FresYes Fest keeps growing, offering fun for all ages
It’s worth noting that FresYes Fest started as an anniversary party.
The beer garden at Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company had been open for a year at that point, and the brewery was enjoying a partnership with Mike Oz and his Ozmosis radio show, which coincidentally had also been around for a year.
It seemed like something worth celebrating. So they did.
More than a thousand people showed up to help.
“We were pretty excited,” says Oz, aka Mike Osegueda, who has continued to help organize the annual event and has watched it grow into an ode to Fresno and the city’s biggest concert block party.
To compare, Tioga-Sequoia now has a number of weekly or monthly events with that kind of draw. Fourteen hundred people came out to eat french fries at last month’s Fresno Street Eat event. Last week, 1,500 came to see the rap group Atmosphere. On Wednesday, the brewery hosts close to 2,000 people for a sold-out Flogging Molly concert.
To further compare, last year’s FresYes drew a crowd of 13,000 — 10 times the number that came out for year one.
A similar crowd is expected at this year’s event, which starts at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“When you have as much potential as downtown Fresno does, when you execute well, people will come and people will have a good time,” Osegueda says.
In a way, the festival seems to be a reflection of the ongoing downtown revitalization, especially along Fulton Street.
“We just keeping trying to mold out the event to fit where downtown is and where it’s going,” Osegueda says.
That can be seen in the event’s footprint, which has grown outside of the brewery grounds and on to the surrounding blocks. This year, the festival spans from Kern Street to Mono Street.
There’s also more to the festival itself — the food and vendors, the music and drinks. Along with a full lineup of bands and food trucks, there’s the Plaza Pop-up Party happening at Kern Plaza, with Teezzy Radio and Mega Texas BBQ. Down on Mono Street, you’ll find The Chill Lounge, which features a separate lineup of DJs and is the only spot in the festival where you can get wine and cocktails (so, it’s not just beer this year).
The lounge is inside the recently rehabbed J.M. Rustigian Building. This is going to be the first time people are going to be able see and go inside the building, Osegueda says.
While you’re in the area
FresYes isn’t the only event happening in the neighborhood Saturday.
Zack’s Brewing Company, which was still in the build-out phase during last year’s FresYes Fest, will host a companion event this year, with its own set of food trucks and music from The Flying J’s, Bill Clifton’s Chicken and Whiskey Band, and Rudy Parris doing his BB King tribute. It’s a ticketed event . Music starts at 4 p.m. and entrance is $20 ($15 in advance).
“It’s going to be the biggest downtown day of the year, for sure,” Osegueda says.
FresYes Fest 2019
▪ 1 p.m. Saturday
▪ Fulton street at Kern Street in downtown Fresno
▪ Free, all ages
Other noteworthy events
▪ AlleyWave, 5 p.m. Saturday. Broadway Event Center, 721 Broadway St. Free. All ages. @alleywavefresno on Facebook