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Mother Lode Makes Merry With Beans, Carols

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Sonora, CA — Free beans, warm smiles and holiday spirit were all in abundance as the 28th Annual Mutz’ Bean Feed served hundreds.

The strains of a street orchestra of string players and lively sounds of neighborly chit-chat helped set a colorful downtown Sonora scene between south of Coffill Park, where the back of the line meandered towards a serving table set up between Washington and Linoberg streets. While rain made last year’s event a wet one and created huddles of crowds under awnings and a covered service area, Friday’s sunny skies and seasonable temperatures had host Galen “Mutz” Mutzner, now 88, working the line and greeting an all-ages crowd, who clearly enjoyed having the chance to congratulate him on his continued ability to pull off such a swell gathering.

Of course, Mutz is the first to admit that it takes dozens of hands from a host of volunteers, many of them who help out each year. Along with the simmering big bean pot on the serving line, Mexican menudo soup, prepared by three generations of the Andrada family, was ladled out by helpers who also doled out complements of garlic bread, tortillas and quesadillas. At the end of the line, Santa and and elf Brooke passed out bags of popcorn.

Matriarch Cissie Andrada still tears up talking about her husband Gil, “The Menudo King,” who passed away a few years ago but proudly pointed out his grandchildren, bustling about with cooking chores, are now embracing the Bean Feed as part of their holiday tradition. As Gil did during his years setting up his cooking pot next to Mutz, his family, beginning at around 5:30 a.m., prepped and simmered their specialty, which includes about 50 pounds of tripe, hominy, onions, sauces and other flavorings and garnishes.

While greeting one longtime “Bean Feeder” in the line, who shared that this was her 15th year, Mutz was asked for a comment about how he felt about this year’s event. Smiling, with just a hint of bean sauce at the corner of his mouth, he replied, “Just like the way I feel about the first one — it’s getting better every year, and I enjoy doing it.”

To view a slideshow of event photos, click in the upper left image box.

Immediately after the Bean Feed was the Pop Hudson sing at Courthouse Park. You can view the entry of Sonora Regional Medical Center by clicking on the video icon in the upper left hand box. Additionally, you can click here to view the Sierra Conservation Center.

  • Mutz, Holding court at Mutz' 2015 Bean Feed
  • Mutz and Mrs. Mutz
  • Mutz' Bean Feed, the 2015
  • Mutz' Bean Feed, 2015, Bean Pot Ladlers
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, Bean Pot Ladlers' Photo Opp
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, Quesedilla Makers
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, Three Generations of Menudo Makers
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, Santa and Company
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, Mutz greets the waiting line
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, Mutz and friends in the waiting line
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, Mutz shakes hands with more folks
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, Mutz jokes with local who has only been to 15 of the 28 feeds
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, waiting in line, folks chat
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, Mutz obliges a photo opp
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, serving line on Linoberg Street by The Sportsman
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, volunteers and participants in great spirits
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, volunteers man the serving line
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015 serving line stretches across Linoberg Street in front of food prep area
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015 String Players
  • Mutz' Bean Feed 2015, at the very back of the line well past Coffill Park

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