Famed for its bounty of row crops and role as a major agricultural producer, Guadalupe, located in Northern Santa Barbara County’s Santa Maria Valley, is a natural fit as festival host.
“The Salad Bowl Festival was established as a non-profit event to honor the local agricultural community, the City of Guadalupe and the nutritionally rich crops that make a great salad,” said Salad Bowl Festival Director Veronica Forest. “The event’s momentum has grown since our inaugural event in 2010, so we expect to see an enthusiastic turnout.”
The event, which will be held along Highway 1 adjacent to downtown Guadalupe’s Veterans Memorial Plaza, includes a salad dressing recipe contest; restaurant food booths offering special salads created for the day; a farmer’s market coordinated by the California Women for Agriculture organization; an agriculture history display at the Guadalupe Historical Museum; a car show and Friday “cruise night”; a bounce house; live music and entertainment; food, beer and wine; a skateboarding demonstration; and information booths promoting healthy living. Additional vendors interested in joining the festival may sign up for a $25 fee.
Keeping in the spirit of the theme, the games include “cabbage bowling” where actual cabbages are rolled at pins. FreshKist produce company is donating the cabbage and local goats will happily handle the clean-up. “Don’t think food will go to waste,” Forest said. “Those goats are thrilled with the goodies.”
Accompanying the show is live music by Electric Grease (blues/rockabilly); Troker (Mexican jazz); the Zongo All-Stars (Caribbean style); and the Bucket Busters, which is reminiscent of the band, Stomp.
The event’s Grease & Greens Car Show is open to all autos and motorcycles. A Friday night cruise will take place on October 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and trophies spanning seven categories will be awarded at the festival the following day. Categories include first, second and third place honors for Classic, Kustom, Low Rider, Motorcycle, Import/4×4, People’s Choice and Merchants’ Choice. The registration fee is $25 for contestants who sign up by October 1. The late registration fee is $35. All registration fee monies will go toward the Salad Bowl Festival scholarships awarded in 2013.
Salad dressing entries will be judged in two categories: “creamy” or “vinaigrette.” Entries must be delivered between 11 a.m. and noon to the Muse Building, the only pink building on Guadalupe Street. Contestants are required to share their recipes and are not allowed to use a mix of any kind. Cash awards include $50 for Best of Show; $50 for first place; $25 for second place; and $10 for third place.
The night before the festival is also momentous as Salad Bowl Festival organizers host an elegant dinner and cocktails evening called the “Excellence in Agriculture Awards Celebration” on Friday, October 12 at 6 p.m. at Guadalupe’s historic Muse Building. “This award honors someone who has significantly impacted the Central Coast agriculture community through their efforts,” Forest said, adding that this year’s Legacy Award recipient is Nicholas Tompkins, chairman of the board for Apio, Inc. and owner of NKT Commercial in San Luis Obispo. The evening will also include live music, food catered by The Swiss and the premiere of the “Magique Rouge,” a cocktail created especially for the event. Tickets are $50.
“It has been phenomenal to see so many area businesses and residents donate their time, ideas and financial resources to this event,” Forest said. “We are truly showing that being healthy is also fun.”
For general festival information, tickets to the Agriculture Awards Celebration, or details on registering for the Salad Dressing Contest or Grease & Greens Car Show, visit saladbowlfestival.com.