The annual Grape Day celebration will be taking place on Saturday, September 6th in Downtown Escondido in Grape Day Park. Started in 1908, Grape Day celebrates Escondido’s grape harvest while also promoting the city. The event was quite popular until 1950, at which time it was no longer celebrated. In 1996, the event was revived by the Escondido History Center. Today’s Grape Day celebration features a 5K, a parade, entertainment, food and grape stomping for visitors to enjoy.
This year’s Grape Day celebration kicks off at 7:30 am with the Escondido Sunrise Rotary Grape Day 5K. The event is open to everyone from serious runners to casual walkers, with proceeds from the event benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Interested participants can register online now. It is also possible to register on the day of the event, though registration fees are greater on event day. Registration begins at 6:30 am at 150 North Centre City Parkway. Prizes will be awarded to the top three female and male participants, with special awards also given to the top three winners in various age categories.
The Grape Day Parade will follow the 5K race, with a start time of 9:30 am. As usual, the parade will feature walking groups, marching bands, historic automobiles and equestrians. The festival itself will take place from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm. The festival will include live entertainment, food trucks, kids’ activities and grape stomping.
Escondido’s grape history dates back to the 1880s, at which time landowners planted large vineyards throughout the area. By the 1920’s, Escondido was home to thousands of acres of grapes. The Grape Day celebration that took place during this time period was so popular that trains full of people came from San Diego to participate in the event. As a result, the celebration became the second largest festival at the time, with Pasadena’s Rose Parade being the largest. In 1923, silent film star Agnes Ayres was crowned the queen of Grape Day.
While Grape Day may not be quite as large as it was during its heyday, it is still a fun event for everyone who lives in the San Diego area.