Published in 1939, John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath drew attention to the hardships faced by the “Okies”: poor farmers who moved from the Dust Bowl area to California in search of work. While writing the book, John Steinbeck visited Bakersfield, California and based his book on Arvin Federal Government Camp which he portrayed as “Weedpatch Camp.”
This camp exists today and is still used by migrant workers. To learn more, visit the Dustbowl Camp website.
The Dust Bowl Festival was started in 1990 as an idea for a “family reunion” of sorts only bigger. The organizers wanted to create something that would show the generations what it was like during the “Great Dust Bowl” and Depression-era for migrants of the time. The Dust Bowl Festival grew into something much larger than ever expected and the interest in it was almost overwhelming for the small group putting it all together. The last Festival was Oct. 21, 2017 in Weedpatch, California. To stay up-to-date on the latest plans for this event, check out their active Facebook page.
The Chamber of Commerce organizes the Dust Bowl Festival each year on the third Saturday in October from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. in Weedpatch, California. If you would like more information or to volunteer, visit their website.
Ron Hughart’s book are available on Amazon.