By Robert J. Hansen | OBSERVER Staff Writer
One could sample everything from Jamaican banana bread, to banana pudding waffles to banana bean pies, banana pudding, frozen chocolate-covered bananas and banana splits at the 12th annual Sacramento Banana Festival on Aug. 19.
Along with these tasty delights, you could get a side of live music and take part in a parade at William Land Park.
Organizer Shonna McDaniels said the festival was created in an attempt to raise money for the Sojourner Truth Museum.
“We did our research and discovered that there were no festivals for bananas in California,” McDaniels said. “We believe that creating a banana festival would bring together people from around the world and celebrate culture through the love of the banana.”
McDaniels noted the most popular item was the banana cream cakes made by a woman from Alabama.
According to McDaniels, the festival came together despite having a limited team and minimal sponsorship. She said about $5,000 came from sponsors including Sacramento Regional Transit, SMUD and Sacramento City Councilmember Caity Maple.
McDaniels said she was disappointed that there wasn’t more support from other councilmembers.
“We reached out to every councilmember,” she said. “We serve children, families and youth in every district. So we shouldn’t hear that we can’t get support because of what district [the festival is] in.”
Miranda and Michael Donoho, owners of the Waffle Experience, where everything comes with a waffle on it, set up a tent serving chocolate and vanilla banana waffles.
This was the first festival they had been to since COVID-19 and they were happy to be back.
“Before COVID we were at every event,” Miranda said.
The event also recognized community support honorees, among them The Sacramento OBSERVER and Sacramento mayoral candidate and former state Sen. Richard Pan.
The Banana Festival and events like it are important in bringing communities together, Pan said.
“Look around and you can see the diversity in Sacramento at this event,” Pan said. “You see the African American community, the Caribbean community and it’s great to see the diversity of Sacramento showing up. Just think of the talent you see in our community when you come to an event like this. They get a chance here to show off to all of us what they can do.”