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July 13, 2010 > Adobo Festival celebrates cultural community

Adobo Festival celebrates cultural community

By Julie Grabowski

Union City welcomes an explosion of Filipino culture with the 5th Annual Adobo Festival July 17 and 18 in Kennedy Park. Sponsored by Philippines television network GMA, the event offers a multitude of sounds, tastes, and textures, with tastes at the top of the bill.

"Once you mention adobo, it only creates one idea," says festival founder Joey Camins of JS Camins Productions. The festival takes its name from the traditional staple dish that symbolizes Filipino culture. Adobo is a Spanish word meaning sauce or marinade, the base of which is comprised of vinegar, garlic, and soy sauce. Pork and chicken are the typical meats used in the marinade, but substitutions abound, including beef, lamb, squid, quail, and catfish. Several varieties will be offered at the festival through the Adobo Cook-Off contest, where people are challenged to bring their own unique blend of spices and ingredients to make adobo magic.

Beyond a wealth of good food, the free festival is packed with non-stop entertainment including live music from 25 bands, a Beauty Pageant, Kiddie Pop Star Competition, and an appearance by popular Filipino singer, actress, and television host Jolina Magdangal. Approximately 50 arts and crafts vendors will also be on site, selling clothes, books, flags, t-shirts, and other items representative of Filipino heritage.

Attendees can play games, collect freebies, and enter to win free airline tickets to the Philippines and Hawaii, or free balikbayan boxes which are special shipping boxes filled with small gifts for friends and family from travelers returning to the Philippines.

Camins says there was usually only one Filipino festival a year, and always held in the same place. The Adobo Festival began in Daly City but moves to a different location each year, serving as an outreach to the Filipino community. "We're called, like, the gypsy festival," says Camins. Previous host cities have included Newark, San Jose, and Stockton, drawing between 7,000 and 15,000 people each year.

"We're trying to create community among the Filipinos," says Camins of the festival's specific locations in large Filipino communities. But the festival is not exclusive, and Camins readily welcomes all ethnicities, saying that the festival serves to educate other people about the Filipino culture and create friendships.

Whether celebrating your own culture or discovering another, the Adobo Festival is sure to spice up your weekend.

Adobo Festival
Saturday & Sunday, July 17 & 18
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Kennedy Park
1333 Decoto Road, Union City
(650) 290-0542

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