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August 13, 2013 > Hayward Zucchini Festival

Hayward Zucchini Festival

By Medha Raman

Thirty years after the first "Hayward Zucchini Festival," the event continues to grow and share the joys of a versatile and flavorful vegetable - zucchini. What began as a joke by Mayor Alex Guiliani in 1983 has now become the largest zucchini festival in the world. The two-day event is a fun-filled, family-oriented festival catering to 20,000 to 30,000 children and adults each year. As a result, over $2,500,000 has been raised and distributed to local charities and non-profit organizations over the last thirty years. Thus, the city has reached its goal of providing a different, yet exciting approach to raising money and bringing people together.

In accordance with its name, the "Hayward Zucchini Festival" celebrates everything to love about the delicious vegetable. Zucchini takes center stage at the event and will be displayed in a variety of different forms including quiche, bread, relish, fried zucchini, grilled stuffed zucchini, fritters, and even ice cream and chocolate zucchini cake. There will be an abundance of cooking samples and various wines and beers in a wine/micro-brew area. Hands-on activities featuring zucchini include the great Zucchini Cook-Off and cooking demonstrations. Another prominent feature is the zucchini-growing contest; prizes will be awarded in six different categories including weight, color variation, and uniqueness. Forms can be found on the event website and are due at the Growing Contest Tent, next to the Country Store, by 11 a.m. Sunday, August 18.

The benefits of eating zucchini are plentiful, so celebrating this event is not just fun but also healthy! With its mild, balanced flavor, this summer squash is nutritional, filling, and delicious. Zucchini is low in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium and a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Zucchini also contains an assortment of nutrients including vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, magnesium, and folic acid. Together these can help reduce blood pressure, support the immune system, and lower the risk of certain cancers, heart attack, and stroke, making zucchini the perfect vegetable for any wholesome meal.

Although the festival is centered on zucchini, there will be numerous other forms of entertainment to suit everyone's interests. Arts and crafts booths highlighting the work of dedicated Bay Area artisans will be at the festival including displays of beaded jewelry, hand-woven baskets, pottery, quilts, and handmade soaps. Local organizations and businesses will also have booths sharing information about their products and services. For younger visitors, a special area called "kids town" will offer rides, games, play areas, and other kid-friendly activities. The main stage hosts live entertainment by local musicians both days.

Enjoy some great zucchini, spend time with family and friends, and make some unforgettable memories during this year's "Hayward Zucchini Festival." Make sure to support your local festival, artists, and musicians to keep this wonderful event going for many more years to come!

For tickets and more information, please visit or contact Rich Essi at (510) 278-2079.

Hayward Zucchini Festival
Saturday, Aug 17 and Sunday, Aug 18
10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Kennedy Park
19501 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward
(510)- 278-2079
Tickets: $8 general admission; $4 seniors, juniors, and handicapped, free for kids ages 5 and under

Entertainment Schedule:

Saturday, Aug 17:
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.: Betty Ann and the Lonesome III
11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.: West Bay Rhythm
1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.: The Mirror Effect
2:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.: The Kaye Bohler Band
3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.: Patron (formerly Lava)
4:45 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.: Buffettville (tribute band)
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.: Tamborazo Banda

Sunday, Aug 18:
10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.: Rogue Nation
11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.: Reincarnated Revival
1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.: Andy Joe Stewart
2:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.: Rock Bottom Boys
3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.: The HazeXperience
4:45 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.: Lydia Pense and Cold Blood (with special guest Rick Stevens)
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.: Run 4 Cover - Blues Bottle Band

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