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Turlock, CA

Turlock is located in the heart of California's Central Valley. Founded in 1871 by John William Mitchell, a successful farmer and rancher, the City of Turlock did not incorporate until 1908. With improved irrigation methods and formalized irrigation districts, the town and residents grew prosperous due to its abundant agricultural resources.

Turlock experienced an influx of immigration throughout the early 1900s, which helped the city evolve from a once sleepy farming town into one of the most diverse and thriving communities in the state. Arrivals included immigrants of Swedish, Portuguese and Assyrian descent; later, the city witnessed the emergence of a large Hmong population. Over time, these waves of immigrants were accompanied by the construction of a wide range of churches and other houses of worship.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

The city developed as a major agriculture region. Turlock metamorphosed in a drastic manner and evolved in both its commercial and residential areas simultaneously with the real estate boom.

The most common industries for men are construction, food, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and educational services; the most common industries among women are educational services, health care, accommodations and food services.

Major employers in Turlock include Foster Farms, Turlock School District, Emanuel Medical Center, Valley Fresh, California State University-Stanislaus, Turlock Irrigation District, Varco Pruden, City of Turlock, Wal-Mart and International Paper. Of the top employers, most are administrative or manufacturing establishments.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

The city has about 19,000 houses, out of which 44 percent are rented and the rest are owner-occupied. The Housing Authority of Stanislaus County provides a variety of housing programs to assist low-income families. Eligibility is based on household income. Programs include: Federal Housing Choice voucher program (formerly known as Section 8), Conventional Low Rent program, Farm Labor program, Migrant Farm Labor program, and Conant Place Senior Community.

Downtown Turlock has preserved the historic beauty of the late-19th century business district, while also providing opportunities for economic growth. The Turlock Chamber of Commerce and Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association offices are located downtown, as is the Turlock Historical Museum.

EDUCATION

California State University-Stanislaus: First accredited in 1964, this school now enjoys an enrollment of nearly 8,000 students, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Originally dubbed Stanislaus State College, the institution formally changed its name in 1985. CSU-Stanislaus is a Division II school that offers a wide variety of undergraduate majors and graduate-level programs. In recent years, the school has been named one of the top 100 colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report. It was also named one of the best education values in the same survey.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

  • Turlock Historical Museum: In the heart of the downtown historical district, this museum showcases the origins and development of Turlock, illustrating its gradual shift towards a culturally diverse population.
  • Castle Air Museum: Located approximately 15 miles south of Turlock on the site of the former Castle Air Force Base, the museum features dozens of restored aircraft from World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War era. The indoor portion of the museum exhibits photographs and memorabilia, engines and a flight deck.
  • Stanislaus County Fairgrounds: These fairgrounds are the home of the local County Fair, as well as the site of numerous other special exhibitions, performances and celebrations. Throughout the year, the fairgrounds play host to such events as bull riding and rodeo competitions, concerts, motocross sports and horse shows.
  • Beekman and Beekman: Located seven miles to the north in the city of Hughson, this iconic beekeeping center draws visitors from throughout the surrounding region. The apiary welcomes guests and invites them to sample an array of varietal honeys, including sage, lavender and orange blossom. The farm also sells soaps, essential oils and sachets, while also occasionally offering honey wine (the oldest alcoholic beverage in the world).

EVENTS

  • Friday Night Lights: Commencing with the lighting of the community Christmas tree on the first night, this annual festival transforms the streets of downtown Turlock into a winter wonderland, with special events taking place every Friday evening during the Christmas holiday season. This glittering celebration features street vendors, entertainment and complimentary carriage rides.
  • Turlock Melon Festival: This popular, distinctive and long-standing festival originated in 1911 as a way for the city to celebrate and promote its renowned melon industry. Now an annual event, the festival features all things melon, along with games, contests, historical exhibits and the event's climax, the crowning of the Turlock Melon Carnival Queen.

SPORTS TEAMS

The Modesto Nuts: Formerly The Modesto A's, this minor league High-A team is part of the farm system for the Colorado Rockies. They play at nearby John Thurman Field, a 4,000-seat venue.

FAMILY FUN

With its prime location in central California, Turlock is but a short drive from many popular destinations, including skiing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains or hiking in serene alpine forests. Some of the many popular destinations for outdoor activity in the Turlock area include:

  • Stanislaus National Forest: This natural park features rustic campgrounds and a host of activities, including hiking, fishing and horseback riding. The rugged Tuolumne River offers some of the most thrilling white-water rafting to be experienced in the entire region.
  • Yosemite National Park: This pristine National Park encompasses a large area and offers an abundant spectrum of rich biodiversity. From the majestic Yosemite Falls to the pastoral beauty of Tuolumne Meadows, the natural wonders of our world abound.

LOCAL MEDIA

  • The Turlock Journal: Now a semiweekly publication, this newspaper originally published daily since its inception in 1904.
  • The Modesto Bee: A comprehensive daily paper covering the Central Valley