Saturday, January 25, 2014
It’s always fun to try to do as the locals do when you travel. Last year, Craig and Dad attended the Tomato Festival in Niland, and when we found out that Calipatria, just a little further down the road, had a Cirtus Festival, folks were anxious to go. The flier said that there would be agricultural displays, seasonal fruit displays, food booths, live music, a bazaar shop, and a beer garden. We were ready. Calipatria is also home to the BEST DONUTS IN THE WORLD, so it seemed like a win-win situation. We loaded up, minus Wiley, who we felt would get too hot in the car. So, much to his dismay; we left him, at home, in the Hag.
The 2nd Annual Citrus Festival, “celebrating citrus and agriculture in our community,” might have been the victim of an over zealous advertising campaign. Things were slated to begin at noon; we arrived around 1:00, and nothing much was happening. We paid our $1.00 admission, got a “C” for citrus written on our hands in orange marker, and walked through the entrance gate. The festival was held at the airport, which appeared to have been defunct for quite some time. In this area, it just means that it was held in a field, which means a dirt (dusty) open space. No matter to any of that.
We walked around the area checking out the food booths, as that was pretty much the extent of the displays, and discussed what we were thinking about eating. Actually, Craig and I had that discussion. The “sirens” of the kettle corn booth mesmerized Dad. This is really one of his favorite foods. He made it known that he had NO intention of eating ANYTHING from the booths. I told him that Craig and I were going to eat here and that I would make him a half a cheese sandwich on rye toast when we got back to the Hag. He agreed, and happily sprinted off to the kettle corn booth to purchase his “lunch.”
These very local food vendors had EVERYTHING in the way of Mexican food. We skipped the Menudo, (I can’t do that – ever) and went for the machaca (shredded, seasoned beef) tacos and horchata. Craig had a fish taco, and it was all really good. My father, who is always skeptical about these things, watched us eat our local fare, and said, “Well, do you think you’ll be able to make it home?” (This means: without an emergency bathroom stop?) (we did) It was unfortunate that there were no seasonal fruit displays, no agricultural displays, no bazaar shop, and we were MUCH too early for the live music and beer garden. I think the party actually started sometime after 5:00pm, when folks got off work, and the sun went down. It was fun, and I adamantly believe that these community celebrations are so important for small towns. Anything that gets people together to celebrate what makes them a “family,” in the largest sense of the word, is a GREAT thing. So, Calipatria, if this festival has a 3rd year go at it, and we do the same, we’ll be back, and I’ll happily wait the 20 minutes for the tamales to come up to temperature!
We left the event and stopped at the local market to buy some milk. It was a small little store with a large supply of beer and pop and a smaller supply of everything else.
I did notice that they sold my all-time favorite, the “Choco-Taco,” and Dad’s favorite, the “Drumstick.” So, I got one of each and a “Toll-House Cookie Sandwich” for Craig, and the daisies were a happy bunch, munching ice cream in the Jeep.
We then drove 2 bolocks down the street and made a stop at the beloved Donut Shop. I bought 2-dozen donut holes. I froze most of them. Really, I did. So, I am hoping that my heart and cardiologist will forgive me for my increasingly poor choices in food.
Highlight of the day: Real. Mexican. Food.