Oakdale Testicle Festival hits bull's-eye (well, not eye, really)

March 25, 2009 

testfest

Bull testicles are prepped for cooking by Bob Bunker, 53, of Knights Ferry. Bob is part of the team hosting the 'Testicle Festival' in Oakdale, California. (Brian Ramsay / The Modesto Bee)

It's not every story that makes me think seriously about all the synonyms for testicles.

But, well, the Oakdale Testicle Festival isn't just any festival.

So let's get them all out of our system now: gonads, balls, nuts, rocks, bollocks and family jewels. I could go on, but should stop while I have some dignity intact.

As the name suggests, the event celebrates cattle unmentionables in all their glory. A joint fund-raiser for the Oakdale Rotary Club and Cowboy Museum, the event is now in its 28 years.

For years, the fete was called the Calf Fry as the largest fundraiser for the town's Rotary Club. But then the group joined forces with the Cowboy Museum and the more direct, more catchy Testicle Festival was launched in 2003. Since then, the festival has gone from fewer than 200 guests to more than 450 a year.

The evening is less a strolling, browsing around festival and more of a sit-down, chow-down dinner. Some 400 pounds of the unique dining experience are fried up in a secret recipe and served to guests for $50 a ticket ($65 if you wait and get it at the door).

The event fills Oakdale's largest hall, the FES Hall. Last year, it raised $28,000.

But enough with the boring details, give us the gory details. You know, what do they taste like?

Christie Camarillo, executive director of the Oakdale Cowboy Museum, swears they're delicious.

"They kind of taste like chicken. I say it's between fried calamari and chicken liver," she said. "I've had them fixed all different ways, but you can't beat how the Rotarians do it."

And lest you think this is just a delicacy for those Oakdale cowboys, folks from as far away as San Jose, Bakersfield and Roseville travel to the town each year to get their fill.

The festival goes from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday at the FES Hall in Oakdale. For more information, call 847-5163.

The organizers promise that you'll "Have a ball!"

Glad they said it and not me.

Elsewhere around the Scene:

April showers bring a slew of national acts to the Fat Cat Music House & Lounge.

First, closing out March on Monday will be the Plain White T's of "Hey There Delilah" fame. April 3, check out Candlebox, the successful Seattle grunge act best known for singles like "Change," "You," and "Simple Lessons." Show starts at 7 p.m. with openers Royal Bliss and Jet Black Stare. Tickets are $20.

April 10, see R&B recording artist Montell Jordan, known for his 1995 No. 1 single, "This Is How We Do It," as well as other hits "Let's Ride" and "Get it On Tonite." The show also features Odub, V8 and Elder Peralta. Show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20.

For more information, call 524-1400. ...

Fight lupus and rock out at a benefit show Saturday at Hero's Sports Bar & Pizza Company.

Performing will be Peaceable Jones, Richie Cooks, A La Lune, Butterface and Asphodel. The show is in memory of Modesto Junior College student Jasmine Upton, 21, who passed away last month from complications from lupus. Proceeds from the show will go toward funeral costs and the Lupus Research Institute.

Doors open at 8 p.m., music starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $7. ...

Nostalgia fans should catch Chad and Jeremy on Sunday at the West Side Theatre.

The guys were part of the '60s British pop invasion. They are know for songs like "Yesterday's Gone," "Summer Song," "Willow Weep For Me" and "Distant Shores."

Tickets are $20 general, $25 reserved. Call 862-4490. ...

Feel the pride Sunday with a night of live, local music supporting the area's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community at the Copper Rhino.

A Pride Event, hosted by Merced artist Moon Trent and Modesto promoter Jill Ferris, will feature performances by Fresno's Inflight Nymphs, Sacramento's The Babs Johnson Gang, Inland Empire's Miracle Dolls, Ceres' Love Core, Modesto's Shaylin Nichole and Trent. Show starts at 7 p.m. Cover is $3. ...

And finally, mark your calendars for the first of what is planned as an annual Modesto Sounds Fundraiser Concert April 4 in downtown Modesto.

The event will support the youth recording program of the nonprofit recording studio.

Performing will be eight area acts: LD50, Gianna Joy, The Cottons, Scott Bartenhagen, Drew Blum, Caroline Chiesa, Danny DeLeon Band and Speechless Story. Matthew Torres will emcee.

The concert is free to the public at Tenth Street Plaza, with VIP seating available for $20. For more information, call 573-0533 or visit www.modestosound.com.

Bee entertainment writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at 578-2284 or mrowland@modbee.com. Read her blog SceneIt at thehive.modbee.com/sceneit

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