(Top left) Grupo Folklorico dances for the large crowd during the Cinco de Mayo celebration this past Saturday. (Bottom left) Mariachi Bands entertained during the morning hours as Santa Paulans enjoyed their Menudo Breakfast provided by TJ’s Hacienda Mexican Grill. The Cinco de Mayo Festival was held on Main Street, Downtown. (Above, right) The Chili Verde contest, sponsored by the Downtown Merchant Association, held the first Chili Verde contest featuring local restaurants. The Chili Verde was judged and also had a People’s Choice contest. Hozy’s Restaurant took the overall win with the judges picking Hozy’s. The public was invited to test all the Chili Verde and the People’s Choice also was won by Hozy’s. Pictured above (left to right) accepting the awards are: Chef Santiago Luna, Debbie Johnson (Downtown Merchants President), and Chef Renato Merced Robles. 2nd Place was Familia Diaz Restaurant, 3rd place Tlaquepaque Restaurant. Photos by Don Johnson

Cinco de Mayo on Main Street

May 09, 2007
Cinco de Mayo Celebration a success, Hozy’s tops Chile Verde contest
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesMain Street was filled with music, dancers and visitors for Saturday’s Cinco de Mayo Celebration that brought out the best in all cultures and revealed that Hozy’s Restaurant is the best chile verde maker in town.Judges Spence and Bob of KTVA 1520 AM and Peggy Kelly blind tasted the entries and decided that Hozy’s - located in the Lemonwood Industrial Park - made the tastiest traditional Mexican stew of pork, tomatillos, garlic, onions and jalapeno chiles.The judge’s also selected Familia Diaz for the 2nd Place Award with Tlaquepaque taking 3rd Place.Public taste testers who paid $5 for generous samples of each entry also awarded Hozy’s the Peoples Choice Award.Food of all types was definitely an attraction with the Menudo Breakfast selling out fast: “...people were lined up at 8 a.m.” although service didn’t start until 9 a.m. noted Rochelle Margolin, the city’s Economic Development Specialist. “We’re very, very happy with the good crowd. It’s Fiesta Cinco de Mayo Santa Paula style!”Judy Ochoa, helping out in the Chile Verde Contest booth agreed.“Am I enjoying myself? Absolutely!” said Ochoa.Bob of Spence and Bob said he particularly enjoyed the traditional folklorico dancers and Spence noted that the event was the “Cino-ist, very nice. I love Santa Paula...”Mariachi bands entertained the crowd and merchants took advantage of the crowd to offer their wares through a Sidewalk Sale that delighted browsers.
A portion of Main Street was closed for the event and visitors took advantage of the parking in South Alley and access to Main Street via the South Paseo.“It’s a beautiful day,” said Kay Glenn. “We had a lot to do today but I said let’s go to the Blanchard Community Library’s book sale and Cinco de Mayo instead!”“It’s a great event,” noted Chamber of Commerce President/CEO John Blanchard. “Just look at all the people,” watching the entertainment and coming in and out Mupu Grill which opened for special Cinco de Mayo breakfast hours.TJ’s Hacienda Mexican Grill - the maker of the gone fast menudo - was also kept busy serving traditional dishes to hundreds of hungry celebrants.Santa Paula Downtown Merchants Association President Debbie Johnson said the event went even better than expected.“It went very well for the first year, I was very pleased and next year we hope to build on it and make the Cinco de Mayo celebration even bigger and better.”Johnson offered thanks to merchants who participated in the Sidewalk Sale and to the restaurants that vied for top honors in the Chile Verde Competition.“...I’m looking forward to more restaurant entries next year, it was really successful, people really enjoyed it,” said Johnson. “I also want to thank the distinguished panel of Chile Verde Judges Spence and Bob and Peggy Kelly and those who took part in the Peoples Choice judging. And I also want to thank everyone who came out and enjoyed Cinco de Mayo with us.”

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