Annual Chicken Festival Something to Crow About

Submitted by Mary Cattolica  |  2019-09-11

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - At the Village of Fair Oaks, it’s time to start clucking, crowing and scratching the “Feed Court” floor for some grub at the 14th Annual Fair Oaks Chicken Festival on Saturday, September 21st.

You can join some 12,000 other villagers by attending the Fair Oaks Recreation & Park District presented festival and visiting an eclectic variety of craft vendors including painting, photography, glassworks, jewelry, woodcarvings, candles, lotions, clothing, and much more.

The main stage will be featuring live bands throughout the day (Jax Hammer, FBI, & Mullet Mechanix). The Fair Oaks Chicken Festival also features a kid’s park with kid friendly performances, games, and activities for the entire family!

The Fair Oaks Rotary Club will be providing Craft-Brew Tasting represented by local breweries in the Northern California Region. Over 10 different food vendors will be offering a wide range of food in our “Feed Court” sponsored by SactoMoFo.

The Fair Oaks Host Lions Club will host the 6th annual Cluck n’ Crow contest (chicken impersonating with a grand prize of $100!) and the Fair Oaks Recreation & Park District is happy to once again host the GREAT Chicken contest (wooden chicken decorating).

Brand new this year is a Pop-Up Paint class that will take place in Plaza Park, where participants will learn to paint their very own chicken.  Pre-registration for the class is required. Also don’t forget our Pancake Breakfast Saturday morning, presented by the Fair Oaks/Orangevale Grange #354. 

Admission & Parking are free from 10 am to 5 pm at the Village of Fair Oaks, 7003 Park Drive, Fair Oaks, CA 95628

For more information visit www.forpd.org

Locals Gather to Drink and Dine at Shangri-la

Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-08-08

Diners enjoy the outdoor patio and welcoming atmosphere at Shangri-la, a new restaurant in Fair Oaks Village. Photo by Shaunna Boyd

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Shangri-la is “a gathering place for amazing food and cocktails where guests can stay awhile and enjoy the amenities,” said owner and general manager Sommer Peterson. The restaurant opened in June and it has already become a destination for locals seeking a unique dining experience.

Peterson described the philosophy as “beautiful food with the highest level of hyper-locally sourced fruits, vegetables, and meats.” Everything is made from scratch with seasonal ingredients. “It’s the epitome of farm to fork,” said Peterson. “That should be an expectation for savvy diners.”

Shangri-la serves an elevated style of comfort food — but instead of the typical entrée selections, the dishes are designed to be shared. “That’s how I like to eat. I want all the flavors,” said Peterson, “I want to try everything.” Peterson said that the family-style experience is more fun: “It’s more social — to break bread and gather around the table. I think it stimulates conversation.”

Along with specially curated food and drinks, Peterson said that creating “a lifestyle vibe involves offering a little bit more.” In addition to the indoor dining room and bar, Shangri-la has seating on the patio with an outdoor bar, fire pits, two bocce ball courts, and a welcoming policy toward friendly dogs and their owners. “We want people to enjoy themselves and know we’re bringing them a beautiful meal,” said Peterson.

After enjoying a meal with friends on the patio of Shangri-la, Rachel Maskell said, “It’s one thing to have a very beautiful space — and they’ve definitely done that, they’ve got the Palm Springs vibe — but the food is actually so good, which makes me super happy. … You know it’s fresh.”

When asked about the meaning of the name, Peterson said, “I was trying to come up with a name that really represented the place I was creating, and Shangri-la came to mind … a mythical, utopian place where people go to escape their troubles, and I think we need that right now.”

With the successful opening and positive local response, it is a surprise to learn that creating Shangri-la was a long and difficult process. “It was more than challenging,” said Peterson. “We got held up with a lot of red tape with Sacramento County. … It was beyond what I could have imagined.” A process expected to take one year instead dragged into two, doubling the time and money Peterson put into the venture.

Peterson said she was stuck in design review with the County for months, but it felt more like a “design critique” as they held up the process over minor aesthetic details without citing any code to back up their objections. “I felt it was irresponsible. They had zero sense of urgency to help get this business going.”

“Small business owners are not supported by the County. I definitely saw that firsthand,” said Peterson. “I want to champion for small business owners, especially women.”

Peterson is proud to be a local business owner and is grateful to have talented people working with her, including executive chef Jodie Chavious, chef de cuisine Russell Middleton, and bar manager Brett Walker. “I’ve built an amazing team here,” said Peterson. “I can have all the amazing ideas but without that support it stays as a concept.”

Peterson grew up in Fair Oaks and recently moved back after living in San Francisco for more than 20 years. “I was born and raised here, and I saw the need for high-quality food and drink in Fair Oaks. That’s what inspired me to start the restaurant. … It’s been really personal and special to be able to bring this to my home town.”

Shangri-la is located in Fair Oaks Village at 7960 Winding Way. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM. For reservations, visit www.shangrilafairoaks.com.

 

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The California State Fair ended its 2019 season with strong food, beverage and, amusement ride sales which is thanks in-part to an all-new food Festival Pass. The pass allowed Fair attendees to pick four items from over 30 different offerings ranging from mouth-watering appetizers, one-of-a-kind entrees, and to-die-for desserts from 30 food vendors at a low price of $28. Food sales from the Food Festival Pass generated roughly $380,000 in revenue alone.

“The Food Festival pass was popular every single day of the Fair,” says Wille Madaus, owner of Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls, whose Bacon & Pecan Cinnamon Roll won Best of Show in the Food Festival Competition. “We had our highest grossing Saturday ever and are up more than 20% this year.”

Barbecue sales, always a Fairgoer favorite, hit an all-time high with $1.3 million in gross sales while new, fresh food options such as the Fair’s first vegan stand, Frik’n Vegan, had a very successful debut. The food vendor has already confirmed plans to return to the fairgrounds next year. Non-profit organization Friends of the California State Fair program sold over 7,585 pounds of fruit during the California State Fair Farm.

“Food has a powerful way of bringing people together” said General Manager and CEO of Cal Expo & State Fair Rick Pickering. “We are grateful for the opportunity to provide a common place for Fairgoers of all backgrounds to come together and celebrate our state’s rich history, diverse cultures and some long-standing and new traditions that make California great.”

Overall, the total for food and beverage sales was $8.5 million this year, bringing local sales tax revenue to the city, county, and state over just 17 days of the Fair.

Butler Amusements, the CA State Fair vendor responsible for the amusement rides, also reported its highest weekend in history with sales of over $500,000 on Saturday, July 20 and more than $400,000 in sales for rides on Sunday, July 21, making it a $1,000,000 ride weekend. More than 100,000 people rode the monorail and Skyride, taking in views of the entire fairgrounds and the surrounding areas from high above.

The California State Fair closed out its 2019 season — where innovation was a major theme — with an exciting Drone Light Show presented by DISH. Other novel ideas were created at the Fairgrounds, including Esports gaming tournaments every day of the Fair, the unique Bank of America sponsored Selfie Experience, and other new and exciting exhibits.

“This year’s fair brought together the beauty and innovation that demonstrates the very best of California,” said Pickering.

The state-wide Youth Mariachi Competition returned for a second year as part of a celebration of Mexican culture's influence of the Golden State. The competition, held at the illustrious Golden 1 Stage, showcased talented youth mariachi ensembles from throughout the state. The competition gave participants an opportunity to win up to $5,000 in grants for their respective academy or school mariachi program.

The new Esports Gaming tournament sold out all of its tournament slots and first-ever California State Fair Bear Cup champions were crowned. The Esports Gaming tournament garnered more than 700,000 viewers around the country on the California State Fair’s very own Twitch channel; hosted on Twitch's front page. Esports is a new and booming video game competition and having this event showcases California’s robust tech industry.

An innovative Drone Light Show produced by The Great Lakes Drone Company, was followed by a traditional fireworks show that wrapped up the CA State Fair's events. The combination of the old, beloved fireworks and the new drone light show symbolizes the innovation and nostalgic activities the Fair provides.

The CA State Fair provided opportunities for community engagement by providing free entrance to 10,000 military, veterans and first responders. Attendees on Mondays who provided three non-perishable food items received free admission during SMUD Giving Monday. Attendees donated a total of 31,000 pounds of food; all of which went to the Elk Grove Food Bank. Fair guests also had multiple opportunities to adopt an animal from Front Street and SPCA animal shelters.

“We look forward to continuing this strong tradition of showcasing innovation and have already begun plans to ensure the 2020 California State Fair can achieve newer and greater entertainment heights,” added Pickering.

Despite an extremely hot final weekend, Californians from all regions of the state were welcomed and enjoyed the Fair, and all its activities, for 17 days! Total attendance at the California State Fair increased from the prior year, up more than 5%, for a total of 601,761 happy Fairgoers.

To stay up to date with all things California State Fair, please visit www.castatefair.org

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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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California State Fair Announces Food Festival Competition Winners

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

Best of Show: Bacon Pecan Cinnamon Roll - Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls. Photo Courtesy of CA State Fair

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.

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