HOT News from the Oxnard Salsa Festival — July 29th to July 31st

ed arial,sans-serif; font-size: 12pt;”>The City of Oxnard is getting ready to offer up spicy and fiery fun and entertainment during the 23rd Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival taking place July 30 & 31, 2016.  The annual festival is a celebration of everything salsa — the music, the food and the dance. Presented by the Oxnard Downtowners, this award-winning, family-friendly festival features many of Southern California’s most electrifying salsa and Latin bands, non-stop salsa dancing, marketplace shopping, the fiery Salsa Tasting Tent, international foods, an expanded Kids Korner, a recipe contest and salsa dance performances. Festival admission and parking are free. No pets or coolers are permitted on-site.

salas.1The Fun Begins Friday Night

The celebration starts with a Friday Night Kick-off Concert (paid concert) on July 29 featuring Cecilia Noel & ‘The Wild Clams’ playing from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Noel and her crew combine the elements of salsa, soul, jazz, funk and afro-Cuban music that delivers an infectious Latin sound that takes on 80’s classic rock ‘n roll hits. Come early to dine in downtown Oxnard, or bring a picnic to enjoy al fresco. General admission is $15 and $20 at the gate.  A table seating six is available for $120.  The gates open at 6 p.m.

Returning this Year!

In order to ensure a high-quality concert experience, lawn or chair seating is available for $5 for entry, per person per day, with cash received at the gates.  Festival goers will receive a wristband that is good for all day open seating!  More details are provided online at

Sizzling Salsa Bands

Six hot bands entertain festival-goers this year!  The Festival’s Main Stage entertainment runs continuously from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, July 30 & 31. The high energy band, Lily Hernandez y Su Orquesta kick off the celebration on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Next at 2 p.m., Chino Espinoza y Los Duenos Del Son take to the stage one of the most sought-after Salsa Orchestras in Los Angeles.  Closing on Saturday is Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca, blending Afro-Cuban rhythms with pan-African styles.  Their set begins at 4:45 p.m. 

Sunday’s celebration ignites with Conjunto Afro Son led by Bobby Escoto who leads this premier salsa band filled with high energy and amazing sounds.  From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Son Mayor, entertain the crowd one of the most sought-after Latin bands in Los Angeles.  The 10-piece ‘Big-Band’ orchestra, Orquesta Tabaco y Ron close out the Festival with their high energy, hard-edged brand of salsa music. 

Salsa Dance Shows

The Community Dance Showcase will feature performances from Garcia Dance Studio in Lompoc, JustBaila group in Santa Barbara, Lovie’s Latin Dance Studio in Santa Paula and the Caliente Dance Studio in Oxnard.  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. This year, an all-star line up returns to the stage!  Patterned after ABC’s hit TV show, this salsa-twist version is a highlight of the Festival weekend. In the past five years, the fundraiser has generated approximately $650,000 for local charities.

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 31. Judging begins at 11 a.m. followed by the announcement of the winners at 1 p.m. from the Main Stage. Winning salsas will be selected in several categories including best red, best green, best mild, best medium, best fruit and best hot! First place category winners receive a Festival ‘goodie bag’.  The Judge’s Choice Winner for ‘best of the best’ will also be awarded with a $100 cash prize from the Oxnard Salsa Festival. Pre-registration ($25) by July 8 is required. Entry form is online at

Kids Korner with Tortilla Art

Endless hours of fun await kids at this year’s Kids Korner! Oxnard’s own Art & Music Factory allows kids to get creative in their arts & crafts booth, using real tortillas provided courtesy of Mission Foods. Led by Gloria Hidrogo, a graduate of Bellas Artes in Mexico, children can paint on tortillas or create tortilla flower necklaces. 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.  Older kids can have fun conquering the climbing wall with the reward of experiencing a view of the Festival from high above! 

Festival Marketplace Food & Shopping

Festival goers will find a wide assortment of international foods and shopping opportunities in the Festival Marketplace, filled with over 150 food, craft, gourmet sauce and retail exhibitors. Hand-crafted jewelry, salsas and spices, potted succulents, Mexican pottery, clothing, fashion, accessories, toys, garden art, Latin American imports and baked goods are offered by vendors in the park and surrounding streets.  New vendors have been added this year offering a variety of wares from apparel to accessories to jewelry and more! Two food courts feature authentic Mexican tacos, fish tacos, fresh shrimp cocktails, tortas, empanadas, freshly made spiral, ribbon fries, nachos, roasted corn, kettle corn and other festival favorites.

salas.2Salsa 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. The Festival will showcase 15 different exhibitors in the tent, including local restaurants, gourmet salsa purveyors and specialty grocers.  Tent admission is $5 per person, which includes freshly made Mission Foods tortilla chips and ten tasting tickets! The adjacent Salsa Cantina provides the perfect “cooling off” stop for burning tongues, with ice-cold beer and wine margaritas for sale. 

Reserved Seating

There are two different ways for festival goers to get closer to the music – Reserved seating and Club Salsa, offered again this year.  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.

A Community Effort

Twenty-three years ago, the idea for an Oxnard Salsa Festival was brought to fruition by a group of downtown merchants with a desire to celebrate Oxnard’s multicultural flavors and agricultural roots. As the popularity of salsa music and dance increased, and salsa emerged as the number one condiment in America (beating out ketchup), the Oxnard Salsa Festival evolved into a celebration of salsa food, music and dance. Today, the Salsa Festival is Oxnard’s largest free community event, drawing nearly 50,000 people every summer.

Behind the scenes, festival organizers, volunteers, downtown advocates, and event sponsors work countless hours to create this top-notch festival for the community to embrace.  

The 23rd Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival is presented by the Oxnard Downtowners, and sponsored by Gold Coast Broadcasting, Bud Light, Mission Foods, Ford, Pepsi, Premier America Credit Union, Ventura County Star, and many other generous community partners.

For out-of-towners planning to attend the Oxnard Salsa Festival, why not make a weekend out of it?  Oxnard’s on-the-coast location makes for an ideal summer getaway.  With two or more days in Oxnard, Festival-goers can enjoy a day at the beach, bike riding at the harbor, sport fishing, golf or even the Dallas Cowboys Training Camp in addition to all of the salsa festivities.  Oxnard hotel options range from mid-priced rooms to oceanfront and seaside settings.  For a listing of hotels and visitor attractions, visit or call the Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-2-Oxnard.

For Festival information, call 805-535-4060, or visit


Salsa Tasting Tent – Photo Credit Z Studios




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