Dance + Dine: Oxnard Salsa Festival

Applaud amazing dancers, then go sample ten or twenty caliente condiments.

A FOOD IS A FOOD IS A FOOD, it isn't often said, but while it might not be often said, it is, for the most part, 100% true. Unless, of course, on that rare occasion that the popular moniker for a major meal ingredient also serves as the name for another non-food related pastime. "Garlic" doesn't work here, sad to say, because though many of us do adore the fragrant bulb, we don't go out and "garlic" as in... play a game or mow the lawn. Same with "spinach," which is a leafy treat but not an activity (you won't find "to spinach" in the dictionary). But salsa? Ah yes, now we're talking. It's both a spicy, delectable, dip-another-chip edible and a beautiful, move-intensive style of dance. But finding the foodstuff, and the fabulous flourishes of the art form, all in the same place, can be rather challenging, as most festivals tend to highlight one or the other. One of the excellent exceptions is just ahead, at the close of July. It's the...

OXNARD SALSA FESTIVAL, a two-day fiesta at Plaza Park downtown. Live Latin jazz bands, and acts lending flavor to salsa-dancing classics, will give the get-out-and-spin part of the weekend much of its musical oomph, while a salsa-tasting tent will keep lovers of cilantro-tomato-onion combos dipping and trying, dipping and trying, again and again. Will hot sauces, a cousin to salsa but its own distinct thing, make a caliente cameo? It wouldn't seem like a salsa celebration without it. Is there a salsa recipe showdown? Oh, you bet. And is the whole thing free to check out, free in terms of admission and free in terms of parking? Both of those are yeses. The dates are Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30, which, fingers crossed, will be on the warm side, to suit the salsa-riffic theme of the weekend. Is salsa dance your favorite dance? Is salsa your favorite food? Hello, Oxnard.

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