A HOT Time in the “Ole Town” at the 22nd Oxnard Salsa Festival



By Raven West

The salsa was spicy, the dancers where hopping and everyone was having the time of their lives at the 22nd Oxnard Salsa Festival!

Chili Fans

Chilli Fans

140 Vendors and more than 7,000 descended on Plaza Park in downtown Oxnard for two days of HOT, HOT, HOT music, entertainment and salsa, salsa SALSA!

Hot Peppers

Hot Peppers

Matt Sisson, owner of Ghost Scream drove all the way from San Clemente just for the opportunity to share his creation with Oxnard’s wonderful spicy-loving crowd in the tasting room.
“There is such a down-to-earth vibe here,” he said. “This is really an impressive crowd and they really know their salsa!”

He’s not alone in his assessment. Salsa aficionados travel from as far away as Oregon to hand deliver and hand serve hundreds of samples of the best of their best to very discerning salsa lovers. And the competition doesn’t end in the tasting tent.

What distinguishes an award winning salsa from an also-ran is left up to a group of highly qualified judges. Each takes their task very seriously as they taste all the entries to finally decide the best of the best in two categories; professional and amateur

Hot Judges - Carmen Ramirez, Chelsea and Ricard Madrea, Alexis  Cervenak, Professional Salsa Judges Jeri Williams and Virginia Espinoza

Hot Judges – Carmen Ramirez, Chelsea and Ricard Madrea, Alexis Cervenak, Professional Salsa Judges Jeri Williams and Virginia Espinoza

The winners in the professional category were: Best Red and Best Mild – BG’s Cafe – House Red Salsa, Best Green – Vallarta Supermarkets – Habenero Salsa, Best Specialty/Fruit – The Kitchen – Strawberry Salsa, Best Hot – El Dorado Mexican Restaurant – Dora Roccotto Salsa, Best Medium and Judges Choice – Margarita Villa – House Red Salsa, and the People’s Choice award went to Tresierras Supermarkets!

The amateur division winners were: Victor Franco for best red, Victor Franco for best green, Don Colwell for best specialty fruit, Victor Franco for best hot red, Daniel Takahara for best medium, Mark Litwincszyk for best mild, and Victor Franco for judge’s choice.

And the completion didn’t end with the hot sauce. There was some pretty hot dancing as well.

Dancing kids

“Dancing with our Community Stars” was the entertainment highlight of the afternoon. With the winning crown in the male division was Edgar Mohorko Jr. dancing for the Oxnard Police Activates Leagues’ after-school crime prevention program and his dance partner Diana Tere.

The women’s winner was Christina Albert, who performed with Jesse “Chuy” Rodriguez for Soroptimist International of Oxnard.

“While the Oxnard Downtowners sponsor the Salsa Festival, all of the money gathered by the event goes to cover the costs of putting it on,” said event organizer Patty Brown.

All total, the event raised more than a half a million dollars for the local community by supporting and partnering with the following non-profits.

And that’s some really HOT cash!


Geovany Cousine Jones, Carlos Gutierrez, Maria Brown, Larry Steven Londrg, Patti Londre, Vince Bearens, Greg and Luke Nyhoff

Photo Credits: Raven West


Raven West

Raven West

 Raven West is a free-lance writer and published author who has lived in Ventura County for more than twenty years. She has an extensive knowledge of local wineries from Thousand Oaks to Ojai and will be covering special events which take place at the tasting rooms throughout the year.

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