Last weekend, I attended the 19th annual Oxnard Salsa Festival. The event is a huge celebration of non-stop salsa dancing, marketplace shopping, salsa tasting, international foods and children’s activities.
Food festivals typically provide the best of an area’s local cuisine. Knowing that Vallarta Supermarket in Oxnard is the best Hispanic market I’ve ever frequented, I figured that the venue was in a prime area. Obviously, I would not feel the same if the event was hosted in New York City.
For only $5.00, you are able to have 10 salsa tastings. Upon payment, they hand you a tray to hold your cups of salsa, a micro guide to the tent, a small bag of chips and ten tasting tickets. Each ticket entitles you to one 1 oz cup of salsa.
I enjoyed a number of the salsas, however, I was disappointed that except for Ana’s, the vendors didn’t them packaged for sale. I couldn’t resist the labeling and purchased a pint of Ana’s Spice for Mexicans. After coming home, I noticed that it contained habanero chiles.
A beer garden was attached to the salsa tent. Sponsored by Budweiser, they had a trailer that provided Bud, Bud Lite, Stella Artois and Shock Top Belgian White.
Some of the salsa vendors included:
- Ana’s Salsa of Ojai CA
- Sabor Maggie’s Best, Oxnard, CA
- Ay Chiwawa
- San Luis Salsa Company, San Luis Obispo, CA
- Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, Oxnard CA
- Tresierras Supermarkets, Oxnard CA
- Red Hot Foods, Santa Paula CA
- Vallarta Supermarkets, Oxnard CA
While I’ve made homemade salsa and enjoy it immensely, I don’t consider myself to be an expert in this area. After tasting about 8 varieties, it was clear that the Oxnard Salsa Festival is the venue to try premium salsa. You won’t find the garden variety salsa roja or salsa fresca. Almost all of the vendors had an interesting blend that exhibited their salsa expertise.
While I was there, the Janeen Puente Orchestra was performing on stage. I later found out that she is the granddaughter of the late Tito Puente. Six different bands performed over the two day event. As you might imagine, salsa music really energized the audience.
Chef demonstrations were also conducted throughout the weekend. Second place Master Chef Season 2 winner, Chef Adrien Nieto, born and raised in Ventura Country , provided demonstrations both days. Also present was Chef James Du from the White Rabbit Café/Truck.
A large number of food vendors were present. Vallarta Supermarket was strategically placed near the entrance with their huge barbeque grill. Sabor and BG’s Tacos had long lines. The Strawberry Company from Oxnard had gorgeous looking strawberry confections.
I hope I can convince my family to attend next year’s event.
Oxnard Salsa Festival