By Kristina Valdez | A&L Editor
The 22nd Annual Margarita and Salsa Festival filled the Extraco Events Center on Saturday with salsa and country music by artists such as Randy Rogers Band, Cody Jinks and Jon Wolfe. All the proceeds for the event benefited the Heart O’Texas Fair and Rodeo Scholarship fund.
Plaid shirts and cowboy boots stormed the Extraco Events Center. Starting at 5 p.m., event-goers could sample the 17 restaurant salsa entries in the Extraco Coliseum.
Native Wacoans Jim and Lynnette Jones were working on their first sample of salsa right as the concert began at 7 p.m. in the Show Pavilion Arena.
“We’ve been planning to come [to this festival] for a while,” Lynnette Jones said. “We try to come as often as we can when we are here.”
The winners of the salsa competition were based on two categories: judges’ pick and people’s choice. With a chip covered in salsa in one hand and red tickets in the other, people could vote on their favorite salsa by dropping one or all their tickets in the buckets set up at each table.
The judges selected their favorites at 4:30 p.m. earlier that Saturday. There were 19 judges who selected the top three salsas based on texture, taste and consistency.
Rosemary Mayes has been a committee board member for the Margarita and Salsa Festival since the event first took place in Downtown Waco as part of the Arthritis Foundation 22 years ago.
“We asked that if you were a judge that you sampled everything that was on the table and not to skip anything,” Mayes said. “We asked them not to make a face so that if it was too sour or something they didn’t give it away to influence another judge.”
The first, second and third place winners for the judges’ pick and people’s choice salsas were announced and awarded with a plaque as the crowd began filtering into the concert arena.
For judges’ pick in salsa, Casa Olé Group B won third place, Casa Olé Group A won second place and Freebirds World Burrito won first place.
For people’s choice in salsa, Butter My Biscuit won third place, Casa Olé Group A won second place and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop won first place.
Lee Bankston, co-owner of Butter My Biscuit, has served southern-style food with a little mix of other types of food after opening in December. Bankston said her popular green creamy salsa had people running back for more.
The evening continued with performances from Randy Rogers Band, Jon Wolfe and Cody Jinks. Randy Rogers Band performed first with new songs from their most recent album, including “Time on my Hands” and “Baby this, Baby that,” under a canopy of orange and violet lights.
With the arena vibrating from the strumming of guitars and the beating of drums, the audience swayed along and the night ended for the 22nd Annual Margarita and Salsa Festival.
The 22nd Annual Margarita and Salsa Festival ended with the arena vibrating from strumming of guitars and the beating of drums.