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August 15, 2006 > Zucchini lovers unite

Zucchini lovers unite

by Julie Grabowski

Once again the Hayward Zucchini Festival takes over Kennedy Park in its 24th year of all things zucchini. On August 19 and 20, the versatile vegetable will appear deep-fried, in shish kebab, egg rolls, wrap sandwiches, and even on foot in the forms of Zack, Zeek, and Zuke, The Zucchini Rangers. Various mystery chefs will be on the premises, as well as Roy Tamez, who hosts a cooking demonstration from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The ever-popular zucchini growing and carving contest will take place, as well as a cooking contest held Saturday at 1 p.m. in the wine and micro-brew area. But the festival is not just about food.

Founded in 1983 during a low point in the economy, the Hayward Zucchini Festival was created to raise funds for local charities and non-profit organizations in a family-oriented atmosphere alive with music, shopping, food, and fun. Organizers wanted to build a sense of pride and cooperation among their citizens, establishing a different and exciting event right in their own backyard. Today approximately 1,000 volunteers run the two-day event, which draws over 25,000 visitors. The festival strives to be culturally diverse, developing services and activities that promote and strengthen community identity, bringing together the arts, business, education, and non-profit groups. Almost two million dollars has been raised and distributed to local non-profit organizations and charities throughout the festival's history.

Hayward's diverse community is represented in many ways. Over 150 artisans will show-off their work; local musicians will perform on two stages; and a gaggle of classic cars will be on display. Kids can enjoy games, rides, and prizes in Kid's Town, while face painters stand ready to turn anyone into a work of art. Artist Ron Strawser will also be on hand, doing sketches.

This year's festivities take place in memory of two men: Butch Watson, who coordinated the Festival for fifteen years prior to his death in February, and City Councilman Matt Jimenez, who died last month. Sponsors include South Hayward Lions, St. Rose Hospital, 99.7 KFRC, and Hayward Area Recreation and Park District.

General admission is $5; seniors 55 and over, juniors, and handicapped, $2; children 5 and under, free. For more information, call (510) 264-9466.

24th Annual Hayward Zucchini Festival
Sat. and Sun. August 19 and 20
10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Kennedy Park
19501 Hesperian Blvd; corner of Hesperian and Golf Course Road

Performance schedule:

4:30-6 p.m., James Clark (Elvis)
6 -7:30 p.m., Bobby Escovedo & Kool Kats
2:30-4 p.m., Delta Wires
1 -2:30 p.m., Durty Dogs
11:30-1 p.m., Angst

3 -6 p.m., Fab Faux (Tribute to the Beatles)
6 -7:30 p.m., Delta Blues Dawgs
1:30-3 p.m., Lava Latin Rhythms
12 -1:30 p.m., Durty Dogs
10:30-Noon, Angst

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