California State Fair Announces Food Festival Competition Winners

By Sabrina Washington, Cal Expo  |  2019-07-15

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – The California State Fair held its inaugural Food Festival Competition on Saturday, July 13. With 30 food vendors participating in the competition, judges tasted more than 30 items and gave out awards in five categories: Side, Dessert, Fruity, Fried, and Entrée. There were two Best of Division winners, and one ultimate Best of Show winner.

The top prize went to Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls for their Bacon Pecan Cinnamon Roll.

Any of these food items can be purchased with the Food Festival Pass. For only $28, the buyer receives four tickets which can be turned in to any participating Food Festival stand for the Food Festival item.

For its first year, the Food Festival has been a success. The Food Festival Pass sold so well that it had to be reordered before the 2019 CA State Fair opened. Click here to purchase a Food Festival Pass. Below is the full list of winners.

Best of Show
Bacon Pecan Cinnamon Roll - Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls

Best of Division - SAVORY
Elote Fries - Sharky’s

Best of Division - DESSERT
Bacon Pecan Cinnamon Roll - Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls

SIDE
Gold:
Roasted Chicken Taquitos - Pepe's Pollo Vaquero
Elote Fries - Sharky’s

Silver:
Italian “Alps” Nachos - Pignotti’s Gourmet Snacks
Loaded Tator Tots - Golden Bear Grill

Bronze:
Frik’n Vegan Nachos - Frik’n Vegan
Orange Chicken Fries - Pon's Chinese Food

DESSERT
Gold:
Cookie Dough Sundae - Pizza
Bacon Pecan Cinnamon Roll - Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls

Silver:
Chimney Cake Cone - Chimney Cake Cones
Cotton Candy Bunny - Sweet Art Cotton Candy
Oreo Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich - Monster Cookies

Bronze:
Oreo Sundae - Suck It Up
Spicy Chocolate Covered Bacon - The Bacon Habit
Unicorn Kettle Corn - German Kettle Popcorn

FRUITY
Gold:
Mangonada Shaved Ice - Shaved Ice

Silver:
Strawberry Pineapple Shortcake Sundae - California Ice Cream Company
Ice Cream in a Pineapple - Ice Cream in a Fruit

Bronze:
Green Monster Smoothie - Country Fair Cinnamon Roll
Passionate Pineapple Smoothie - Ice Cream in a Fruit
Pina Colada Smoothie - Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls

FRIED
Gold:
Deep Fried Caramel Apple Pie - J & L Sweeties

Silver:
Deep Fried Chicken Skins - Eat at Joe’s
Milo’s Monster Corndog - Milo’s 

Bronze:
Deep Fried Banana Hot Dog - Hot Doggin'
Deep Fried Fanta - Sweet Cheeks Fried Treats
Pizza Funnel Cake - Pennsylvania Dutch Funnel Cakes
Jalapeno Corndog - Rainbow’s End/Candytown
 

ENTREE
Gold:
Burnt Tri Tip Ends Sandwich - Eat at Joe’s

Silver:
Beef Taco Salad - The Original State Fair Soft Taco
Chicken or Carne Asada Taco Plate - Fiesta’s Mexican

Bronze:
Vegan Philly Cheesesteak - Frik’n Vegan
Grizzly Mac Attack Mac & Cheese - Montana Q BBQ
Hot Cheeto Chicken Burrito - Chili Peppers
Cap’n Crunch Chicken Sliders - Boss Burger

The California State Fair is an international award-winning fair, receiving top honors at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions out of more than 1,100 fairs world-wide. The California State Fair is dedicated as a place to celebrate the best the state has to offer in agriculture, technology and the diversity of its people, traditions and trends that shape the Golden State's future. We invite you to join us for the 166th California State Fair, July 12 - 28, 2019.

Donate Three, Non-Perishable Food Items and Get in for Free

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - As part of its ongoing community giving efforts, SMUD is sponsoring Giving Mondays at the Fair, an effort to collect needed items for the Elk Grove Food Bank. SMUD Giving Mondays at the Fair will accept three non-perishable, non-expired items per person in exchange for a free ticket into the California State Fair before 3 p.m. The first 5,000 people in the gates will also receive a free drawstring backpack.

“This partnership is a great way to give back to those in our community who need it most,” said Rhonda Staley-Brooks, SMUD’s community development manager. “Last year, this effort collected 28,000 pounds of food, and this year we hope to surpass that. It’s these types of community efforts that help lift up our entire community and we’re glad to be a part of it.”

SMUD Giving Mondays at the Fair will be on Monday, July 15th and Monday, July 22nd. Visit the booth by the Blue Gate to drop off your food items and receive a free ticket to the Fair.

The Elk Grove Food Bank is in need of the following items: Canned Meat (Chicken or Tuna), Peanut Butter, Disposable Adult Briefs, Ensure, Baby Diapers, Socks – All Sizes, Canned Fruit, Canned Veggies, Soup, Beans, Mac and Cheese, Pasta, Boxed Mashed Potatoes, Packaged Rice, Top Ramen and Cereal.

For more information about SMUD Giving Mondays at the Fair, visitcastatefair.org/smudgivingmonday, and to learn more about SMUD’s community giving, visit smud.org/en/in-our-community.

As the nation’s sixth-largest community-owned, not-for-profit, electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for more than 70 years to Sacramento County and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties. SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power mix is about 50 percent non-carbon emitting. For more information, visit SMUD.org.

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Food Festival Passes on High Demand, More on Order

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - California State fairgoers appear to be hungry for more excitement, as this year’s brand new Fair Food Festival Pass sold so fast, that more were ordered even before the Fair opened its gates. The California State Fair & Food Festival officially opened this morning at 10 a.m. with big crowds, eagerly awaiting to get in.

“We’re so thrilled Opening Day was such a great success; it’s fun seeing so many people and families out having a good time, and of course, eating at our 100 food booths.” said Rick Pickering, Cal Expo General Manager and CEO. “We’ve worked hard to make this year’s State Fair the best yet – a fair for all Californians up and down the state. The food festival and the new Food Festival Pass are just part of what we have in store for the next two and a half weeks.”

The Food Festival Passes have been so popular that more have already been ordered for visitors to the fair in the weeks to come. People who purchase the Food Festival Pass can select four items from more than 30 different food vendors – including appetizers, entrees desserts, and more – all for only $28, (a $40 value). Nearly 30 food vendors created new food items for this year’s State Fair. A list of what you can get can be found here.

The Food Festival Pass can be purchased at the State Fair Box Office, Guest Services or at select State Fair Souvenir Shops. Food Festival Passes purchased online are picked up at the State Fair Box Office, prior to entering the Fair. It can be used by anyone, any day of the State Fair. The California State Fair & Food Festival runs through July  28th at Cal Expo.

Fairgoers are also encouraged to visit the website at CaStateFair.org or download the CA State Fair app where they can map out all of their eating adventures. 

The California State Fair is an international award-winning fair, receiving top honors at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions out of more than 1,100 fairs world-wide. The California State Fair is dedicated as a place to celebrate the best the state has to offer in agriculture, technology and the diversity of its people, traditions and trends that shape the Golden State's future. We invite you to join us for the 166th California State Fair, July 12-28, 2019. 

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Serving California's Veterans and their Families

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Can military sustenance become scrumptious? Can drab be transformed into delectable?

See for yourself at CalVet’s 7th Annual MRE Cooking Challenge, Thursday July 18 at the California State Fair, an event that promises to be tastefully done. The Challenge pairs military veterans and noted local chefs as they look to impress a panel of culinary experts by turning those Meal-Ready-To-Eat packages – often dreaded by folks in the Armed Forces – into gourmet dinners. Or at least into something close.

Considered to be the marquee event of the State Fair’s Military and Veteran Appreciation Day, the extravaganza begins at noon in Cal Expo’s Cooking Theater, California Building B.

Here’s the day’s menu for your viewing pleasure:               

Classic Culinary Cooking Challenge

Noon: To whet your appetite for the upcoming challenge, several members of the California National Guard will take turns in introducing the veterans and celebrity chefs, provide a brief culinary history of the MRE, and host a trivia session. You will also be able to meet with the participants and sample bites from an MRE, getting a taste of what our military men and women dine on in the field.

3 p.m. – Deborah Hoffman of CalVet will be the colorful analyst during the second course. Chefs will vie for three randomly chosen MREs placed in the pantry, or whatever remains. Using their culinary skills and available ingredients, we should be treated to edible works of art … or not!

6 p.m. – And then, the greatly-anticipated main course will be served up by V101 radio personality Big Al Sams. The veterans and chefs, whom you met earlier, will team up to complete their mission: To turn MREs into appealing and tasty meals, using their skills and available ingredients. Judges will pick the winner based upon taste, presentation, skill, and showmanship.

7:15 p.m. – Dessert is Ceremony de awards.

This year’s field includes four veterans: Bryce Palmer, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and chef at Mulvaney’s B&L; Michael Hedin, U.S. Marine Corps, member education unit manager at CalPERS; Rob Gomez, U.S. Army, a California Highway Patrol sergeant; and Shannon Terry, California National Guard and a program director for the non-profit Work for Warriors.

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Eppie’s Race is Back On

Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-07-11

Great American Triathlon organizers are business partners Ken McGuire (left) and Dan Niccum.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Businessman Ken McGuire last year feared was the end of an era when the “final” Eppie’s Great race was announced.

Co-founder of Innovations Health Systems – a network of heath-centered services and facilities in the Bay Area – McGuire (52) never actually competed in the annual event.

“I felt it was too great a tradition to let die,” he explains. “People came here from all over the USA to compete. Eppie’s was a boost for our national profile. We Sacramentans talked about the great race in the same conversation as Kings Basketball games and the California International Marathon. It helped charities. For all sorts of good reasons, keeping Eppie’s alive seemed critical.”

Now, thanks to McGuire, the world’s oldest triathlon has not quite ended, after all. Steered by the Sacramento businessman, the contest that the late Eppie Johnston began in 1974 has new branding. From the starting gun July 20, and for future summers, it will be run as The Great American Triathlon. The endurance epic will again follow the American River Parkway in foot, bicycle and kayak stages. While benefitting charities, it will endure as one of our area’s great summer events.

Via many meetings and phone calls, McGuire persuaded major Eppie’s supporters to keep paddling. In January, Sacramento County gave approval for the new parkway event.

Capital City Road Management will continue to manage the race. Former volunteers have rallied, and more than 20 companies have agreed to co-sponsor. McGuire’s business partner, Carmichael resident Dan Niccum, is onboard for brand development.

The new race will continue restauranteur Eppie Johnston’s philanthropic drive that raised more than a million dollars for non-profits over 48 years. “Our fundraising for the American River Parkway Foundation and children’s health charities is important,” confirms McGuire. “We hope to write big checks for good causes. But above all, we want to maintain a community event that defines summer in Sacramento.”

The world’s oldest triathlon will set a cracking pace through the accustomed river stretches of Arcade, Carmichael, Fair Oaks and Rancho Cordova. Starting line is at William Pond Park. Athletes will follow a six-mile route to the Guy West Bridge near CSUS, and then grab bikes to pedal 12 miles to the beach below Sunrise Boulevard (Fair Oaks). There is no swimming stage; contestants will board kayaks, brave the San Juan Rapids and follow the river downstream to Rancho Cordova. Thousands of supporters, onlookers and volunteers traditionally cheer athletes through all stages. Après-race celebrations will include live music, food trucks and a beer garden beside the River Bend Park finish line.

Entry in the Great American Triathlon costs $40 for athletes 18 and under; $150 for adult competitors; junior relay is $110; adult relay is $225. Tandem water craft admission is $300. Contestants may use rented kayaks. For information, go to www.greatamericantriathlon.com

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Kiwanis Art Fiesta Sizzles at Pavilions

Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-06-14

Sheltering Ruth Rippon’s famous outdoor sculptures, Katie and niece Kaylee Blomberg model wearable art during a recent art Fiesta at Pavilions Shopping Center. Hand-decorated parasols and hats were created by Paint Misbehavin’ artist Susie Thomas.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - A sizzling art fiesta filled Pavilions Shopping Center last weekend. Enduring mid-90s temperatures during its 61st annual show, the festival raised funds for Sacramento Suburban Kiwanis Club and paraded wares by more than 100 artists and crafters.

Revenue from the event will assist disadvantaged children and adults in the Sacramento region. Other beneficiaries include Just for Kids (helping youth with a family member undergoing cancer treatment); Dyer Kelly Elementary School; Wellspring Women’s Center; Sacramento Crisis Nursery; Stanford House; Easter Seals; Sierra-Arden Food Closet and the Kiwanis Family House. Sacramento Suburban Kiwanis also sponsor four high school Key Clubs and Troops 53 Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. For information on the club, call (916) 972-7337.

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Volunteers Pack 75,000 Meals to Feed the Hungry

Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-05-22

Rotary members stack boxes of packaged meals onto a shipping pallet for distribution to developing countries. Photo by Shaunna Boyd

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Rotary District 5180 has 41 clubs in the Sacramento Region that collaborated on a district-wide meal-packaging event on May 17 at Rusch Park Community Center in Citrus Heights. More than 250 volunteers worked in shifts to bag over 75,000 meals, which will be distributed by Rise Against Hunger, a non-profit international hunger relief organization.

Music blasted through the gymnasium as hundreds of volunteers enthusiastically worked their stations, filling buckets with ingredients, bagging, sealing, packing the finished meals into boxes, and stacking boxes onto shipping pallets. Youth exchange students from Rotary International, players from the Casa Robles High School football team, members of local churches, and rotary members from throughout the District all worked together to package meals for those in need.

The meal bags include a nutrient package, a scoop of dehydrated vegetables, soy protein, and rice. One meal package boiled in a gallon and half of water will feed six people. Rich Hale, president of the Citrus Heights Rotary Club, said the meals are sent to developing countries: “They go all over the world, wherever the need is.”

“There’s a lot of starving people in the world, and you cannot function in society if you’re hungry. That’s why this is so important,” said Hale. “One bag can feed a family of six, so you can see the impact. That’s why we do it.”

District 5180 held a Poker Night fundraiser in April to raise $20,000 for the meal-packing event, and Heinz donated an additional $3,000. With a total of $23,000, the District was able to set the goal of more 75,000 meals.

Hale said, “We’ve been wanting to have a big District event, so this was very successful.… Hopefully this gives us momentum for years to come and we can do this again.” Hale said that next year they’d like to fill a shipping container, which holds 289,000 meals.

Hale said Rise Against Hunger is “a very well-organized company.… They bring all the materials and all the equipment we need.”

“This is an amazing undertaking,” said Pete Schroeder of the Fair Oaks Rotary Club. “It’s just incredible when people get together and it’s organized and they know what they’re doing.”

Jim Quinney, Rise Against Hunger community engagement manager for the Sacramento territory, said, “We started working with the Rotary in Citrus Heights four years ago for the 10,000-meal event, and it’s grown and now we’re collaborating with other clubs.… It’s just been wonderful to see the spirit of collaboration, and all these people are true advocates working to end hunger by 2030.”

Quinney described the Rise Against Hunger meal-packing events as “scalable turn-key operations.” They have the resources to organize events of any size, from large work parties to small team-building events.

Quinney said, “We want to engage as many people as possible. Every day we want people thinking about hunger and how they can help.”

“Helping others is a big part of who we are, and who the club is,” said Fair Oaks Rotary Club member Joe Arguelles. “It’s important to come and stand by your fellow man and help other people, help those who need help, so you can really feel like you’ve done something good for somebody.”

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