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Wed Jul 25 2012 (Updated 07/27/12) Third Annual Celebration of Nopal, The Helping Cactus
Santa Cruz Festival del Nopal Celebrates Third Year The third annual Festival del Nopal took place in downtown Santa Cruz on Sunday July 22. The festival featured many local food vendors using nopal, or prickly pear cactus, in a variety of cuisine such as pupusas, huraches, salad, tlayudas, baked potatoes, fries, and tacos. The event, founded and coordinated by City Councilmember Tony Madrigal, celebrates the significance of the nopal in Mexican cuisine and showcases the plant's versatility and healing properties.

The well-attended daytime celebration included a recipe contest, a nopal cooking demonstration, the selection of a festival queen, performances by clowns and live music as well as free nopales for festivalgoers to take home.

Nopales are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Consumption of nopales has been shown to improve one's metabolism, balance the digestive system, and lower blood sugar and levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, two of the most common fats in the human body.

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