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October 2, 2012 > Olive Festival

Olive Festival

By Gustavo Lomas
Photos By Lynn Kao

Introduction of the olive extends to Greek mythology when they were given to humans as a gift from the goddess Athena. Citizens of Athens, the city named in her honor, revered olives as a most useful invention and especially as a symbol of peace. Olive tree branches are used in the same context even today and are represented in the flag of the United Nations, branches circling the globe, symbolizing a desire for worldwide harmony.

Olive groves have provided sustenance for centuries; olive trees growing to fifty feet in height with branches spanning as far as thirty feet. But most impressive, these trees have the endurance to live up to five hundred years. On the first weekend of October, the Mission San Jose Chamber of Commerce is celebrating the strength, versatility and fruit of Athena's gift by hosting the 11th annual Olive Festival. Everyone is invited to experience the tastes, textures, and uses of olives while enjoying a pleasant afternoon at the Dominican sisters olive orchard.

The idea of an Olive Festival came about in the year 2000 when the Dominican sisters began picking olives from their own grove and looked for ways to distribute the fruits of their labor with the community. The Olive Festival, held on the hillside above the historic Mission San Jose Museum, was introduced on the first Saturday of October 2001 and continues that tradition this year on October 6. Last year the Chamber decided to take a breather to "re-root," but the festival is back, planned to be bigger and better than ever.

Throughout the day live music will be featured as attendees relax to the beat, visit vendor booths, enjoy tri-tip sandwiches, vegetarian selections, and a refreshing beer from local brewery Das Brew. In addition, chips, hot dogs, and sodas will be available. Cooking demonstrations courtesy of local restaurants - Federico's, The Vine, and Tango Fusion - are scheduled throughout the event. Wine tasting, arts and crafts, and a car show courtesy of Mission Trail Mustangs will add to the event and for those who feel lucky, the festival features a 50/50 raffle and a raffle for great prizes. True to the theme of the event, olive growers will be present to offer a wide variety of olives and olive oil for sale; a great option for holiday gifts!

Parking for the event is $2 at the Ohlone College campus on lot E, but permits can be obtained in lots H, B, C, K, M, and P. For more information about the Olive Festival, visit or contact Kim Mathis at (510) 552-3155.

The Mission San Jose Chamber of Commerce would like to acknowledge and thank all the volunteers and event sponsors who have made the continuation of the Olive Festival possible.

Olive Festival
Saturday, Oct 6
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mission San Jose
43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont
(510) 552-3155
Parking: $2

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