Thousands attend the return of the Festival de la Comunidad event

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Jimena Izquirda, of Woodland, sings to the community at the 2022 Festival de la Comunidad on Sept. 24. (Courtesy photo)

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The smell of carnitas meat cooking wafted through downtown Winters on Saturday morning as teams worked to prepare their carnitas cook-off entry.

Meanwhile, Winters Community Corazón (WCC) members worked to bring the Festival de la Comunidad “Carnitas Festival” back to Winters on Saturday, Sept. 24.

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Koyasan Spirit of Children Taiko from Sacramento performed at the Sept. 24 event. (Courtesy photo)

A variety of musical and dancing groups entertained attendees. This year’s festival entertainment included Bonanza King, Koyasan Spirit of Children Taiko, Mariachi Puente, Folklorico Jóvenes Unidos, singer Jimena Izquierdo, Mariachi Del Valle, and dance music from Baile con Batos de Arranque.

Winters Police Chief John P. Miller said about 3,000 people were in attendance throughout the event which ran from 4:30–10:30 p.m. According to Miller, the peak size of attendees was 1,000 people congregating between the different areas of the event space.

“We had no issues and event was, as always, very family-friendly and enjoyable,” Miller said.

In addition to eats and entertainment, an area of Rotary Park hosted a children’s area featured free activities for youth. A large selection of booths was available for the community to peruse and to learn about local nonprofits.

Carnitas cook-off winners
Internationally known chef Georgeanne Brennan lead the team of  Carnitas Cook-off judges. Mayor Wade Cowan, County Supervisor Don Saylor, City Manager Kathleen Salguero Trepa and the county’s Chief Administrative Officer Gerardo Pinedo all served as judges.

“All judges were instructed to eat plenty of carnitas from a variety of vendors for a month ahead of time to educate their palate,” said Jesse Loren, Councilmember and WCC board chair. “Next year, we would like to bring back the “People’s Choice Awards” and plate the different cooks’ carnitas together for comparison.”

The judges unanimously voted to bestow the first place honors to Jesus and Chuy Quirarte.

Loren said the second and third place teams were only separated by 0.5 of a point. The El Cirancito team claimed second place, and the Carnitas Mi Chano team placed third.

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