YEAR 75: Walnut Creek has such a lovely name that it might lead one to sometimes wonder if it wasn't designed by a marketing team, the same people who chose names for towels and lines of soap. But of course that isn't true; unlike most prettily named things in this world, the city came by its genteel handle the old-fashioned way: by having a namesake waterway, which is related to a food that does indeed grow in the area. So when the East Bay burg throws a festival named after itself, that isn't merely marketing, either; the Walnut Festival of Walnut Creek is indeed about food, with a few nuts mixed in here and there. It's also about history; the party has been around for three quarters of a century this year, but here's a little factoid for regional foodies: It started as the Grape Festival over a century ago. But walnuts have been in place as the star for 75 years, and they will be again from Thursday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 23.
AT THE FEST: Food booths, of course. A carnival with music. And a general family atmos. We're not sure if a guy in an old-timey walnut head will show up, like the walnut man pictured above, but if he does, you know you gotta get a photo taken. This all goes down in Heather Farm Park, which again bears the prettiest of names. Oh, Walnut Creek; we're pretty sure you should take it on the road and help other places that need better profiles rebrand, at least in the moniker department. Please slip a few of your namesake nutmeats in your bag, too; we love walnuts, especially now that fall is due and baked goods shall reign supreme. Your big fest is perfectly timed.