Thirty Years of the State Citrus Historic Park

KEN CRAWFORD  |  March 26, 2024

Thirty Years of the State Citrus Historic Park

Step into the enduring charm and significance of Riverside's citrus heritage at the California Citrus State Historic Park's 30th-anniversary celebration on April 5th and 6th.

There are still plenty of orange trees around town. We can travel down Van Buren and see the rolling hills with the rows of trees. The bejeweled branches sagging under the weight of sunny citrus. We drive down Victoria with the windows down and let the aroma of trees in bloom fill our senses. We wind around the back roads away from even a hint of modernity and imagine what it must have been like in Victorian Riverside.

While there is romance in living among the groves, there is also industry. More than the greenbelt guarantee of open suburban space that makes us so unique as a city. The groves remind us that we live among a product. Citrus is still a significant contributor to the Riverside economy. There was a time, however, when Riverside was king of citrus. We shipped the sweet, durable fruit worldwide and shared our treasure with people everywhere.

The California Citrus State Historic Park is a monument to what made us. It guards the edges of what is left of our proud produce and tells the story of what it took to turn the orange desert sun into a citrus empire. The orange is as much a part of California lore as the surfable wave or the gold nugget. The park celebrates not just the fruit but also the reservoirs and canals. It is a tribute to the tools and the toil required to make something so elegantly easy to enjoy.

“The California Citrus State Historic Park is one of the jewels in the crown of Riverside. For thirty years, it has been a place of retreat, education, and heritage." said Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson, "As we celebrate this notable milestone, we think about the great opportunities of the next thirty years—bolstered by historic state investments for the enhancement of the park.”

The California Citrus State Historic Park is now celebrating its 30th anniversary. State Parks and the Friends of California Citrus Park are hosting two incredible events on the first weekend of April. Friday, April 5 the Riverside Swing Ensemble of the Riverside Concert Band will perform. The event begins with a reception at the Sunkist Center at 5:30 p.m., which includes a citrus tasting. The musical program will start at 6:30 p.m. General admission is free. Parking is $7. VIP seating is available for $50 and includes a charcuterie board, beer or wine ticket, and a special citrus cookie.

On Saturday, April 6 make your way back to the California Citrus State Historic Park for the Citrus Festival. Citrus tasting, live music, and craft vendors are all on the schedule. There will be activities for all ages, from games on the lawn to cooking demonstrations. Admission is free with $7 parking. The California Citrus State Historic Park is located at 9400 Dufferin Ave. on the Corner of Dufferin and Van Buren.

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