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Last Saturday morning, I grabbed my camera and shades, and drove south on PCH towards Huntington Beach and their 6th Annual Chili and Salsa cook-off. With the windows down, the wind tussling my hair, infinite blue sky above, and the Pacific on my right, I had a real Cinderella moment: Freida’s old hunter-green Bonneville with peeling paint, rusty rims, dents, and scratches became in my mind a sleek, red, and most definitely Italian convertible, and every movie I ever saw that featured southern California coast started playing in the background.

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Not a Lamborghini, but I’ll take it!

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Look at all those beautiful chiles from my friends at Melissa’s Produce!

I like the reckless and adventurous feel of Huntington Beach, but I always seem to just past through it on my way somewhere else. And every time I promise myself that I will allot at least a day to roam around this town that keeps on fascinating me. So Saturday June 15th I spent a few hours exploring downtown area where the annual street fair is held.

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Redhot Redneck salsa from Killarney’s was wickedly good.

Main Street was closed to the traffic and filled with booths selling street fair food, t-shirts, custom jewelry, candles, Oriental art, home-made preserves, purses, and even beach cruiser bikes. There was a stage on each end with bands playing one after the other throughout the afternoon. A side street held an enormous blow-up play area for the kids and several information booths placed along the Main Street offered details about the fair, parking, downtown events, and Chili and Salsa tasting.

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I loved this chili! Lots of cumin and cilantro.

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Mariachi in front of Aloha Grill booth

I strolled in the rhythm of the music, took pictures, talked to the vendors, spun the wheel at a couple of booths (I won a wine bag from the OC Fair booth:) and bought two leather hippie bracelets for my teens. I tasted a lot of chili and a lot of salsa, and my big water bottle proved to be my best friend.

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The winners of the 6th annual Chili and Salsa Tasting, Chili Ahumada from Shenanigans

It felt good just to be outside in the warm California sunshine, stealing a few worry-free hours from a really busy week. I only regretted not bringing my girls along. But the fun in Huntington Beach does not end with this event; the community has planned many happenings throughout the summer, and next time I head south on PCH for Surf City Nights on Tuesdays, my girls are coming with me. Blow-up slides and funnel cakes for them, farmers market for me, loud singing in the car with windows down for all three of us – summer just got a whole lot better!

One Response to “Summer Fun: Chili at the Beach”

  1. I thought about attending this. I wish I had now. GREG

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