The deadline is nearing for restaurants, caterers, food sellers and nonprofits to apply for participation in the Kern County Nut Festival scheduled for June 14-15 at the Kern County Museum.

The festival will be a culinary celebration featuring Kern's top nuts. Local businesses and groups are invited to participate by selling a food product or merchandise. Festival organizers estimate there will be at least 6,000 attendees.

"We are looking for local chefs to come up with something amazing to sell at the festival, to share their culinary talents using Kern's top nuts -- almonds, pistachios and walnuts," said Beth Pandol, co-chair of the Kern County Nut Festival. "We want people to come to the festival hungry so they can taste all these wonderful dishes created by local cooks."

Applications, rules, and other information are on the festival website at Click on the button titled "Participation" for information and applications. The deadline is Feb. 28.

There are several ways local groups and businesses can participate:

Sell a food product that includes almonds, pistachios or walnuts or a by-product such as almond oil or walnut butter. (No peanuts allowed). Festival organizers are placing strong emphasis on unique foods that will become signature dishes for the event.

Create or run a "nutty" adult or kid activity. Ideas include a nut toss, nutty arts and crafts booth and nut-cracking contest, though participants are encouraged to be creative.

Sell merchandise. Emphasis will be on "nutty" items or items with a nut theme but other items such as jewelry, arts, crafts and decorative items will be allowed.

Host an exhibit or booth that provides information about your group. Informational exhibits should correlate to the nut theme of the festival.

Nonprofit participants need not have 501(c)3 designation to take part, but each group must be a legitimate nonprofit group such as a church or youth group, service organization, athletic group, etc.

There is no charge to be a food vendor, but vendors are responsible for their own equipment and for compliance with all health and safety regulations.

The Kern County Nut Festival will provide the electrical hookups. Table rentals are $10 each.

"This is a food-focused festival with an emphasis on nutty fun," said Pandol. "We want local businesses and nonprofits to operate these food and activity venues so that they make money at this festival as well as help support the Kern County Museum."

The Kern County Nut Festival will keep 20 percent of the sales from nonprofit food vendors or activity managers; the festival will keep 25 percent of the sales from for-profit food vendors. All sales will take place through a scrip system. No cash will be exchanged.

Merchandise vendors retain 100 percent of their revenues but there is a booth fee. Exhibitors are also charged a small fee and there are no sales of merchandise at exhibit booths.

For more information about the Kern County Nut Festival, contact Beth Pandol, or Sheryl Barbich, or call the Kern County Museum at 868-8400.

-- Kern County Nut Festival media release