The Minnesota Salsa Fest celebrates the fall harvest of fresh, locally grown foods with the spicy taste of salsa—in all its wonderful variations of flavors and ingredients. It is an opportunity to bring people together to share their cultural traditions in food, music and dance.

You can head to the celebration for free on Saturday, Sept. 18 at Burlington Northern Park in Wadena from noon to 7 p.m. There will be live music, dance demonstrations, a salsa dance contest, live theatre, locally made food and beverages, and a farmers market for local growers, artisans and salsa vendors, according to a Sustainable Farming Association news release.

At Salsa Fest, the best locally made salsas (commercial and homemade) are awarded prizes based on popular vote. If you'd like to enter the contest, it's best to prepare a large amount, serving up to 300 people a sample, and make sure to bring sampling supplies. People can purchase tortilla chips for the sampling. You can enter your salsa by Sept. 16.

As hosted by the Sustainable Farming Association, the goals of the Minnesota Salsa Fest are:

  • Promote local and sustainably grown foods
  • Celebrate cultural diversity; increase cross-cultural understanding and appreciation
  • Teach consumers to utilize fresh local ingredients to create amazing salsas and other dishes, and to grow their own food
  • Increase awareness of and support for sustainable agricultural practices and the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota
  • Create a family friendly fun event
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Masks are encouraged for indoor settings and in crowded outdoor areas.

Here's the schedule for Saturday, Sept. 18:

Live Performances

  • Noon to 12:45 p.m. Mexican Dance Performance
  • 1-1:45 p.m. Colombian Dance Performance
  • 2-3 p.m. The Klezmaniacs (Klezmer music)
  • 3-4:15 p.m. Arla Mae's Booyah Wagon by Sod House Theater
  • 4:15-7 p.m. Stearns County Pachanga Society
  • 5-5:30 p.m. Salsa Dance Demonstration
  • 5:30-6 p.m. Salsa Dance contest

Activities (for kids of all ages)

Noon-4 p.m. Paper Flower Craft with Monica Vega, Caricatures with Doug “Dug” Curtis, Face Painting

Educational Presentations

  • Noon-12:45 p.m. Seed Saving Basics, Zachary Paige
  • 1-1:45 p.m. Soil Health for Fruit and Vegetables, Theresa Keaveny, Executive Director, Sustainable Farming Association
  • 2-2:45 p.m. Fruit Tree Production for Minnesota and Hearty Fruit Trees, Michael Pete, Pete's Nursery
  • 3-3:45 p.m. Practical Steps to Clean Energy, Melissa Birch, Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTS)

For more information on entering the contest or events at the Salsa Fest, visit sfa-mn.org or email central@sfa-mn.org.