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The 24th Oxnard Salsa Festival was one amazing event filled with light hearted fun, energizing music and dancing. A relaxed space where picnicking on the grass while enjoying great salsa music and watching outstanding community dance groups was a pleasure. The audience seats were filled with enthusiastic family and friends who seemed overjoyed to see the youth dancers, as well as everyone else jumping up to do a salsa. It was so fascinating to watch a grandmother and grandfather doing an awesome salsa on the main stage dance floor.

Dancers on Stage

The Salsa Tent was a wonderland of unique tastes where talented business owners presented their own recipes for tasting. Participating were BGʹs Café, Chiliiman Salsa, CP Catering by Chef Ledesma, El Rey Cantina, Fresh and Fabulous, Cafe Hot Mama Salsa, La Dolce Vita Ristorante, Mesa Salsa, Money Panch, Rubio’s Coastal Grill, Tresseirras Supermarkets, Two Trees Restaurant & Taps, Vallarta Supermarkets, Whole Foods Markets, Orozco’s de Ventura, Xleio Artisan Desserts, and Zesteez.

I was delightfully overwhelmed by all the different varieties of salsa, and sincerely loved them all. The BG’s Cafe salsa, which won overall best of the best, was really special and tasted delicious on their beef tortilla lunch with green pepper. So good! One woman told me she and her father drive to Oxnard for the festival every year just to have BG’s salsa. I also loved the chutney recipes by Zesteez; such a different and delicious product!

 

I take my hat off to the eight judges who sampled 26 different salsas from 14 restaurants, caterers, and professional salsa makers. Categories were Red, Green, Hot, Medium, Mild and Specialty/Fruit. The winners were CP Catering (Best Red and Best Specialty/Fruit salsas), BG’s Café (Best Green and Best Mild salsas), Vallarta Supermarkets (Best Hot salsa) and La Dolce Vita (Best Medium salsa). BG’s Café also took home the Judges’ Choice Award (best of the best) for its green salsa. I enjoyed visiting with owner and team at the BG’s Cafe Booth during the festival, and the Vallarta Supermarkets Team were alive with energy. CP Catering’s fruit salsa was one of my personal favorites; very cool sweet and delicious.

Festival goers sampled these and other salsa recipes during the 24th Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival on July 29 and 30 in Oxnard. See www.OxnardSalsaFestival.com for winners of several weekend salsa and dance competitions. Beverages enjoyed with this bevy of original salsa recipes included Stella Artois, Wine Margarita’s, Frozen Margarita’s and countless varieties of soda or fresh lemonade.

Fantastic Frozen Wine Magarita

Additional festival highlights included live salsa and Latin bands, a vendor marketplace, international foods, kids’ play zone, community stage and the popular, “Dancing With Our Community Stars” contest and charity fundraiser. One of the KEYT3 news announcers danced in the competition this year.

The Oxnard Salsa Festival is presented each year by the Oxnard Downtowners. Sponsors are Bud Light, Gold Coast Broadcasting, Mission Foods, Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau, Premier America, Vallarta Supermarkets, Ventura County Star, and other community partners.

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by Bonnie Carroll