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l iving here COMMUNITIES: PORTERVILLEStaff reportsorterville is one of thesouthernmost cities inTulare County, nestledin the foothills of theSierra Nevada, and atone time was consid- ered in a remote partof the county. Thesedays there are plentyof reasons to make the 31- mile drive andpay it a visit almost any time of year. The annual Iris Festival, a free eventwhich has grown from an event thatfirst attracted several hundred visitorsand now attracts more than 20,000, is abig attraction with its colorful irisblooms and tours of the local Sutton'sIris Gardens. It celebrates the city's official flowerand a parade is also held downtowneach year in honor of the beautifulblooms. The city's population passed the52,000 mark recently and is home to amixture of agri- business, light industry, manufacturing and distribution. Majoragri- based businesses include: Arm- strong Olives, Baird Neece Packing, Golden Eagle Olive Products, PlanoJerky, Setton's Pistachios and, of course, the Sutton's Iris Gardens. Major employers are the PortervilleDevelopmental Center, the PortervillePublic School district, Sierra View Dis- trict Hospital, Walmart DistributionCenter and the Family Health Care Net- work. It's also home to diverse agriculturalproduction such as citrus, olives, fruittrees, cotton and hay and even somevineyards. Annual eventsiApril: Iris Festival, downtown and atSutton's Iris Gardens; Jackass Mail Runfrom Porterville to Springville. iMay: Porterville Fair, Porterville fair- groundsiAugust: Kids Day in the ParkiNovember: Fabulous Music Jam Porterville bitsiThe official flower of Porterville isthe iris. iThe city is named for Royal PorterPutnam who moved to the area aroundthe time of the Civil War and raised cat- tle, horses and hogs. iThe town incorporated in 1902, asminers moved into the area to extractmagnetite ore, and the Chamber ofCommerce was formed in 1907. A CityManager- Council form of governmentwas adopted in 1926, and a Charter wasadopted. iPorterville is at an elevation of 455feet. It is located along State Highway65. Source: Porterville Chamber of CommerceCLIP IT | ESSENTIAL INFO66| May 21, 2009| LIVING HEREPorterville knownfor its Iris FestivalPTeresa DouglassMichael Sutton counts the number of blooms on a seedling at Sutton's Iris Gardens in Porter- ville. An iris must have have at least seven buds, according to the American Iris Society. Murry Park is locatedat East PutnamAvenue and Park Drivenext to the PortervilleMunicipal Golf Course. This 20- acre commu- nity park includesfamily picnic areas, pavilions, barbecuepits, sinks, tables andbenches, fishing pond, two children's playareas and restrooms. Steve R. Fujimoto

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