April 26, 2012

Friday night in the desert, anything but dry

By Hayley Violand
HDW volunteer

Anyone who has ever lived in the desert can attest to the dry nature of life.  The occasional spot of rain can be viewed, in the desert context, as a celebratory event—the rare wetting down that brings out the bloom of the desert rose.  And while it may not have been raining the evening of April 20, the Barstow Margarita Fest left no doubt that it was one such rare and wet occasion.

The annual event, which raises money for local service organizations, was held at the Cora Harper Fitness Center.  As in previous years, the 21 and older crowd made it a sold out event—a fact much appreciated by the Boys and Girls Club of Barstow, who were this years’ recipients of the more than $1,200 raised.

As in years past, several restaurants and bars brought their best margarita recipes and competed for awards in three categories.  The categories this year were “Best-Blended-Margarita,” won by Rosita’s Mexican and American Restaurant; “Best on-the-Rocks-Margarita,” which went to a cactus-flavored concoction from Quigley’s Restaurant; and “People’s Choice Margarita” which went to Di Napoli’s Firehouse for their pomegranate on-the-rocks margarita.

While the drinks were the primary draw, there were plenty of theatrics on display to keep the crowd energized.  From Di Napoli’s Firehouse bartenders dressed as 1950s pin-up girls to the superhero characters serving Los Domingos margaritas, the fun level stayed high throughout the four-hour event.  And clearly those vendors competing gave it their all.  Each participating restaurant and bar dressed their tasting booths to the nines.  Idle Spurs Saloon displayed a luau-style tasting area for their pineapple frozen margarita while Rosita’s had their servers donning a traditional huipil often worn by women in Mexico.

Despite the jovial atmosphere, the attendant residents of Barstow and the nearby areas took the time to discuss with each other the meaning of their annual event and how important the success of this critical fundraiser is to the community.

“It’s great to be here each year. It’s a good time for everyone who attends and we all enjoy knowing it’s a good community event,” said Marisa Adams of Di Napoli’s Firehouse.

“The Margarita Fest is a lot of fun every year. It’s a chance for us girls to get together and have a good time while working…it’s great camaraderie and a great event,” said Lori Skjerve of Idle Spurs Saloon.

While this year’s event has passed, the Barstow community plans to continue this event and others like it well into the future, and Fort Irwin residents are always welcome to attend.  For more information, visit the Chamber of Commerce website at

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