Santa Cruz Fun: Mole & Mariachi Festival

The yearly benefit gives the love to Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park.

A SUPPORT OF THE SAVORY SORT: How do you lend love and support and care to a state park that means a lot to you? You can participate in in many ways, from simply visiting and making donations in the visitor center (and encouraging your loved ones to do the same) to participating in special events, like clean-up days and tours, the kind of happenings that both gussy up a gorgeous place and facilitate further knowledge about its past. Then, on occasion, an eating- and musical-filled fundraiser comes along, one that stands in staunch backing of the state park and in staunch support of you getting your savory, happy fill of a special food. That special food, come Saturday, Sept. 19, will be mole, in all the different versions and heat levels and depths it comes in, and there shall be beautiful mariachi music, too. Mole deliciousness and mariachi tunefulness, all in one spot? Pray tell, where is this enchanted place? It's the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, one the area's most venerable, memory-keeping locations. And the Mole & Mariachi Festival returns for another year, its third, to help "restoration projects, educational programming for school children, and community cultural events at the park," all matters dear to the collective heart of the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks.

"INCREASED HOURS" AT THE PARK... is one of the aims of the fund-raising, too, which is a lovely way to bring more visitors into contact with more local history. As for the stirring, horn-majestic, voice-powerful sounds of the day? Mariachi Alma de Mexico and Mariachi Juvenil Alma de Mexico shall perform. Folklorico presentations and accordion melodies and more feasts for the eyes and ears shall fill the grounds, as mole sauces from area chefs fill tummies. A mole tasting kit goes for ten bucks, and you'll find a variety of fiery to more mild flavors; mole, of course, is a veritable rainbow of sweet-to-scorchiness, and just about everyone can name their particular combination of chiles and chocolates. A marketplace, Saturday-sweet activities, and more round out the heart-filled, history-minded, flavorful fiesta.

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