Mac and Cheese is a fan favorite, and here in Bakersfield we have lots of options. But on Saturday, cheese chefs battled it out with the return of the Mac and Cheese Fest in Stramler Park, for the 7th edition of the event.
Food, drinks, music, dancing and community – you could see that in every corner of the fest, with organizers saying over 3,000 people in attendance.
“It feels really good to have everybody back out there doing what we all want to do – just enjoy ourselves, have some drinks, get some food,” said Jen Bowden, the events director for the festival. She added that the event sold out Saturday morning as people showed up to sample different kinds of Mac and Cheese from over 30 vendors, and drinks from about 15 different vendors as well.
It was also a competition as restaurants battled it out for different prizes. Our own, Brianna Willis, was one of the judges at the event. KC Steakhouse and Nov’s Soul Spot tied for the best Mac and Cheese. Butcher Block was crowned most creative, with their sausage mac and cheese. The Chicken Shack won the cheesiest prize. Countryside Market was an All-Time People’s Choice winner and helped judge the event this time around.
Bowden added that a portion of proceeds from the event also go to help a local charity in our community, and organizers are still figuring out which group they will try to help.
Meanwhile, a common theme – people were just happy to be out and together.
“It’s just good to see people out in the open again and after this whole pandemic, it feels good, back to normal,” said attendee, Miriam Meza.
Vendors say being at the Mac and Cheese Fest also helped highlight local businesses and share a spirit of community.
“That’s what it’s about - our city and our county, our community loves being together, and what an event to bring all different restaurants, and be together again,” said Rick Jhaj of Countryside Corporation.
Bakersfield City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales of Ward 2 who was also at the Mac and Cheese Fest said events like these showcase the true spirit of our city, and seeing people and businesses from all over brings him a sense of pride.