STOCKTON (CBS13) — Spring’s first green vegetable in the valley is celebrating another year in Stockton in an event that didn’t look likely after last year.

When Stockton announced the end of the Asparagus Festival after 29 years, a local farmer came to the rescue with a new plan.

Now with a new organizer, a new location and a few new attractions, Friday marked the beginning of the San Joaquin Asparagus Festival.

Tony Noceti, the man who rescued the festival when Stockton announced it wasn’t going to happen this year, made a gamble to move it to the county fairgrounds and give it a new name.

A short time later, the old festival workers started calling, and he was happy to hear from them. The original leaders also brought in new faces.

The new festival’s focus is still on helping local charities. The Stockton Asparagus Festival didn’t make enough last year to significantly help several charities. This year, Noceti guaranteed $4 an hour for volunteers.

His other goal was to make sure more people in the community could come.

“We lowered the cost of admissions, parking, food vendors. We really worked hard at making it affordable for families to get here,” he said.

The festival runs through Sunday at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds.

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