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Escondido Grape Day festivals
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Escondido is the lilting Spanish name meaning "hidden" and was given to an irregular-shaped inland Southern California valley where an investment group planted 100 acres of grapes in the early 1880s. The dry-farmed grapes grew unusually large and sweet, which prompted business leaders to envision an attraction similar to Pasadena's Tournament of Roses. The first Grape Day Festival in 1908 commemorated an auspicious occasion in Escondido's water history and celebrated the grape as a symbol of the agricultural abundance of the region. The event attracted thousands of guests who could view the valley, farm displays, a grand parade, and entertainment while eating their fill of free grapes. But by mid-century, Grape Day disappeared along with the grape in Escondido. With the memory of the grape remaining clear, the Escondido Historical Society began the revival of the celebration in the 1970s. The centennial Grape Day Festival took place September 6, 2008. - (Arcadia Publishing)

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