For two days, six streets were closed off for an event in Old Town Clovis. During April 2-3, people took the place of cars, swarming the streets perusing various vendors and carnival games. Many booths brought diversity to the Big Hat Day, an annual event since 1977. From traditional Welsh foods to carnival corndogs and kettle corn, the Big Hat Day brought something for everyone to enjoy.
According to the Fresno Bee, more than 140,000 people were expected to participate in Big Hat Day. This event is also the largest two day event in Central California. This is the 77th anniversary for Big Hat Day.
A visitor from Washington State, Scott (name withheld) came down to the Valley to run a booth with his wife. Their vendor sells women’s earrings, necklaces, ankle bracelets, sandals and purses. Scott feels welcomed by his customers because of their appreciation of his wife’s unique merchandise.
“I’m a vendor here at the Big Hat Day. This is my fourth year coming down from Washington State,” Scott said. “My wife has a jewelry booth that does very. We enjoy coming down for a couple of days. We sell women’s jewelry, sandals and purses. The ladies all seem to love Judy’s stuff and they all see they want to see her items again which makes us feel very welcome here. They like my wife’s things because of their uniqueness.”
A family man, Jason (name withheld) enjoys taking his son out the Big Hat Day to eat food and play games. This is not Jason’s first time going to the Big Hat Day. He appreciates the event’s ability to bring out the community and unite people together.
“I decided to come to Big Hat Day because of the people, food and good times,” Jason said. “The thing I like most Big Hat Day is my son’s smile. I like to watch my son play on the rides and eat food. These kind of events bring out the community and gets money changing hands.”
Enjoying the diverse culture, Taylor (name withheld) likes the different styles of music played at the Big Hat Day. Taylor enjoys getting to know the people in his community.
“I definitely like the people, the food, the diverse culture and the music,” Taylor said. “I have been to the Big Hat Day a few times before. I am enjoying it and I plan on going to it in the future. These events help us know who our neighbors the cultures around us, so we can be more in tune with one another.”
Working the beer booth, Ken (name withheld) does not like the crowds the Big Hat Day brings. Ken would not attend the event if he did not have a job at the beer booth due to the large crowds the Big Hat Day brings.
“I am working here for the Clovis Chamber of Commerce at the beer booth,” Ken said. “We used to run a booth here for years that sold kettle corn. I am not planning to come back out next year, unless I have to work again. I don’t like the crowds the Big Hat Day attracts.”
Bob and Cathy Halpern run a booth that sells vintage leather goods. Bob purchases old worn out leather backpacks and refurbishes them for use. Bob is also a retired history teacher, so he puts his credentials to use and researchers the backpack’s history and provides that information with the backpack.
“I really enjoy Big Hat day because of the diverse amount of people who come,” Cathy said. “The event provides steady business and lasts for a few days, which is great. This event also attracts people that don’t even live in the valley including my family at one point. We moved from southern California to the valley partially because of this event.”
Senior Ali Cowan enjoyed the creativity of the vendors and the unique products that they sold at the event.
“I really liked all the vendors and the creativity they put into the stuff they sold,’ Cowan said. “I saw a steam punk vendor there. They would make little gears and necklaces and ties, but they made them from scratch. People would find stuff like that here, it’s almost like a small town boutique, but not exactly. Big Hat Day is just really big so its hard describe.”
English and drama teacher, Kyle Dodson, attended this year’s Big Hat Day. Dodson loves the food there, with his favorite being jalapeño bacon ranch garlic fries. However, Dodson does not like the warm weather during the celebration.
“What I like most about Big Hats Day is getting to go down to Old Town Clovis and be able to walk down the streets and see it so packed and so filled with people that typically don’t always go into Old Town Clovis,” Dodson said. “Typically my wife and I go to the Big Hat Day every three or four years just to check on whats going on and whats changed. I love the food, and thats typically the reason why i go out in public is for the food and they have similar food to the fresno fair.”
FC alumni, Gabriela Siqueiros, attended the event for the first time and was very satisfied with the activities and the food. Sequieros believes these kind of events are important for members of the community to take part in.
“I thought Big Hat Day was pretty neat,” Siqueiros said. “It was my first time going and I wasn’t really sure what to expect but it is basically a street fair and there was so much to do. I really enjoyed looking at all the booths and talking to new people and eating tons of food. I think this event brings people together, its not too often that we have special things like big hat days and we should really take advantage of these opportunities. My favorite part would have to be the booths, just looking at all the different things people are passionate about and the unique things they make.”
Big Hat Day is an annual event and will be held in Old Town Clovis again next year if you missed out on the festivities.
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