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    Port of Hueneme Celebrates Being Top Banana at the 8th Annual Banana Festival

    Yellow banana wigs, boat rides, sounds of the tropical steel drum band and perfect late summer weather got the party started at the Port for the 8th Annual Banana Festival! Welcoming over 12,000 people inside the Port, Oxnard Harbor District President Jess Herrera stated, “The Port of Hueneme has always been the little Port that could and can do big things. Thanks to the ability of our talented staff to work toward a common vision and their individual strengths and accomplishments, there is only one way that this Port can continue to go, and that’s forward.”
    A bird’s eye view of the opening of the 8th Annual Banana Festival


    Eager festivalgoers lined up at the entrance to be first in line for the Port’s famous boat tours of the harbor to get a behind the scenes look at Port operations. As the community explored, they learned that the Port is one of the nation’s top ten automobile ports and a gateway to move the crops grown here in Ventura County to global trading partners. Of course, the banana was a big part of the show, being the Port’s largest import commodity. Tour attendees also learned that the Port is the Greenest Port in the USA, having reduced air emissions by 85% since 2009.

    “It’s another day in paradise at the Port of Hueneme! I am so glad that we have an immense amount of people here today enjoying the hospitality that the Port has to offer,” said Oxnard Harbor District Vice President Jess Ramirez. “This was my vision when we first started the Festival over eight years ago, to bring our community into the Port to see all of our equipment and cranes so they can see what makes this Port move cargo.” The Port’s union labor partners were present at the Festival, showcasing their trades under the Port’s first-ever Project Labor Agreement.

    Attendees danced their way around the festival celebrating the over 3.3 billion bananas that come through the Port of Hueneme each year, making the it the banana capital of the West Coast. They were treated to free bananas from Chiquita and Del Monte Fresh, the Port’s two largest banana importers. Attendees were delighted with banana-inspired foods including banana taffy, deep fried banana fritters, banana-flavored popcorn, banana beignets, chocolate frozen bananas, banana funnel cake — and on the savory side, banana empanadas, banana lumpias and peanut butter banana melts from the grilled cheese truck!


    A bunch of banana fanatics in matching outfits


    During the main stage program, the Oxnard Harbor District Commissioners were joined by several elected and government officials including:

    • Supervisor Kelly Long
    • Supervisor John Zaragoza
    • Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub
    • Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner Ed Williams
    • Port Hueneme Mayor Pro Tem Laura Hernandez
    • Port Hueneme Councilmember Rich Rollins
    • Port Hueneme Councilmember Steven Gama
    • Oxnard Councilmember Oscar Madrigal
    • Oxnard Councilmember Bert Perello
    • Mexican Consul Adscrito Jonathan Elias Alvarez Alzua

    This year’s main stage backdrop was the most impressive yet, with the Port’s first-ever electric hybrid mobile harbor crane towering over the crowd. The crane will soon run completely on electricity and reduce air emissions even further during Port operations. 
    While on stage, the Port’s leadership signed the Clean Air Day Resolution formally hosting Ventura and Santa Barbara counties’ first-ever Clean Air Day on October 2, 2019. Joanna Bard Newton and Henry Travers Newton, the daughter and grandson of the Port’s founder Richard Bard, also signed the Port’s Clean Air Day Resolution, a historic moment for the Port.


    Supervisor Kelly Long and OHD President Jess Herrera look on as Port Founder Richard Bard’s daughter Joanna Bard Newton and grandson Henry Travers Newton sign the Port’s Clean Air Day Resolution


    After signing the Port’s Clean Air Day Resolution on stage, Commissioner Mary Anne Rooney stated, “We appreciate the community coming out to support the Port, our clean air initiatives, and all of our environmental projects that we a working on to benefit our residents and the surrounding ecosystem.”


    Local elected officials join Port leadership for the signing of the Clean Air Day Resolution. (left to right) OHD Vice President Jess Ramirez, VC Sheriff Bill Ayub, Supervisor John Zaragoza, Mexican Consul Adscrito Jonathan Elias Alvarez Alzua, OHD Commissioner Mary Anne Rooney, Coalition for Clean Air Day Development Director Brian Sheridan, OHD President Jess Herrera, OHD Secretary Jason Hodge, Supervisor Kelly Long, Port Hueneme Councilmember Steven Gama, VC Agriculture Commissioner Ed Williams, Oxnard Councilmember Oscar Madrigal, Port Hueneme Mayor Pro Tem Laura Hernandez, Oxnard Councilmember Bert Perello.


    Oxnard Harbor District Secretary Jason Hodge said, “It’s a great weekend to have all these people come to the Port to see our environmental progress in action, and a perfect segue into Ventura County’s first Clean Air Day, of which we are proud to be the founding host.”


    California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Port Deputy Executive Director CFO/CAO Andrew Palomares, OHD Secretary Jason Hodge, and Coalition for Clean Air Day Development Director Brian Sheridan


    Click here for more information on the Port’s environmental initiatives and awards.

    Ventura County Supervisor Kelly Long stated, “What a great day with Port at their annual Banana Festival. Home to the Greenest Port in the USA, our County has a true gem that not only creates good jobs, but also is on the cutting edge of environmental initiatives. It’s my pleasure to work with them in continuing sustainable growth for our County for generations to come!”

    Throughout the day, attendees not only celebrated all things banana, but also learned about the automobiles, high and heavy cargo, fertilizer and squid products that move through the Port on a daily basis. In addition, the community was able to tour the train which transports various cargo to and from the Port, including automobiles and military cargo.

    Kristin Decas, CEO and Port Director stated, “Banana Festival day is one of our favorite days of the year, as we get to open our Port to the community and share with them the incredible work taking place in their own backyard. You can feel the comradery as people walk the festival taking pride in hearing that their Port is a place of opportunity and the environmental leader in their community.”


    Port of Ensenada Chief Commercia Officer Francisos Rodriguez Navarrete, Port of Hueneme CEO & Port Director Kristin Decas, Port of Ensenada Commercial Manager Irurbe de Garay, and Mexican Consul Adscrito Jonathan Elias Alvarez Alzua


    To support our hardworking city police department, guests tried to dunk leading law enforcement officials for a small donation. Fans watched Port Hueneme Police Chief Andrew Salinas and other members of the force take the plunge for hours.

    Festivalgoers Walter and Camille Morris of Oxnard stated, “We’ve never done the Port tours before, and we learned a lot on them. We’ve lived here 30 years, and we’ve never really known about the Port. Today, we got to see the Port from two different sides, the land and water. It was a great experience, learning that the Port is the Greenest in the USA, makes you want to do green things and be more fuel efficient!”

    The Port would like to give a special acknowledgement to the Festival Director Kellie Meehan owner of Searle Creative Marketing & Design group and her incredible staff for all their hard work.

    A sincere thanks to all of the event sponsors:

    Del Monte Fresh
    The City of Port Hueneme
    Bud Light
    Brusco Tug and Barge
    CBC Federal Credit Union
    Center for Vein Wellness
    Children’s Choice Dental
    CMHS Center for Family Health
    Cumulus Broadcasting
    Frontier Communications
    HPC Port Hueneme
    Leaf Filter
    Monterey Fish Co.
    Oxnard Grocery Outlet
    Oxnard Unloading Services
    Ports America
    Premier America Credit Union
    Sleep Number
    SoCal Seafoods
    State Farm – Tony Suleiman
    Sugar Bug Dental
    Sun Coast Calamari
    TREK Bikes Ventura
    T Mobile
    Ventura County Credit Union
    Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC)
    Wallenius Wilhelmsen
    Yara North America
    BB&K Law Firm
    Citi National Bank
    100.7 KHAY
    103.3 The Vibe
    95.1 KBBY
    106.3 SPIN-FM
    1450AM Sports Radio


    The Port of Hueneme is one of the most productive and efficient commercial trade gateways for niche cargo on the West Coast. The Port is governed by five locally elected Port Commissioners. The Port moves $9.5 billion in goods each year and consistently ranks among the top ten U.S. ports for automobiles and fresh produce. Port operations support the community by bringing $1.7 billion in economic activity and creating 15,834 trade-related jobs. Trade through the Port of Hueneme generates more than $119 million in direct and related state and local taxes, which fund vital community services. In 2017, the Port of Hueneme became the first port in California to become Green Marine certified.

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