Monday, September 13, 2004
By Ashley Forsyth firstname.lastname@example.org, The Chronicle
OAKVILLE — As zucchini dressed in lace and pearls were displayed on tables, children and adults enjoyed games and fried zucchini in Oakville's annual Zucchini Jubilee.
The schedule on Saturday was packed with activities such as a pet parade, zucchini cook-off and zucchini races.
Kicking off the day at 10 a.m. was a pet parade that featured everything from an iguana to a goat. Children and their pets walked around the park showing off their animals to the spectators.
Al Brandt Park was the site of the town celebration that seemed to be less about the vegetable and more about Oakville citizens getting together to share the plentiful crop of zucchini.
"The jubilee was started eight years ago as something to bring everyone together. The one thing everyone seemed to have in common was that they had lots of zucchini," said Janice Howell, who chairs the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.
Since then, the Oakville Zucchini Festival has had heaping piles of zucchini, all donated by the people of the town. And the 2004 celebration was no different, as piles of the green and yellow produce covered patches of grass in the park.
Howell said one person brought in 300 pounds of zucchini to be used in the decoration competition or in the races.
Although the vegetables ranged in size from a few inches to about 2 feet, the largest zucchini and the winner of the biggest zucchini contest weighed in at 25 pounds.
Ellizabeth O'Dell-Medley, 11, was wrapping a piece of fabric around her green zucchini in order to get it ready to compete in the decorating and carving contest.
"I just grabbed a zucchini because it looked like fun," said O'Dell-Medley. "I think it's weird to have a festival that celebrates zucchini. There probably aren't that many." Next to the dressed-up vegetables was what remained from the zucchini cook-off. Zucchini chocolate cake, zucchini bread and other dishes using the featured ingredients were all competitors. A judging panel tasted and selected the winners, placing a blue ribbon and cooking supply prize next to those they thought used the zucchini in the best way.
Some live cooking was also going on at the jubilee, as Doug Downey and Vi Sharp served up fried zucchini.
"At a zucchini festival, you have to have fried zucchini," said Downey. "We sell a lot of fried zucchini." Sliced zucchini was covered in a mixture of milk and bread, and then placed on a grill with olive oil and cooked.
Downey estimated that he would serve up 150 pounds of zucchini during the day.
"The kids usually don't like the zucchini," said Downey. "But some think it is a cookie, and eat it and end up liking it." Ashley Forsyth is an intern in The Chronicle's news department. She may be reached by telephoning 807-8257, or by e-mailing email@example.com.
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