With summer just around the corner, San Carlos residents come to enjoy a festival that embodies the spirit of the community.
Hometown Days was first proposed by Mayor Pat Bennie in 1979 as a “family-oriented day” to “provide non-profit community clubs and organizations an opportunity to participate, earn a few dollars, and offer the community a good time at little expense.”
Every year since then, the Chamber of Commerce has encouraged residents of San Carlos and surrounding communities to gather and have fun during the third weekend of May.
Connie Barba, who was the first chairwomen of Hometown Days, has been working the event for the past 39 years. She now works at the Lions Club booth and, like many, she sees Hometown Days as an opportunity to meet new people and reconnect with old friends.
“My favorite part of the festival is the people. You get to see so many people that you don’t see often. Sometimes, you get to meet the spouses of people you know,” Barba said.
With a substantial turnout each year, Hometown Days encourages people of all ages to enjoy the fun activities it offers. Although attendees include people of all ages, the attractions appear to be geared more towards the younger members.
“The kids especially have lots of things to do. It gets them to do new things like zip lining, bouncing in the bounce house, and bungee jumping. When the petting zoo is here, it’s really great for the kids. It’s all about watching the kids have fun,” said Jay Trietsch, a local parent.
According to See California, Hometown Days was voted the “Best Family Festival.”
Lauren Orphanos finds this to be true as she, her family, and friends have enjoyed the festival for many years.
“A lot of people come with their families, and it’s fun for them to do activities as a whole family. People come to have a good time on the weekend,” Orphanos said.
Despite the enthusiasm surrounding this year’s festival, the constant rainfall detered the determination of many to attend. Starting on Saturday, light to heavy rain poured down on the event, leading to its “cancellation” on Sunday. As a result, there was no live music on Sunday.
“I was supposed to meet up with my friends and we planned on going to my friend’s jazz concert this morning, but it was canceled. Also, the Battle of the Bands was canceled, and it’s sad that we can’t go and listen because those are always fun,” said Jason Grodem, a local high school student.
Grodem has attended Hometown Days for all of his life and spent the last six years running the ring toss booth.
Not only did the rain alter Grodem’s plans, but it also limited others from participating in their favorite activities.
“The rain was a bit disappointing as Hometown Days was very desolate. There was nowhere near as much stuff to do this year,” said Allie Ayers, a junior at Carlmont. “Usually, the festival is nostalgic, so it’s fun to go with friends even though we’re older now.”
Activities that typically draw in children were shut down early this year as well. Nonetheless, many that did attend kept a positive attitude.
“Unfortunately, they have to turn off the bounce houses because the generators can’t run in the rain. It scales the event back, but I’m glad that lots of people still came out today, even though technically it is canceled. It’s nice that a few vendors still came out for the day,” Trietsch said.
Despite the unexpected weather, Hometown Days brought, and will continue to bring, joy to San Carlos residents, no matter their age.