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Artichoke festival in Monterey this weekend has chef demos, kids' activities

Chef demo at a previous Castroville Artichoke Festival
Castroville Artichoke Festival

The 2014 Castroville Artichoke Food & Wine Festival, May 31-June 1, has relocated to the Monterey County Fair and Events Center to make room for more food and wine, more people, and bigger entertainment acts. Hours are Saturday Mary 31, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday June 1, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

This year the family-friendly 55th Annual Castroville Artichoke Festival has a lot to celebrate, including the recent designation of the artichoke as California’s official state vegetable, proclaimed by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. Festival activities include a farmers’ market, arts and crafts vendors, children’s carnival, artichoke eating contest and artichoke field tours.

Two performance stages will offer live music featuring bands Red Beans & Rice, John “Broadway Blues” Tucker, Nu-Horizon, and tribute bands for The Eagles, Doobie Brothers and Santana.

Attendees can enjoy gourmet artichoke dishes, some with wine pairings, plus food demonstrations prepared by Tony Baker of Monterey’s Montrio Bistro and other local chefs. Celebrity chef Ryan Scott, host of San Francisco’s KGO Radio cooking show and a Top Chef Season 4 contestant, will broadcast live from the festival on Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m.

Tickets are available online and at the gate; prices are $10 for adults, $5 for kids 4-12, active military, and seniors, and free for kids three and under.

The Monterey County Fair and Events Center is at 2004 Fairground Road. For details or online tickets visit www.artichokefestival.org.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.