Zucchinis ruled at the Pine River Library on Sept. 20 for the first annual Zucchini Extravaganza. Other squashes were welcome, except for pumpkins, which the library says will have their own event.
A good crowd turned out to enjoy the sunny warm weather, visit with friends, sign up to win a mini rototiller or garden fountain, and sample an amazing array of potluck items from appetizers to entrees to desserts, all of which contained zucchinis. There are many tasty ways to disguise this sometimes over-abundant vegetable. The library was collecting recipes.
The Transplants provided live music.
People brought decorated zucchinis for judging. Some were carved. Some were dressed up with cloth and ribbon. Some were glittered.
There were prizes for the biggest zucchinis, the ones that hide under the leaves until they are as big as a football. The winner weighed in at 10 pounds.
The zucchini festival also included a celebrity chef cook-off. Chef Safari from the Strater Hotel prepared tempura battered squash blossoms. Vegan cookbook author Tess Challis created a stir-fry of noodles made from zucchinis and topped with a yummy sauce containing pureed zucchinis. Garden Club member Bonnie Cotton grilled up vegetable kabobs.
Vistors also toured the library's community garden, which has grown almost junglous. Along with beautiful flowers, there was a very large pumpkin that will be a challege to move, some huge sunflowers, and a variety of tomato plants with lots of tomatoes ready to be picked. The library was signing up people for space in next year's garden.
Library staffer Judy Poe organized the festival.