Fava Bean Day may not technically be an “official” day in any calendar, but the celebration in Turlock and the cause it supports is very real.
This annual Turlock fundraiser, now in its 26th year, began as a joke told by longtime Turlock resident Joe Fagundes. Back in 1993, Fagundes was sautéing up a batch of beans with garlic and onions at his ranch shop and on a whim told his workers and his friend Dave Mendonca that May 9 was Fava Bean Day in Portugal. The trick went down hook, line and sinker, with only Fagundes knowing no such day existed.
“All the men were laughing, because they knew I was joking,” Fagundes said in an earlier interview. “Dave was laughing too, so I thought he got the joke, but the next year he came up to me and said ‘Fava Day is coming up soon.’ Now, when you tell a lie, you don’t remember it, so I asked him what he was talking about. It was then that he knew he had fallen for another joke.”
It might have been a joke, but the idea of a Fava Day party sounded too good to pass up, so Fagundes recruited friends and family for a fava bean cookout. It was at the impromptu cookout that the idea of using Fava Day as a fund raiser first came to light.
From that simple beginning, Fava Dean Day has turned into an annual Turlock tradition that raises money for children dealing with a cancer diagnosis.
The event still relies on a loyal cadre of volunteers, who do everything from husking the beans to gathering items for the auction and who Fagundes refers to as the “Fava Day family.”
The event will be benefiting two young girls — Angel and Bailey — both affected by cancer. In addition to the dinner, there will be a live auction and a silent auction.
Fava Bean Day is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in building E2. Admission is free, though donations are greatly appreciated.