home / Entertainment
Maricopa savors Salsa Fest!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Record breaking crowd attends...
Over 10,500 attended the April 25 Fifth Annual Maricopa Salsa Festival at the newly expanded Pacana Park. With vendors, community exhibitors, salsa competitors, kids’ zone, and music playing, the Fest was a huge success. Nary a glitch marred the evening event that encouraged use of the 16 shuttle buses, which left from numerous points around Maricopa.
From the spirited salsa dance demonstrations by Mountain Pointe that had the community on the dance floor, to the long lines at the food vendors, everyone seemed to be “grooving.”
The 55 salsa competitors vied in categories like best mildest, hottest, most unusual, guacamole, bean dip, and overall, with a new contest for “Best Restaurant Salsa.” Massive amounts of corn chips – 2800 pounds and 150,000 sample cups-- were needed to make the competition happen.
Amada Landeros took the “Best Overall” category, winning $1,000 and a trip to Puerto Vallarta for her efforts as well as $500 for her performance in the “Best Mild Salsa” category. Landeros and her group had barely left the stage for the mild salsa award, when they were called back to receive the award for “best overall salsa” with Food Network star Chef Ingrid Hoffmann (“Simply Delicioso”) presenting her with a giant check.
The most community-minded salsa winner was Lance Lane State Farm, which won the $500 award for most unusual salsa. When receiving the award, Lance Lane immediately announced that they were donating the money to the F.O.R. Food Bank.
Maricopa Community Services Director Marty McDonald served as master of ceremonies for the evening. During the awards ceremony, he announced that Maricopa was experiencing the expanded Pacana Park completed just in time for the event. Ten acres have been added to the park, plus two new ball fields and 190 parking spaces. When McDonald spurred the crowd on with “Is everybody having fun?” the crowd responded with a rousing cheer.
McDonald was “blown away” by the “awesome turnout” at the Fest, above expectations for this fifth year event, with close to 11,000-estimated attendance. He also acknowledged his team, which helped make the event possible.
Received with enthusiasm was McDonald’s news that the new library would be “opening in late May or early June.” A teen center to open in August at the old library’s site was also announced and greeted by cheers.
McDonald also announced that a new community center and aquatic center would be coming, since the money is available through last year’s bond issue. The crowd showed excitement, even though those community amenities are years away from development and completion.
Music as backdrop
Bands entertaining were: Freddie Duran Plan, Havana Soul and EastonAshe. They performed well and encouraged the crowd to dance and respond. Doing an admirable job, Atlantic Audio served as sound mixers for the event for the third year. The music entertained as people enjoyed wall climbing, bounce houses, and local vendors’ food. Community displays included the Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Library, Band Boosters, and others.
Local vendor Romey Flowers had around 30 customers waiting in line for his barbecue. By 8:30 PM, Flowers had already served 350 and expected to sell out. New local caterer Blanton’s BBQ sold out, having served 500 customers. There was a constant long line at the fry bread booth. Other food vendors seemed to be busy, too, but people were waiting patiently for their turn.
Therese Starkey, community volunteer, was thanked for her efforts in tallying the salsa votes.
Best Overall Salsa and Best Mild Salsa – Amada Landeros with Joyce Roger, Catherine Rogers, Kate Rogers, and Maria Alarcon.
Hot Salsa – Hot Gringo
Most Unusual Salsa– Lance Lane State Farm
Best Restaurant Salsa – On the Border
Best Guacamole and Best Bean Dip – Mama D’s for both categories
Event sponsor and Orbitel President Keith Kirkman announced other prizes, including a 42” TV and tickets to Disneyland, which were not claimed.
Amada Landeros (in center) won Best Overall Salsa and Best Mild Salsa