Hispanic Chamber to host Salsa in the Park festival July 30 at Courthouse Park

The Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said it will host the first annual Salsa in the Park festival July 30 from noon to 5 p.m. in Merced’s Courthouse Park.

There will be local vendors and informational booths. The highlight of the event will be a salsa-dancing and salsa-making contest, and a jalapeno-eating contest. Hispanic Chamber officials and community leaders will judge the contests and announce the winners.

Prizes will be awarded and the event is free to the public.

Space is limited and food vendors acceptance is subject to the approval of the Merced County Health Department. All vendors are responsible to submit Merced County Business License. The chamber said it will begin accepting applications June 27. Applications must be received in its office by July 18 to be considered.

Vendor prices are $200 for chamber members and $250 for non-chamber vendors. A brief description of items being offered will be required (please remember this is a family event).

Dates to remember: salsa registration opens June 27; registration deadline July 21; Merced County health permit due July 21; mandatory salsa chef meeting July 25 at the Hispanic Chamber office, 1640 “N” Street, Suite 120 Merced, 5:30 p.m.

At the First Annual Salsa Festival July 30: booth set-up 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.; final inspections noon; salsa preparation noon to 2 p.m.; space cleanup immediately after the event.

For the Jalapeño Eating Contest, there’s a $5 registration fee. If you wish to enter several categories, you must fill out a separate registration form for each category.

Contestant information for the salsa contest, with prizes awarded in each category, and both individuals and restaurants are welcome. The categories are amateur and professional; the registration fee for individuals is $15, and $50 for professional/restaurants. The categories include Best Hot Salsa; Best Mild Salsa; Most Unusual.

Amateur and professional salsa dancing contestants must pay a $10 registration fee.

For more information about Salsa in the Park, or if you are interested in booth space, contact the Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at (209)384-9537 or info@mercedhcc.com