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Time for the 2016 Santa Cruz Mole & Mariachi festival

Mole poblano prepared by David Jackman of restaurant Chocolate, a first-time competitor at the Mole & Mariachi Festival Photo credit: David Jackman

Mole poblano prepared by David Jackman of restaurant Chocolate, a first-time competitor at the Mole & Mariachi Festival
Photo credit: David Jackman

The 4th annual Mole & Mariachi Festival is Saturday, Sept. 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park. The family-friendly food and music festival has free admission. If you want to sample moles, there is a $10 tasting kit for sale that includes six tastes; additional tasting tickets can be purchased for $2 each.

 

Ten local restaurants and chefs—including first-time participant David Jackman of Chocolate—will prepare moles. The other competitors are restaurants El Chipotle, El Jardin, and El Chino; caterers and food makers Cesario Ruiz of My Mom’s Mole, Taquitos Gabriel’s and Sunny’s Catering; and home chefs from Club Tuxpan Santa Cruz, Emma Pinto (Mama Marquita’s) and Lidia Montesino (JoLí Molé).

 

In addition to sampling mole, attendees can purchase beer from Discretion Brewing, wine from Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, fresh-fruit aguas frescas by Mollie’s Country Café and chavelas (a drink made from beer, tomato juice, and spices). Food vendors will sell mole dishes for lunch such as mole Oaxaqueño plates from El Chipotle; mole sopés, mole empanadas and mole huaraches from Taqueria Lidia; and mole tamales from Taquitos Gabriel’s. Also, there will be non-mole selections for sale from Mission Hill Creamery, Garcia’s Fish Tacos and Sason Mexicano, plus churros, fruit cups and roasted corn.

 

There will be music and dance performances, free kids’ crafts and face painting, piñatas every hour, and a raffle with prizes including an all-inclusive trip to Mexico, a wine collection valued at $800 and a stay in an Airstream trailer at the KOA campground across from Manresa State Beach.

 

For the first time ever, Mariachi Feminil Orgullo Mexicano — an all-female mariachi band — will perform at the festival. Other performers include live mariachi music from Mariachi Alma de Mexico and the group’s youth bands, Mariachi Juvenil Alma de Mexico and Mariachi Infantil Alma de Mexico, and dancing by local dance troupes Senderos and Estrellas de Esperanza. Mojigangas (giant, dancing puppets that have been popular at previous festivals) will return.

 

A diverse array of artisans will show and sell work at the festival marketplace, including Artemex’s display of blouses, dresses, drinkware, dolls, jewelry and other handmade items from Mexico; Artesanias Mexicanos; Creative Woman and Alejandro’s Trade. Watsonville food company The Green Waffle will sell take-home packages of healthy waffles.

 

Festival attendees and a panel of local judges will select their favorites. The judges include state Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird; Patricia Santana, owner of Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant; Santa Cruz City Councilmember David Terrazas; Edible Monterey Bay writer Debbie Luhrman; Tony Solis of the Santa Cruz Sentinel; Good Times Publisher Jeanne Howard; and Santa Cruz Life writer Christine Candelaria.

 

All event proceeds benefit the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park (including educational programs and restoration and improvement projects) via Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. The event encourages alternative transportation by providing free trolley rides from downtown.

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

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