Preparations for the 30th annual Oakdale Testicle Festival are winding down as the March 28 date for the event draws closer.
Since 2001, the Oakdale Cowboy Museum has teamed up with the Oakdale Rotary for the popular annual dinner of “mountain oysters,” a delicacy of fried bull testicles, served at the F.E.S. Hall on Lee Avenue in Oakdale.
Cowboy Museum Executive Director Christie Camarillo handles a majority of the administrative functions for the festival preparation which includes overseeing the ticket sales, merchandising, website, and public relations/media functions.
This year, in honor of the festivity’s 30th year, a contest was held to select a slogan to celebrate the anniversary.
Jenny Nahhas of Escalon was chosen the winner by the event’s panel from 129 entries. The slogan, “30 years and still hangin’!” will serve as this year’s catchphrase.
For her winning entry, Nahhas, who has never attended the event, receives two tickets to the festival and merchandise.
Another addition to this year’s festival preparation to attract new people has been the introduction of social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
“With social media, that’s been an enjoyable and effective way to get word out,” said Camarillo. “Almost instantly you get to see the person’s reaction.”
The popular hometown event sells out quickly and draws from a wide area, including the tri-city region of Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon. Enthusiasts of the delicacy also come from all over the state, traveling from Bakersfield and north of Sacramento.
“We have a group from Roseville that rents a limo to come here,” Camarillo said.
Camarillo commented that “the fun” is the preparation of the bull testicles.
On the Sunday prior to the dinner, volunteers with the Rotary Club gather at Medlen’s House of Beef to filet, sort, and marinate the over 400 pounds of the bull genitals. The meat sits in a special sauce and on Monday morning they begin frying in preparation to serve them to hungry attendees who pay $50 each for the dinner.
Oakdale optometrist and long-time Rotary member Dr. Lee Scaief has been heading the event with Bob Brunker since its inception.
“It’s a good gathering of the two organizations,” said Scaief. “All the money (from the festival) goes back to the community”
Scaief said a cross-section of the community is involved, with volunteers including some surgeons, ranchers, and insurance people.
“It was a place where farmers, ranchers, and Oakdale citizens gathered and saw each other once a year,” Scaief said describing the event’s early years. “Now it’s grown to bigger exposure.”
While the festival is taking place there will be a raffle, auction, and a “duck walk” where entrants buy a chosen square and a duck “selects” the winner by “marking” the area.
Camarillo said that attendees will receive 30th anniversary wine glasses or beer mugs with the original Testicle Festival logo. Oak Valley Bank and the Turlock Livestock Auction sponsored the items.
“It only seemed natural to ask one of the sales yards to sponsor,” Camarillo said.
Tickets can be purchased at the Oakdale Cowboy Museum at (209) 847-7049, the Oakdale Rotary at (209) 525-9198, or by visiting the festival’s website at www.oakdaletesticlefestival.com.