Oatmeal Festival parade

The grand parade of the Oatmeal Festival begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Vaughan Street in Bertram. (Courtesy Photo)

BERTRAM - Come rain or shine, the 45th annual Oatmeal Festival will be held this weekend in downtown Bertram—along with a special visitor.

“This year we have a special guest attending: Ken Odiorne,” said John Baladez, president of the Oatmeal Festival. “He is the founder of the Oatmeal Festival. This was his idea back in 1978. This will be his first year attending in many years, so we are excited to have him.”

The festival officially begins Friday at 5 p.m. at the Oatmeal Community Center in Oatmeal with a barbecue dinner, the Miss Oatmeal pageant, a cake auction, and live music from Chris Reeves and Ritchie Bustillo.

On Saturday, the festival kicks off with a 3.3-mile “Run for Your Oats” race in downtown Bertram and a trail ride from Oatmeal to Bertram at 8 a.m. Following those events, Vaughan Street in downtown Bertram will open up to festival goers with arts and crafts booths as well as shopping and food vendors.

At 9:30 a.m., a pet parade will be held for anyone who wants to show off their furry friends. Sign ups will take place at Wheeler Park prior to the parade, and all pets must be leashed or in carriers.

“The pet parade is a good highlight of the festival,” Baladez said. “We have seen anything from a large grasshopper on a string to chickens wearing dresses. Last year a young lady had a bearded dragon dressed up like a dragon.”

“At about 10:30 we will kick off the grand parade,” Baladez added. “The Escondido riders are always the highlight of the parade and they will be there again this year.”

Baladez said there will also be plenty of games for adults and children to play throughout the day, including a cow chip kicking contest—which is exactly what it sounds like—a tortilla throwing contest, and a washer tournament.

“We have been playing these games since the festival began,” he said. “They are kind of a spoof of all the festivals that were going on in the 70s, and we’ve kept them as tradition.”

The festival will run until 3 p.m., with live music from local bands, an oatmeal bake-off contest, and a children’s areas with games and activities where kids can do unlimited activities with the purchase of a $20 wristband.

At 8 p.m., the grand finale of the festival will begin with several food vendors, beer from The Globe Theatre, and live music from openers Bubba Cox and Aces Only, and headliner Curtis Grimes. Tickets for the event are $25 for adults, $15 for children 14 and younger, and $5 for a cooler. Those tickets can be purchased at Street Dance Tickets, Sat, Sep 3, 2022 at 8:00 PM | Eventbrite.

Baladez said he expects to see around 1,500 people at this year’s Oatmeal Festival, which is a larger crowd than last year’s event saw. His hope is that the weather will hold out well enough on Saturday that people will be able to enjoy the festival all day.

“This is not just a festival—it’s a homecoming of sorts,” Baladez said. “A lot of people come home for this festival. It’s basically a reunion for a lot of the locals.”

The festival itself is free, as is parking. Baladez said parking is available anywhere downtown where are open spots. For more information on the Oatmeal Festival, visit Bertram Oatmeal Festival.