Cars, Food, Swimming and Music at Hot August Bites

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG)  |  Story and photos by Trina L. Drotar
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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Car, music, and food enthusiasts turned out for the annual Hot August Bites at Rusch Park on Saturday, August 11. The morning kicked off with a car show hosted by Nor-Cal Cruisers and featured 114 cars in all makes, models, and years. Shiny and the not-so-shiny sat side by side. American muscle, classic, and even a 1987 Fiat from Poland presented their best sides for one of more than 50 traditional and handcrafted trophies and bragging rights.                           

Folks frantically purchased tickets and stuffed the cups for their chance to win one of the nearly 120 raffle prizes. Funds raised will be presented to the Citrus Heights Police Athletic League on October 20 at Howl-O-Ween. Prizes ranged from traffic signs and signals to repurposed terracotta planters to 50” flat screen televisions. The chance to drop Wally Schnierle in the dunk tank proved popular with some of the young attendees who took aim and cheered when he hit the water. Funds raised will benefit a second cause.

The day’s event moved into full swing at 11 a.m. when Jax Hammer took the stage and played a stream of classic rock tunes covering just about everything from Rolling Stones and Blue Öyster Cult to Santana’s 1999 collaboration with Rob Thomas on “Smooth.” The band turned out solid covers of many iconic songs and drew crowds into the two beer gardens on either side of the stage. Shade, beers or margaritas to help raise funds for a different charity, and camaraderie were found under the tents.

Vendor booths nearly doubled from 2017’s event said Marty Buell, Sunrise Recreation & Park District’s Senior Recreation Manager, and featured a little of everything. Some of the newcomers included Farm Fresh to You, Greengraphics, and Eric’s Mobile Vehicle Repair. Texas Roadhouse’s booth featured sandwich samples and was situated at the base of the foot bridge. The City of Citrus Heights, Sunrise Recreation & Park District, and Boy Scout Troop 228 had booths. Handcrafted jewelry, handbags, key chains, and household items made from recycled denim were popular. Beauty products, veterinarians, fitness centers, and the chance to win a ticket to heaven were other vendors with samples and information. And there were several food trucks from which to choose. Squeeze Inn and Frozen Lemonade were busy late in the day.

Families were everywhere. Children and infants played and napped and ate. Adults wandered or sat, some with chairs brought from home and others with blankets they spread on the grass. Young couples stole a few quiet moments on the foot bridge under the cooling mist. Many people sheltered and lunched under the picnic structure. Some danced, and over 100 people took advantage of the free swim opportunity in the pool.

Buell said that the event has grown each year since 2014 and invited everyone out to the district’s 22nd annual Sunday Funday on September 23 at Rusch Park.

Visit for more information. If you go: 7801 Auburn Blvd., Citrus Heights. For additional information, visit