Mole & Mariachi Festival: Santa Cruz Celebration

Try nine different moles at a fundraiser for Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park.

HOW DO YOU DECIDE... what foods to top with mole, be it full of chile, or on the sweet side, or a delightful combination of the two? Well, that's a bit of a trick question, because there really is no decision where mole is concerned: It's going to easily top every edible you're hankering for, and it will instantly enhance that edible with its rich, velvety, mole-mazing flavor and texture. You could be whipping up a platter of chilaquiles, or an enchilada, or nachos, or anything that involves cheese and tortillas, and mole is going to be the surprise, and sublime, guest star of the dish. So to pause and celebrate the beautiful, rich sauce, a Mexican tradition that always betters the morning meal as well as those later-in-the-day culinary classics, is a wonderful thing, indeed. And there so happens to be a celebration in Santa Cruz each September, a fundraiser for Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, and it is called the...

MOLE & MARIACHI FESTIVAL: Ah yes, in addition to the star sauce, gorgeous tunes and dances will serve as performance-perfect centerpieces of the day, which is the 5th annual outing of this fest. That day is Saturday, Sept. 9, the place is Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, the nonprofit Friends of Santa Cruz State Historic Park is organizing, and you? You're there to try the nine, yes, nine (!) different mole sauces that will be a part of the good-to-the-tummy competition. You can also enjoy live tunes from Mariachi Gilroy, Mariachi Alma de Mexico, and a host of other artists (look for an appearance by mojigangas, the large puppets that love to dance). Tasting tickets are available for purchase, and the admission you'll pay to get in? Totally free.

GOOD TIP: Organizers are asking attendees to show with refillable water bottles, as the event is both solar-powered and committed to zero waste. Do you adore mariachi tunes, mole on everything, and helping a storied state park? Sept. 9 is your date, Santa Cruz is the spot, and, yes, chilaquiles always rock with an extra helping of mole. 

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