Interesting, isn’t it, how good food so often intersects with good causes.
Los Banos Rotary Crab Feed – “The world’s finest cracked crab” will be served March 16, two weeks earlier than last year. The Rotary club’s main fundraiser of the year is at the Los Banos Fairgrounds Exhibit Building (403 F St.) at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $55, and you can get them from any Los Banos Rotarian or by calling Gene Lieb (209 704-3831) or Marg Benton (209 704-0014).
There’s more than crab on the menu. Pasta, salad and table wine will all be brought to you by congenial Rotarians and Interact Club members who serve the family-style meal with a smile. A raffle with dozens of donated prizes adds to the fun.
Proceeds go toward the Rotary’s community projects, including scholarships for Los Banos and Pacheco High School graduates.
Food Forest – It will take at least few months before this project bears fruit, literally, but it should be worth the wait. Students and staff from the Los Banos Campus of Merced College will plant their “food forest” of fruit trees, herbs, vegetables, etc., on Feb. 24. The trees will take a year or two to produce a harvest, though the bushes might yield some berries this fall and the herbs and vegetables could be ready this summer.
A food forest is a relatively new concept that mimics a forest edge with seven “tiers” of edible plants. Planning for the food forest began in 2014; the land was graded by McElvany Construction last fall, and the hardscape was finished last month. The Food Forest came about through a grant from Wells Fargo, supplemented by the college’s general fund. It will help provide fresh, locally grown food for students and members of the community.
The forest will also provide some friendly interaction – not only in watching it grow but when it’s time to harvest, especially since harvesters, from the college and the community, will be able to take home what they’ve picked and eat it.
The food forest reminds us of the importance of trees, some species of which produce fruit and nuts, others providing primarily shade, beauty and oxygen. Los Banosans are keenly aware of this because their city has been designated a Tree City, USA for the past quarter century.
Arbor Day – Speaking of trees, the Arbor Day celebration will be March 2 at the Los Banos Community Center (645 Seventh St.) starting at 4 p.m. The celebration will include the presentation of awards to students who submitted entries to the Arbor Day art contest and music from a local school band.
Music to Our Ears – Songwriter and singer Terry Brown will perform at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 in the Ted Falasco Arts Center (1105 Fifth St.). Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Persons interested in writing songs have a special opportunity that day as Terry holds as “Songwriting Workshop” from 1 to 5 p.m. at the nearby Mel Soares Studio (1143 Fifth St.). This will be an opportunity to learn from one of the best songwriters in the country, as evidenced by his award as the songwriter of year by the Pro Cowboy Country Music Association. Tickets to the workshop are $40 and includes a seat at the evening concert, a bargain for local musicians, since songwriting workshops in places like Nashville can cost several hundred dollars. The evening before Brown’s concert, Feb. 23, will be Open Mic Nite at the Arts Center.
Bluegrass First – This Saturday, Feb. 17, California bluegrass group High Country – which has recorded nine albums and has been called “one of the lonesomest, hard-drivingest traditional bluegrass bands alive” by Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine – will be performing at the Arts Center. The show starts at 7 p.m.
Weather during the next four weeks is usually some of the best of the year in Los Banos, which should make it pleasant for the many upcoming events.
On another note – I want to add my voice to the chorus of those expressing sorrow on the loss of Joe Cox, a World War II veteran and long-time educator and Rotarian. It was my privilege to work with Joe on many different projects over the past 46 years. Joe will be deeply missed by all those whose lives he touched.
John Spevak is a resident of Los Banos; he wrote this for the Los Banos Enterprise. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.