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    Fresh local asparagus in the kitchen at Mulvaney's.

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    Kobe Bryant, driving past Chuck Hayes (42) in December, brings the Lakers to town once more to close out the Kings season.

This Week: Eating contest just part of the Stockton Asparagus Festival fun

Published: Monday, Apr. 23, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 26, 2012 - 1:16 pm

Hot dog-eating champ seeks asparagus title

Joey Chestnut may be a hot dog-eating champion, but he doesn't turn his nose up at vegetables.

Chestnut, ranked as the nation's No. 1 competitive eater by the Major League Eating organization, is a star attraction at the Stockton Asparagus Festival this weekend.

On Saturday at noon, Chestnut will attempt to snag the seventh asparagus-eating title of his career.

In 2011, Chestnut, a San Jose native, set the world record by devouring more than 9 pounds of deep-fried asparagus in 10 minutes. This year his competition includes No. 2-ranked eater Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti, who won the asparagus- eating title in 2009.

The 27th annual Asparagus Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday in downtown Stockton. Besides watching people stuff their faces, you can sample a music lineup that includes the Average White Band, "American Idol" finalist Bucky Covington, and Tower of Power.

Other events include chefs' competitions, a food festival and a run on Saturday morning.

Tickets for adults are $12, college students and kids from ages 13-17 pay $7, and children 12 and under are free.

Visit the website www.asparagusfest.com for more information.

– Mary Lynne Vellinga

IN THE NEWS

Festival de la Familia turns 21 on Sunday

One of Northern California's largest one-day multicultural events, Festival de la Familia, celebrates its 21st anniversary Sunday at Cal Expo, where more than 20,000 people are expected to revel in the food, dance, music and art of 21 Latin American countries.

Behind the news: Originally staged in Old Sacramento, Festival de la Familia was initiated by The Bee and community leaders who wanted to establish an annual family event centered on Latino culture. Gates open at 10 a.m. General admission is $10; seniors, $7; children 12 and under are free.

Look for our Snapshots photographer while you're out there!

Info: www.festivaldelafamilia.org

Golden Bear to dock in West Sacramento

For the first time in more than 15 years, the California Maritime Academy's training ship, Golden Bear, will visit, slipping into the Port of West Sacramento on Sunday for a two-day stay. The 500-foot-long ship will be open to free public tours from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. that day before departing May 1 on a two-month international training voyage.

Behind the news: Located in Vallejo, the California Maritime Academy is a part of the 23-campus California State University system, one of only seven degree-granting maritime academies in the United States and the only one on the West Coast.

Info: www.csum.edu

FOR A GOOD CAUSE

Annual feast benefits Francis House Center

The 21st annual "Feast for the Streets" fundraiser benefiting Francis House Center of Sacramento is Wednesday. The center helps those experiencing poverty to find emergency assistance with transportation and identification, temporary shelter, employment services, advocacy, personal attention and caring. The event features food, wine and beer tasting events. The gala is planned from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St.

Info:(916) 443-2646 or www.francishousecenter.org

March for Babies set as big draw at Capitol

Thousands are expected to show up at the west steps of Capitol on Saturday for the March for Babies six-mile walk, a fundraiser for prenatal wellness and other healthy baby programs. A March of Dimes event, the walk starts at 9 a.m. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m.

Info: www.marchforbabies.org

CIVIC AFFAIRS

UC Davis law school to host arena talk

Two key players in Sacramento's recent attempt to strike a deal for the construction of a downtown arena for the Kings will discuss the project Wednesday at UC Davis' School of Law. Jeremiah Jackson, project manager for Think BIG Sacramento, and David Taylor, the designated arena developer, will discuss what happened to the original plan – now off the table – and prospects for a new facility. They will speak at 5 p.m. at King Hall's Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom, Room 1001, at the invitation of the law school and the Real Estate Law Students Association.

Info: Contact Jeanne Le Duc at jmleduc@ucdavis.edu.

United Way rounds up books for area kids

A book drive aimed at improving the reading scores of third- graders in the Sacramento region culminates today when nonprofit groups throughout the region pick up books to deliver to 615 children in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. The STAR Readers Book Drive was organized by the United Way and is sponsored by Barnes & Noble, the Sacramento Central Public Library and The Sacramento Bee.

Info:www.yourlocalunitedway.org

BIG GAMES

Kings to end season by hosting the Lakers

The Kings will take on the hated/loved Los Angeles Lakers at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento's final game this season. The teams have split two games during this lockout-shortened season, each winning home games. Despite the turmoil over a proposed new arena, the Kings are expected to return next season to Power Balance Pavilion.

Info: (888) 915-4647 or (916) 928-0000.

AROUND TOWN

YMCA sponsors Healthy Kids Day

To help parents keep children physically and intellectually active this summer, the Superior California YMCA on Saturday is hosting a free Healthy Kids Day. The event will feature activities and present information about community organizations and area resources. It will take place at the Sacramento Area YMCA, 2021 W St., Sacramento.

Info: (626) 452-9622.

Artist seeks VW bus owners for project

San Jose-based artist Julia Weber's "Fahrvergnügen," an audio and photographic journey of the iconic Volkswagen Transporter, or VW bus, is on display at the California Automobile Museum, 2200 Front St., in Sacramento, as part of the museum's ongoing exhibit of German cars. On Sunday, the public is invited to become part of her work. All VW bus owners past and present are invited to come to the museum between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to share their adventures with Weber in her mobile recording studio, "Mr. Orange," a restored 1971 Volkswagen Campmobile. These recordings will be added to the audio component of her project. The event is free for museum members and included with museum admission for the general public

Info: www.calautomuseum.org or (916) 442-6802.

Program will dispose of unwanted drugs

Area residents who need to get rid of unwanted prescription drugs can drop them off at three locations Saturday as part of a national "take-back" day. The effort, led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is designed to safely dispose of prescription drugs that are "highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse," according to a Sacramento County Sheriff's Department news release. Medicines in capsule and tablet form can be dropped off between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the following locations: 5510 Garfield Avenue in Sacramento; 7000 65th Street in Sacramento; and 2897 Kilgore Road in Rancho Cordova.

Intravenous solutions, injectables and needles will not be accepted.

Info:www.dontflushyourmeds.com

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