An RTT Guide to the Asparagus Festival

The Asparagus Festival starts today and I thought it’d be a good idea provide readers with a quick guide on how to get the most out of our annual harvest fair. I should preface this by saying this is going to be a guide for childless adults because pretty much everything else written about the festival is for families and kids. So if you plan on spending a lot of time waving to Junior at the carnival rides feel free to mosey along.

Ok, the parents gone? Good. Here’s some tips on how to get have a good time at the festival and get totally shitfaced without having your wallet feeling completely violated.

I’ll be honest, the Asparagus Festival kind of blows. All festivals do to some degree. The Grape Festival is kind of cool because of all the wine tasting, but these things are geared towards kids so it’s not like we’re in their target demographic. Who is in that target demographic? Parents who have money, like lots of it. Enough disposable income to waste boatloads of cash on shit like tye-dyed T-shirts, henna tattoos, a picture with Jack Tatum, and other overpriced glorified flea market shit.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t make enough money to waste $20 on a plywood cut out of a spotted cow for my lawn. When I go to the Asparagus Festival I spend my money on one thing, food. The festival has legendary food. You might not be a big fan of asparagus but I highly suggest trying at least 2 food items because they’re all awesome. The deep-fried asparagus is a given, just get some before watching Joey Chestnut inhale 9 pounds of it in 10 minutes at the World Asparagus Eating Championship on Saturday. I love asparagus, but watching a guy fold a half pound of it in half and then shoving the whole thing in his mouth doesn’t exactly whet the appetite. I’m not sure what other culinary delights they’re offering this year but past years have yielded Asparitos (burritos with asparagus), tri-tip and asparagus sandwiches, and asparagus and pasta. All were great and well worth the $4 or so that I paid for each. Try the asparagus ice cream at your own risk though. I try and keep an open mind but vegetables and ice cream just shouldn’t mix, end of story.

“But Slick” you ask, “what about the drinking?” I’m glad you asked hypothetical question asker. Drinking at the Asparagus Festival is like any other public gathering in Stockton, fucking expensive. It’s fine if you want to try an Asparamary (Bloody Mary) or Asparita (margarita) to stay in the spirit of things (and the Asparita is actually quite good), but if you really want to get boat raced get your hand stamped and venture out to one of Downtown Stockton’s many fine drinking establishments.

The reasoning for this is two-fold. For one, like I mentioned, it’s ridiculously expensive to drink at festivals like these. I enjoy the rare opportunity to down a tall, frosty beer outdoors on the streets of Stockton as much as the next guy but no pint of Bud Light is ever worth $7 (I’m guessing on price, it’s not worth $5 either). Luckily Bradley’s is right there and Chitivas is conveniently close to one of the festival entrances. And as a bonus, they have their own bathrooms so you don’t have to use a port-o-potty that smells like someone is using it to develop an asparagus-based mustard gas. It’s win-win. Not to mention drinking in a bar means no annoying kids darting in front of you below your eyeline so they can watch a guy play catch with his dog (sounds fucking riveting doesn’t it?).

Now that we’ve gotten the important alcoholic shit out of the way, you need to pick which day you’re going. With all apologies to Sha Na Na and Loverboy, Saturday is the All-Star day. Sure, it’s the most crowded day but there’s the aforementioned World Asparagus Eating Championship (which I’ll be covering live on my Twitter feed complete with pictures and video) at noon-ish, and then Blue Oyster Cult at 4:30. In between those events is plenty of time to sneak in a funnel cake or 8 with enough time left over to catch the skateboarding dog. The downtime between watching the masters of mastication and fearing the reaper is also a perfect time to get your handstamped and visit CJ and Ronnie at Bradley’s.

So yeah, that’s about it. I know I said it blows but I still manage to have some fun at the Asparagus Festival. It’s essentially a giant party and Stocktonians know how to party. The downside is this party is going to have those little buzzkills known as children, which means dirty looks when you swear and tripping risks from parents who put their kids on leashes. But hey, a party’s a party. Oh, and before I forget, carpool or take the bus. They try and shake you down for $10 to park behind Mr. D’s and that’s total bullshit. Go park by O’Ryleigh’s or something and walk three blocks so you can put that money towards actually having fun (or another funnel cake).


~ by Slick Diaz on April 23, 2010.

One Response to “An RTT Guide to the Asparagus Festival”

  1. This is a good guide. Look forward to the Twitter coverage, as I will be holed up in a hospital room not really having an idea what part of the day it is. I am a member of the kid having constituency that still wants to be cool, so your thoughts and opinions provided a little outlet to live vicariously.

    Thanks Slick!

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