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Stockton Asparagus Festival opens Friday

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POSTED April 24, 2014 12:12 a.m.

Not too long ago, Sunset Magazine gave “Best of the West Food Fest” praise to the Stockton Asparagus Festival.

The fun, food, and activities are back to mark the 29th annual event along the downtown waterfront. If all goes accordingly, organizers can expect about 100,000 people to the three-day event beginning on Friday.

What makes the Asparagus Festival special?

Let’s start with the food. No surprise that the locally-grown asparagus is the cornerstone of the festival, and can be had in a variety of ways. Dishes are prepared on site by volunteers representing various service organizations.

The famous deep fried is No. 1 attraction for festival goers. But that’s not all to Asparagus Alley – try the asparagus pasta, asparagus burritos, the asparagus & beef sandwich, and asparagus ice cream.

Asparagus ice cream?

The last few years, organizers estimated serving up well over 12,000 scoops of the concoction made by Gleason Ice Cream. Asparagus ice cream has sold out each time.

As for the famous deep fried, over 36,000 orders were served up last year.

Food vendors – outside of asparagus – can be found along Spear-It Lane (Center Street).

And if you’re curious to see other ways to prepare asparagus check out the pros in the Chef of the Fest Kitchen inside the comforts of the Stockton Civic Auditorium.

Speaking of pros, the World Championship Deep Fried Asparagus Eating Competition is scheduled for noon Saturday on the Main Stage at Weber Point.

The No. 1-ranked competitive eater in the world Joey “Jaws” Chestnut will be back, looking to reclaim his asparagus-eating title. He was upset by Matthew “The Megatoad” Stonie, who, in 2013, devoured 9.5-pounds of the famous deep-fried stalks to better Chestnut’s 8 pounds.

The Main Stage will again feature famous musical artists such as The Heartbeats (1:30 p.m., Friday), Meghan Linsey of Steel Magnolia (4:30, Friday), Soul Asylum (1:30 p.m. Saturday), Berlin featuring Terri Nunn (4:30, Saturday), The Peelers (1L30 p.m., Sunday), and War (4:30, Sunday) performing free-with-the-price-admission concerts.

Other festival attractions include the Skyy Dogs, the Steel Drum Corps, the Sea Lion Encounter, and a host of local acts performing daily at DeCarli Stage.

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