Olive Festival in Oroville today blends history with the present

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OROVILLE — A festival that celebrates Oroville’s historic role in the olive industry and offers people an opportunity to learn about present-day growers will be held today in Oroville.
Today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the historic Ehmann Home will be the site of the third annual Butte County Olive Festival.

Olives are a big part of Oroville’s history.

Freda Ehmann settled in Oroville in 1898 and started the Ehmann Canning Co. She developed the olive canning process and is listed in “Who’s Who” as the “mother of the California ripe olive,” said event organizer Alberta Tracy Friday in the home’s cheery kitchen.

“What better place to have it than the home of the woman who started it, the house that olives built?” she said.

Tracy said the festival got its start three years ago when Roseville author and historian Richard Calhoun visited Oroville and said he wanted to do an olive festival.

“We were going to just sell olives,” said Tracy. “There was nothing to eat then. We just had growers, vendors and card tables. We didn’t realize then what it was and what it could be.”

The event has grown.

Last year, around 800 people attended. Tracy said they hope 1,000 show up today.

The Butte County Historical Society is sponsoring the festival in partnership with Feather Falls Casino.

“This is good for Butte County Historical Society, good for Oroville and good for Butte County,” Tracy continued. “It’s going to get bigger and better every year.”

There will beplenty of olive products. At least eight vendors will participate, including local olive growers and olive-oil producers.

The Olive Festival will offer olive and olive-oil tastings, a beer tasting, live music and food. Tracy said the Historical Society will have a booth selling food for $5 a plate. The food will contain olives in the recipes, she said.

Also, visitors can tour the Ehmann Home, and there will be drawings for prizes.

“The fun starts in Oroville,” Tracy said. “It’s another thing to put Oroville on the map, and at the home of Mrs. Ehmann,” she said.

Jeannie Bede said that without Freda Ehmann, “we wouldn’t have olives.”

“It’s a great community event,” she added. “Come out and be involved. It’s a great event to share the history and bring the history to today.”

Article source orovillemr.com
By BARBARA ARRIGONI

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Alberta Tracy (left) and Jeannie Bede fill display boxes with olive cans on Friday for the annual…

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