Saturday Oct 04 2008 comments Eggplant Festival in Loomis By: Photos by Ashley Baer/Auburn Journal -A +A Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalPeter Bond, of Loomis, follows his two-year-old son, Gabriel, through the corn maze at the Eggplant Festival. Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalNicole Salle, of Salle Orchards in Wheatland, discusses with customers how long eggplants will keep. This was the orchard's first year selling at the festival. "We're glad we did it," Salle said. "It's a great turnout and everyone's so appreciative. Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalNatalie Recendez bags produce for customers at the Salle Orchards tent. Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalFestival volunteer Danielle Gray helps prepare sample plates for the judges of the cooking contest. Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalBailey Renken, 10, makes her way through the maze. Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalIn her fourth appearance as The Eggplant, Emily Knisley, 11, walked around the festival grounds passing out candy. Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalThe Eggplant Festival in Loomis, located at Loomis Station Plaza, featured a plethora of eggplant-related foods, drinks and crafts, along with live bands, kids activities and fall-themed goodies. Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalThe Del Oro marching band and color guard treated early morning festival goers to several songs. Ashley Baer/Auburn Journal Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalEighteen-month-old Heidi Quinn decides that she's had enough interaction with the dog and runs back toward her grandmother. Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalWorking the Randy Peters Catering and Event Planning booth, Lisa Peters shows off a fresh plate of Eggplant Sticks, akin to eggplant french fries. "The people are great and it's always an improvement every year," Peters, who has worked the festival for six years, said. "They always add something new. It's a great town to work with, and it's fun to work with just eggplant." Along with the staple eggplant tacos, new additions to the menu were eggplant pancakes, eggplant burritos and eggplant brownies. Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalCooking contest judges Lisa Peters, Sue Johnston and Ellie Ramsey taste various dishes. There were appetizers, side dishes, main course and dessert categories. Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalEggplant desserts created for the cooking contest. Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalEighteen-month-old Heidi Quinn decides that she's had enough interaction with the dog and runs back toward her grandmother. Ashley Baer/Auburn JournalPumpkin heads by Cindy Clement of C R Creations in Penryn.