Mole & Mariachi
The Mole & Mariachi Festival is a benefit for nonprofit Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks in support of Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park. Your support will help fund educational programs, visitor services, capital improvements and increased hours the park is open to the public. Learn more about the Mission here.
The fourth annual Mole & Mariachi Festival is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park (144 School St.) in downtown Santa Cruz!
Chefs will prepare mole, a traditional Mexican sauce, sometimes made using chocolate, for festival-goers to sample.
Sign up forms:
2015 Mole & Mariachi Festival
The third-annual Festival drew nearly 4,000 people to Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park.
Winners from the mole contest:
Judges’ choice: Winner, Mama Marquita’s. Runner up, My Mom’s Mole.
People’s choice: Winner, My Mom’s Mole. Runner up, El Jardin
Competitors for the 2015 cook-off included:
Local celebrity judges for 2015 included Santa Cruz City Councilmember David Terrazas; Jeanne Howard, publisher of the Good Times; Anthony L. Solis, web editor at the Santa Cruz Sentinel; Traci Hukill, editor of Hilltromper in Santa Cruz; and Patricia Santana, owner of Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant!
Mariachi Gilroy, Mariachi Alma de Mexico, Mariachi Juvenil Alma de Mexico and Trio del Sol played music. Estrellas de Esperanza, a baile folklorico group from Watsonville, and Centeotl Grupo de Danza y Baile both performed.
2014 Mole & Mariachi Festival
The second annual Mole & Mariachi Festival was held Saturday, Sept. 20, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. The event drew approximately 3,000 people to the Mission and, thanks to the success of the Festival, Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks was able to fund an additional day of public access to the Mission each week.
The event encouraged alternative transportation by offering free trolley rides from downtown to the festival, as well as bike valet at the Mission.
Nine competitors prepared mole, a traditional Mexican sauce, sometimes made using chocolate, for festival-goers to sample. The chefs included:
- El Jardin, a Santa Cruz restaurant and the 2013 People’s Choice winner with “Jorge’s Traditional Mole.”
- El Chipotle, a taqueria in Soquel that makes a rojo Oaxaqueño mole.
- Lidia’s Taqueria, a Watsonville eatery making a traditional Oaxacan dark mole with nopales (cactus paddles).
- El Chino, a Santa Cruz restaurant that will prepare a mole with poblano chilis.
- The Kitchen at Discretion Brewing. (The Soquel brewery also will be serving craft beer.)
- My Mom’s Mole, a 25-ingredient Guanajuato-style sauce that is spicy, not sweet, prepared by chef Cesario Ruiz.
- Vivas, an organic fresh Mexican restaurant in Santa Cruz.
- Maya Mexican Restaurant, a Scotts Valley eatery that will enter an original Michoacán mole.
- Plaza Lane Optometry, a newcomer to the event, will prepare a staff member’s personal recipe featuring chocolate, peanuts and pumpkin seeds.
2014 judges included Jeanne Howard, publisher of the Good Times; Lorenzo Sanchez, a jalapeño eating champion from Watsonville; Anthony L. Solis, web editor at the Santa Cruz Sentinel; Gerardo Sandoval of the Watsonville Film Festival; Assemblymember Mark Stone; Jacob Martinez, a social entrepreneur from Watsonville; and Traci Hukill, editor of Hilltromper in Santa Cruz.
2014 Mole & Mariachi Festival Sponsors
Alexis Party Rental, Gloria Alvarez, Chaminade, Chocolate, Coke Farms, CreativeCellar, David Adams, Dell Williams, Family Cycling Center, Discretion Brewing, Four Winds Growers, Bonny Hawley, Hotel Paradox, Habitat for Humanity, Inquire Within, Lagunitas Brewing, Jo Kenny Consulting, Jolynne & Fred Jones, Barney Levy, Mount Hermon Redwood Canopy Tour, O’Neill Yacht Charter, O’Neill Surf Shop, Martinelli’s, Mi Pueblo, Monterey Bay Aquarium, One Wish, Pacific Cookie Company, A Room of Her Own, Santa Cruz Strong, Georgann Scally, Elizabeth Shilling, Taqueria Santa Cruz, Ken Thomas, Santa Cruz Warriors