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Loomis Eggplant Festival is Saturday, Oct. 3

Loomis Firefighters serve pancake breakfast at 7 a.m.
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Everything old will be new again when the 22nd annual version of the Loomis Eggplant Festival begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3. Thousands will descend on the Loomis Depot and the downtown area for a day of food, fun and festivities. At every Eggplant Festival, the Loomis Basin Historical Society has had a presence with a display of photographs, publications and souvenirs. Arriving just in time for this year’s festival is the Historical Society’s newest book, “Images of America: Loomis.” It’s a picture book that will delight not only “old-timers” but those new to the area who want to learn the history of the town and those who made it what it is today. “There are over 211 images of the history of the town under one cover, so that they (the photographs) aren’t lost forever,” said Historical Society secretary Beth Enright, who spearheaded the book project. “It tells the history of Loomis from James Oscar Loomis through the early 1950s, and its transformation from railroad to agriculture to a rural business community,” she said. Previously published photographs, as well as some new ones made available by descendants of pioneer Mehl, Leak, Sippola, Rippey, Taylor, Nute, Struble and Hansen families — just to name a few — fill the 128-page paperback. It’s a bargain at $21.99 per book. At the festival, you can depend on being greeted by a sea of purple as the Loomis Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event promotes its 2009 Eggplant Festival art on souvenirs of all types at its always-popular Little Shop of Eggplant. The eggplant will also be found in a variety of dishes served by food vendors, as well at the Best of Chef cooking competition, new this year. Try free samples of eggplant ratatouille, prepared by Loomis Mayor Walt Scherer, at Nelthorpe & Son near the Loomis Depot. While the cooking demonstration is new this year, the appliance store dates from 1915. Also old but new again is the Loomisopoly Commemorative game. The Soroptimist Club will debut its latest version of the board game, featuring three special player pieces: A purple eggplant to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Loomis Chamber of Commerce, a red heart in observance of the 25th year of incorporation of the Town of Loomis, and a blue and yellow piece marking the 88th year of Soroptimist International. Those who already own Loomisopoly and don’t want to buy a new game will be able to purchase all three commemorative player pieces for $5. Other highlights of the Eggplant Festival include six Placer County Wine & Grape Association members showcasing some of their best vintages in the Wine Garden, fresh eggplant and other fruits and vegetables in the farmers market area, vendors and information booths representing local businesses and entrepreneurs in the Chamber Showcase, all-day free entertainment by local dancers, singers and performers on two stages, and the work of creative artists featured in the Avenue of Arts. The festival is always a family affair, and the kids won’t be disappointed with all the games they can play, the corn maze to wander through, the rock wall they can climb, and new this year, the animals they can see and pet at the petting zoo. Festival-goers can end their excitement-packed day at one of this year’s new attractions: family-friendly, light-hearted chicken races.