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Mother Lode Makes Merry With Beans, Carols

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.