Two family-friendly & delicious Santa Cruz benefits this weekend: Mole fest & Oktoberfest

Family-friendly, Santa Cruz, Sample mole from eight local restaurants and chefs on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Miller Maxfield Inc.

Sample mole from eight local restaurants and chefs on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Miller Maxfield Inc.

There are many fun food-related activities this weekend in Santa Cruz, including two benefits that are family-friendly: the first annual Mole & Mariachi Festival Sat Oct 5, and Oktoberfest on Sunday, Oct 6. Below you’ll find details on both events.

Mole & Mariachi Festival Saturday Oct 5, 2013
The event is from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park, and it’s full of fabulous food—and not just mole! In addition to lots of local food, wine, beer, and other beverages, guests can enjoy music and dance performances, kids’ activities (such as tortilla making, giant bubble making, a piñata, and paper flowers) and a silent auction. Eight local restaurants and chefs will prepare 10 different moles. Mole dishes will be judged by festival attendees and by a panel of local celebrity judges. If you want to participate in the judging, you’ll pay a $10 fee to enter a separate, roped-off area, taste samples of the competing moles, and then vote. For non-mole-competition food/drink items, tickets will be sold for $1 each and different vendors will decide how many tickets their respective items cost. A list of mole competitors and other vendors is below. If you’re not familiar with mole, it’s a wonderful and hearty traditional Mexican sauce, sometimes made using chocolate.

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks Executive Director Bonny Hawley is very excited about the festival. “The Mole & Mariachi Festival marks the first time in many years that the Mission has hosted a heritage-themed event,” Hawley shared. “It is especially important to us since this downtown Santa Cruz State Park was slated for closure in 2012, but Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks was determined to save it and that’s what we did. The festival is a celebration of what our community has been able to accomplish saving this wonderful park and making it into a vibrant cultural event venue.”

There are 75 silent auction items including a week at a beachfront vacation home in Mexico, 3 nights in the beautiful artisan-rich city of Guanajuato, Mexico, multiple “staycations” (Costanoa and Hotel Paradox, for example), Disneyland and Boardwalk tickets, and certificates for all kinds of activities (such as golf, pilates, climbing, surfing, sailing, kayaking) plus restaurants and salons.

Event proceeds benefit Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks in support of Mission restoration projects, educational programming for school children and community cultural events at the park.

For more information visit the event Facebook page.

Location: Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park, 144 School Street near downtown Santa Cruz

Mole competitors:
Cafe Carlos Mexican Restaurant (Scotts Valley)
El Chipotle Restaurant (Soquel)
El Jardin Restaurant (Santa Cruz)
El Palomar (Santa Cruz)
La Cabana Taqueria (Soquel)
Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant (Aptos)
My Mom’s Mole (Watsonville)
Tortilla Flats (Soquel)

Food & drink for sale:
Ceviche tostadas from H&H Fresh Fish
Garbanzo beans & roasted peanuts from R. Magdalena Produce
Mexican dishes from Café Carlos
Mexican dishes from El Chipotle
Hot dogs from Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks’ Snack Shack
Churros from Jesus Lopez (he usually sells churros at places such as “…the Corralitos town center, and Watsonville fruit stands/busy corner markets”)
Fruit cups from Antojitos Pepitos
Pumpkin bread & apple pie from Beckmann’s Old World Bakery
Cookies from Pacific Cookie Company
Ice cream from Mission Hill Creamery
Icy fruit drinks from Tejuinos Guadalajara
Wine from Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard
Beer from Discretion Brewing
30th Annual Oktoberfest Sunday Oct 6, 2013
Family-friendly event raises funds for local hospice programs
This event is Oct. 6 from 12-4 p.m. Proceeds benefit Hospice of Santa Cruz County. Admission is free. Lunch is available for purchase from 12-2:30 p.m. Items include kielbasa, sauerkraut, potato salad, and apple strudel prepared by Five Star Catering. Beverages available will include soft drinks, beer, wine, and cocktails.

The program includes live accordion music and both silent and live auctions; the silent one is from 12-3:30 p.m. and the live one begins at 2:45 p.m. Also, tickets will be sold for a drawing with cash prizes (and you don’t need to be present to win). Auction items include vacations and weekend getaways to places such as Hawaii, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and Palm Desert; a fantastic TiVo package; fine wines, tickets to sports events and area shows; jewelry; artwork; and restaurant and business gift certificates. “This is a wonderful event,” said Lorraine Margon, Friends of Hospice member and volunteer. “The food is really tasty and there are plenty of great items to bid on, many of which are fantastic bargains, and all for a worthy cause.”

If bidding for prizes isn’t your cup of tea, you can peruse the “cash and carry” tables and purchase products including holiday items as well as vintage and re-purposed items, and browse the large assortment of garden items such as flowering plants and ornamentals. For more info call (831) 430-3000.

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