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Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013

Mexican Fiesta

History, heritage and food

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The Summerfest grounds host several ethnic festivals throughout the summer months. Now that the Polish, Italian, German and Irish fests are in our rearview mirror, it’s time for the annual lakefront festival celebrating Mexico’s history and heritage.

All sorts of authentic foods will be available, ranging from the expected tacos and burritos, to the less known sweet “Pan de Feria,” made fresh daily by bakers from the Mexican state of Hidalgo. These expert panaderos, or master bakers, are brought in solely to make this traditional Mexican festival food. Look for it at the Cultural Pavilion.

Also in the Cultural Pavilion, interested attendees can take part in tortilla-making demonstrations. Few things make an authentic Mexican meal better than a handmade corn or flour tortilla. Learn the secret and impress your friends and family the next time you host taco night.

For the second year, the Fiesta boasts tequila-tasting sessions. Held each day, participants can pay a small fee to sample and learn about tequila from a knowledgeable tequilero directly from Jalisco. The experience promises to be a far cry from the frat house “lick it, slam it, suck it” chant. True connoisseurs will tell you that fine tequila requires little in the way of enhancement and should be sipped slowly and savored. Attend a tasting to acquire a better understanding of this often-underappreciated liquor.

If straight tequila seems too intense for your tastes, check out the Margarita booth for the best strawberry or lime margaritas in town. Both will be available blended or on the rocks. Mojitos, wine and beer can also be found on the grounds. 

For folks who aren’t afraid of a little heat, the Jalapeño Eating Contest should spice things up. Hilarity and bravery are a potent combination. The faces made by the contestants alone make this event worth watching. Last year the winner managed to eat 34 jalapeños in one minute! If you think you can take the pain, sign up for your chance to win the $200 first place prize before the event begins on Sunday.

Mexican Fiesta will be held Aug. 23-25, noon to midnight.

For more information, visit mexicanfiesta.org.

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