Guest View: October Olive Fest is a team effort

Dylan Tertolani hands Joy Hightower, from Omaha, NE a sample tasting at Mediterraneo Imports during the Olive Festival Oct. 11 at Bolado Park.

Having grown up with a food-loving family or “foodie” family, trust me when I say I have learned to appreciate food. Whenever my family gets together in the kitchen, there is never a dull moment with conversations over pots and pans. Sharing delicious and authentic food with loved ones is a feeling unlike any other and this is pretty much why I have a deep love for fresh and yummy food.
In the past few years, I have become deeply fascinated on buying products and supporting businesses from my local community. I enjoy the idea of buying locally made products because not only are we supporting our local businesses, in turn our own community, but we are fortunate enough to have access to products of the highest quality.
This is what sparked my interest to become a volunteer for the San Benito Olive Festival. A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, SBOF, focuses on promoting and bringing awareness of the region’s world-class culinary agriculture and premier artisans. At the same time, they help support community causes with the festival proceeds. They want our locals and visitors to come discover and celebrate our world-class wines and craft beers, taste award-winning olive oils and artisanal foods, and enjoy mingling with local growers and creators while listening to live music.
This welcoming festival has been possible due to the generosity of many volunteers and non-profit organizations. They have given their time, energy and knowledge to support this growing Gourmet Celebration. One of the organizations that has volunteered with SBOF since the Festival first started back in 2013 is CASA of San Benito County.
CASA of SBC is a nonprofit organization that focuses on training volunteers to help neglected children who are placed into foster care. The Olive Festival has been fortunate enough to have their team of volunteers support in the Celebrity Chef Cooking Demonstrations for the last two Festivals and now this year as well. Esther Curtice, executive director of CASA, talks of how they have had a great experience with volunteering for the Festival and she “loves the idea of the Olive Festival giving back to the community”.
Another non-profit organization that has donated their valuable time and resources to the growth of the Olive Festival is Chamberlain’s Children Center, an organization that is very active in the community. Their mission focuses on empowering at-risk children in a home-like environment to heal from past trauma, discover their strengths, and develop the skills they need to achieve life-long success. Kim Meininger, Fund Development Associate at Chamberlain’s has taken the very important role of Tickets Committee Chairperson since the beginning. Meininger says “they like the mission of the San Benito Olive Festival and Chamberlain’s want to support the growth of the Festival”.
SBOF Committee Chairpersons are leaders in our community. Rick Espino has also helped bring this Festival to life here in San Benito County. Espino has a background of working in the emergency fire services for many years, which enabled him to become well prepared to volunteer as the Logistics Chairperson. He says he “enjoys the volunteer work” and since it is a new community Festival, “he likes helping it grow”. As the San Benito High School girls’ tennis coach, he hopes to get his tennis Balers involved again. Last year, the SBHS Girl Tennis Team helped prepare the volunteer meals and fed approximately 250 volunteers.
As a business administration major, my experience so far as a volunteer for the Festival has been great. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to combine two things that are important to me: food and my career. I am concentrating in marketing and I have enjoyed working on getting the word out about the foodie Olive Festival. I have also enjoyed supporting an organization that brings attention to the culinary agriculture we have in our surrounding area. Most of all, I am happy to participate in an event that centers on giving back to the community. Hollister has been my home for almost 21 years now and giving back to my hometown as a volunteer gives me a feeling of fulfillment.
Volunteers are the backbone to SBOF. We really appreciate all your hard work, passion and dedication! Your help has made our annual Olive Festival possible.
Boy Scouts Troop 400
Casa of San Benito County
Chamberlain’s Children’s Center
Friends of the San Benito County Free Library
Hollister Fire Dept. Explorers post 343
Hollister Rotary Club
Hollister United Methodist Church
San Benito County Historical Society
San Benito High School Girls Tennis
San Benito High School Key Club
San Benito Oriana Chorale
San Benito Stage Company
SBC Office Explorer post 441 (sheriff)
SBC Amateur Radio Association
Small Steps San Benito County
We hope to see you on Saturday, Oct. 17 at Bolado Park. For more information about the San Benito Olive Festival, please visit or call (831) 537-7270. Join us for the 3rd annual Gourmet Celebration.
Early Bird discounted tickets are now available at Postal Graphics and San Benito Bene.

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