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Tracy Festival: More than a hill of beans

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Tracy Festival: More than a hill of beans

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POSTED August 31, 2012 5:51 p.m.

TRACY - The streets of Tracy will be transformed into Bean Town USA for an expected weekend crowd of 50,000 people on Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday Sept. 9, for the 26th annual Dry Bean Festival, hosted by the Tracy Chamber of Commerce.

The festival celebrates a unique American cultural experience of weekend  family activities from bean cooking/tastings to free live entertainment venues, car show, 5k/10k runs, amusement rides, scattered among 150 food, art, and commercial vendor booths.

One festival co-sponsor was inspired by the recent U.S.  Olympic performances in London which brought home 46 gold medals to be matched with the same total of heirloom bean varieties among over 60 types available for consumers at the festival.  

Pacific Grain and Foods, LLC  Managing Partner Lee Perkins says, “Tracy has become the Olympic Village of beans with the largest festival in the world, playing host to the most bean varieties in one place at one time.”

 His company is introducing a new U.S. Gold Medal kidney soup/salad blend of dark red, light red, and white kidney/cannellini beans with the lot number Olympics2012.  Visitors will be able to taste the new blend in free samples provided by the chili cook-off contestants on Sunday, Sept. 9   from 1 30-2 p.m. at the chili-cook-off kitchen arena near the Bean Town Pavilion on Central between 9th and 10th streets.

Kirsten Company, LLC is featuring the kidney and cranberry beans in a unique 10 bean soup blend, along with a popular Checkerboard Chili available with navy and black beans. Free bean cooking recipes and bean information are available from bean industry co-sponsors: the California Dry Bean Advisory Board, California Bean Shippers Association, Kelly Bean Company, Trinidad-Benham, the Vernalis Warehouse, The Baby Lima Council, and the U.S. Bean Council in their “Beans For Health program.”

 “For winter soup lovers, these bean blends have it all—flavor, color, and cooking convenience,” explains Dave Kirsten, Managing Partner.

Bean ice cream, pie, chips, and chili can be sampled and purchased at the Bean Town Pavilion where cooking demonstrations will be presented.  The very popular Hometown Buffet bean tastings from side dishes to salads will be available for a nominal fee.

Featured activities on Saturday from 8 to 2 p.m. include the Car Show & Shine contests with vehicles exhibited  and judged at the new Downtown Plaza and the 5-10k runs.  Sunday includes a bean burrito eating contest.

Food competitions are exclusive to Sunday with pre-registration also required for the burrito eating and chili cook-off.   A cook-off requirement is that chefs must utilize this year’s featured Gold Medal kidney bean blend which is made available for free public sampling, following the contest entry submission for judging.

On both days,  a variety of events for children and adults are available:  Kids BE’AN Kids Crafts  sponsored by the Child Development Center and carnival on 10th St. ; three live entertainment and music venues—the Multi-Cultural/Community Stage at 10th and “B” Sts., the Main Stage at 10th and Central, and a third at 8th and Central.

Admission and parking are free with parking available at 6th and Central.   A vendor booth and street map and activity scheduling are also available from the bean festival information center at the chamber website.

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