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Ventura County Spices it up with the 21st Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival

dance Ventura County Spices it up with the 21st Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival

Dancers Mary Pinto Casillas and Ricky Campos at the 2013 Oxnard Salsa Festival (Photo Credit: Robert Jeffreys)

The City of Oxnard is getting ready to spice things up during the 21st Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival taking place July 26 & 27, 2014, at Plaza Park, 5th & ‘B’ Streets, Oxnard, CA. The annual festival is a celebration of everything salsa — the music, the food and the dance.

The celebration starts with a Friday Night Kick-off Concert (paid concert) on July 25, introducing the Oxnard Salsa Orchestra led by Raul Rico Jr., playing from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets for the Friday night concert seating are $10 per person and can be purchased on-site. Groups of six can pre-order reserved tables for $85, which seat six, on the festival website.

Sizzling Salsa Bands
Four new bands join the Festival this year. The Festival Main Stage entertainment runs continuously from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, July 26 & 27. OPA OPA, one of the new bands, ignites the celebration on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with their distinctive sound, rich percussive rhythms, remarkably unique vocals and robust brassy horns that makes up the powerful sounds of OSA. Next at 2 p.m., appearing for the first time at the Festival, Sabor Latino Orchestra takes to the stage performing their own original music. The 17-piece orchestra provides the best in traditional Latin music and ranks among the most accomplished performers of the golden era of the Mambo Kings, New York Salsa and Afro-Cuban music. At 4:45 p.m., Yari Morè Band closes the day out in a first-ever appearance at the Oxnard Salsa Festival. This exciting band has been providing live entertainment in major cities throughout southern California, Las Vegas, Chicago and Edmonton, Canada for over 20 years.

Sunday’s celebration kicks off with Conjunto Afro Son, also new this year, playing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Led by Bobby Escoto III, this group of seasoned musicians hail from different parts of north, central & South America living in Los Angeles and bringing great music and energy to the stage. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Orquesta Tabaco y Ron, a Southern California favorite, continues the salsa beat. The 10-piece group led by producer and pianist Hector Manuel Rivera will have the audience in full motion, showing off their moves. The Janeen Puente Orchestra takes to the stage and closes the day’s music. Granddaughter of the great Tito Puente, Janeen Puente and her high-energy salsa orchestra, perform their original songs and arrangements in a distinctive style.

Salsa Dance Shows
On Sunday, local community leaders are paired up with the region’s best salsa instructors to dance for charity during the Dancing with Our Community Stars Dance Contest & Charity Fundraiser. Patterned after ABC’s hit TV show, this salsa-twist version is a highlight of the Festival weekend.

Great Oxnard Salsa Challenge Recipe Contest
Salsa lovers can put their creations to the test by entering the annual recipe contest dubbed The Great Oxnard Salsa Challenge. The Challenge gets underway on Sunday morning, July 27. Judging begins at 11 a.m. followed by the announcement of the winners at 1 p.m. from the Main Stage.

Kids Korner with Tortilla Art
Endless hours of fun await kids at this year’s Kids Korner, expanded this year with additional activities. Oxnard’s own Art & Music Factory allows kids to get creative in their arts & crafts booth, using real tortillas provided courtesy of Mission Foods. Kids can also get their bodies moving with a variety of inflatables, including a traditional ‘bounce house’, plus a giant maze and slide for the younger kids.

Festival Marketplace Food & Shopping
Festival goers will find a wide assortment of international foods and shopping opportunities in the Festival Marketplace, filled with close to 150 food, craft, gourmet sauce and retail exhibitors.

Salsa Tasting Tent Experience
An estimated 60,000 samples of specialty salsas will be dished up by local restaurants, Mexican markets and gourmet salsa vendors inside the Festival’s big-top Salsa Tasting Tent. Whatever one’s salsa preference … fresh & fruity, hot & smoky, sweet & spicy or extremely hot … it’s all available under one roof. Tent admission is $5 per person, which includes freshly made Mission Foods tortilla chips and ten tasting tickets.

Reserved Seating
There are two different ways for festival goers to get closer to the music – Reserved seating and Club Salsa. Reserved tables are available on the west side of the stage with a table for six and an umbrella for shade. Club Salsa is located on the east side of the stage complete with tables, umbrellas plus its own private dance floor. Ticket information and reservations can be found online.

Getting to the Festival – by Car or Train
Oxnard is located just 60 miles north of Los Angeles and 30 miles south of Santa Barbara. Visitors can travel to the Oxnard Salsa Festival by train, car, or bus. The Oxnard Transportation Center is conveniently located just three short blocks from the festivities at Plaza Park. The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner travels between San Diego and San Luis Obispo. Kids, ages 2 to 15 ride for ½ the fare when accompanied by a paid adult. And seniors receive a 15% discount for ages 62 and over.

The 21st Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival is presented by the Oxnard Downtowners, and sponsored by Gold Coast Broadcasting, Bud Light, Mission Foods, Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau, Ventura County Star, and many other generous community partners.
Festival admission and parking are free. No pets or coolers are permitted on-site.

For a listing of hotels and visitor attractions, visit www.visitoxnard.com or call the Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-2-Oxnard. For Festival information, call 805-247-0197, or visit www.oxnardsalsafestival.com

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