Thousands turn out for first annual Nut Festival at the Kern County Museum

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Thousands of people visited the Kern County Museum for the first annual Nut Festival.

Organizers said the event had already raised $200,000 by mid-day and they expect that number to go up.

The event was held to educate people on California’s largest crop.

“We’re celebrating nuts, pistachios, almonds, and walnuts,” said Roger Perez with the Kern County Museum.

Organizers hope to make the event an annual tradition in Kern County.

"What we're trying to do is create a festival that people can come to that brings not only the people of Kern County out, but we're hoping to become something that's statewide and region wide that brings some dollars into Kern County, but also highlights how great Kern County is."

There were five stages set up throughout the Kern County Museum grounds where participants were able to enjoy great music and sample the various nuts made in California.

 "We're here to support the industry. This is the first annual Nut Festival. I'm glad to participate in it and we're looking forward to the festival growing and getting the word out that pistachios are healthy and it's a good snack,” said pistachio grower Jeff Gibbons.

Leaders of the festival began planning five years ago and told 23ABC many of the people who were at the event traveled from outside Kern County

"We got to learn about the different growing varieties, the fertilizer, how to help trees if there are problems because we all have trees in our yards so, we got to learn a lot of different things for personal use,” said Sandy Tapia.

 Kathy Shick told 23ABC she enjoys seeing the different vendors and eating great food.

Miss California 2013 also participated in the event. She is the official ambassador of the American Pistachio Growers and she’s helping educate people on the nutritional benefits.

"They are full of fiber and potassium. So, if you have a serving of 49 nuts a day, you're getting total amounts of nutrients and fiber and vitamins you may not find in other foods,” said Leah Cecil, Miss California 2013.

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