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75th annual Big Hat Days returns to Old Town Clovis

The sweet aroma of kettle corn fills the atmosphere as crowds of locals stroll down the street searching for their next fair-themed food to devour.

In order to celebrate the 75th annual Big Hat Days (BHD), various vendors gathered in Old Town Clovis to showcase their products and create a fun-filled environment for the city, April 6-7. The event lasted from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The event is held on the first full weekend of April every year and is sponsored by Table Mountain Casino. Throughout the whole day, arts and crafts, business commercial and food vendors can be found between 3rd and 8th Street.

While new vendors come to the event each year, some businesses continue to return, bringing both traditional and modern products. For Ashley Marquez, this is her fifth year coming to BHD to help her parents with their home-based business located in Mariposa, Jammin’ Jams.

“My parents have been coming out to Big Hat Days for about seven years and this is at least my fifth year coming out to help sell jams for them,” Marquez said. “My mom and dad own a small commercial kitchen in their home and make all their homemade jams, jellies and pickle products there.”

Due to working at BHD for several years, Marquez finds enjoyment not only in selling her parents’ product but also in meeting various people and seeing the different personalities of locals.

“My favorite part about coming out here to Big Hat Days is seeing all the people, different hats and meeting all the different personalities is really nice,” Marquez said.

While most people come to focus on selling their merchandise, others come to spread the word on their non-profit organizations. Founder of the non-profit organization, “Guardians of the Ribbon, Fresno County Pink Heels,” Lisa Benham returned to BHD for her second year to share her mission of love, hope and support.

“It’s a non-profit organization that recognizes people that are battling cancer or honor people who have lost their battle to cancer,” Benham said. “It’s men, women and children and it’s all types of cancer. This is our second year coming out to Big Hat Days, last year was our first year. Our motto is ‘To bring love, hope and support to our community through these people.'”

Though most people relate the color pink to breast cancer only, Benham explains how her organization seeks to bring awareness to the different types of cancer through writing on a pink police car, which symbolizes love.

“A lot of people think that because you see a pink police car that it’s breast cancer only and it’s not, it’s all cancer,” Benham said. “Pink is the universal color of love. The power is in the messages that are written on the car. If you go around and read some of them, you can tell that there is a lot of love that people are expressing either for someone that they’re missing or for how proud they are of a loved one that has battled the disease and is beating it.”

Along with the vendors who enjoy their time working at the event, FC senior Nathan Bender has attended BHD for 12 years and finds entertainment in the assorted foods offered. Bender also says that anyone could easily spend the whole day at BHD with family and friends.

“I have been going to Big Hat Days for 12 years,” Bender said. “My favorite part is the food. There is always so much food. It is easily a place you can go to from eight in the morning until nine at night because they sell breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is a great place to go if you have nothing to do and just want to hangout and walk around with friends.”

For more information on Big Hat Days, read the April 5, 2011 article, Big Hat Day draw public, boasts unique attractions.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @madeleineyee.

For more features, read the April 5 article, Math department aims to create learning, understanding.

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