimated 150,000 visitors turned out to enjoy the beautiful weather and stroll down the pedestrian friendly streets of Old Town.
There were carnival and pony rides as entertainment for children and the Michelob Ultra Beer Garden with local bands for the adults. John Pemberton led off Saturday’s musical entertainment, along with Leaving Austin, Mike Robbins Band and Dakota Crossing. On Sunday, Gregor Ross & The Horsemen and Kevin Blake Willard & the Cadillac Cowboys performed.
“My kids enjoy this so much,” said Tony, a father who was watching his son and daughter trying to walk in giant inflatable balls that float on water. “I try to make it to Clovis in April whenever I can. There’re new things to see and the kids always have fun.”
Hosted by the Clovis Chamber of Commerce with sponsor Table Mountain, Big Hat Days is said to be the largest two-day festival in the Central Valley. Over 15 blocks featured 450 vendor booths including 40 food booths. Thanks for the many local volunteers, the event was ready for visitors by 9 a.m. on Saturday.
The event is expected to bring Clovis $30 million dollars in revenue, according to city officials.
Started in 1939, Big Hat Days has been part of the Clovis Rodeo Celebration. Along with learning about services available, there are tempting taste treats wherever you look and a multitude of merchants selling unique and quality items, from clothing and jewelry to solar energy and photography. It is a great way to see new and different things, eat delicious food and see about what’s going on in the community. There are even opportunities to contribute to local non-profits.
Fresno County Pink Heals supports locals who are battling any sort of disease. A pink fire truck was on hand to raise awareness of cancer.
Joseph, of the Valley Animal Center, one of the many animal groups at the festival, said “We’re here with our mobile adoption, so the animals can be seen by a lot of people. Yesterday we adopted out nine animals. So far today we’ve adopted out four. We’re looking forward to Super Adoption on May 13.”
“I try to make it to Clovis in April whenever I can,” said Tony. “There’re new things to see and the kids always have fun.”
Just like the rodeo, Big Hat Days is about community and sharing good times with neighbors, family and friends.