In this Year of the Dragon, the heat was appropriately scorching on Saturday for the 66th annual Japanese Food and Cultural Bazaar. Despite the triple-digit temperatures, the masses showed up hungry and festive at the Buddhist Church of Sacramento on Riverside Boulevard. The line for the bazaar's chicken teriyaki booth snaked well into the parking lot and was over 100 people deep by early afternoon.
Cooking all that food was a kind of endurance test, with more than 2 tons of rice and 10 tons of chicken expected to be consumed by the bazaar's conclusion on Sunday night. Organizers expect the weekend's attendance to reach well over 20,000, with hundreds of volunteers helping to run the bazaar.
And what about the prospect of spending a hot afternoon inside a stuffy, smoky room where a couple hundred pounds of charcoal fuel two 40-foot grilling pits? Most volunteers couldn't be happier, even though that meant getting up at 2 a.m. to light charcoal.
"It's a lot of hard work but a lot of fun," said James Amioka, who co-chairs the chicken teriyaki booth with his brother, Mark. "We work, we eat, we drink. For us, it's a big party."
The bazaar also includes a variety of cultural events, including traditional Japanese music and dance, floral arts and games for kids. For more information: (916) 446-0121.
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