In one highlight of the fest, about 50 waiters and other restaurant workers donned berets, sported drawn-on mustaches and joined in the Waiter's Race, which has become a fixture of the celebration.
Members of the
"We took it on three years ago," said
The food-oriented neighborhood is perfect for celebrating French culture and cuisine, Rooney said.
"We've got 12 restaurants in one square block," he said. "It's kind of the hub of food in downtown Sacramento. It's part French, part food and part restaurants."
The restaurants and cafes offered samples of food and beverages.
"For the neighborhood, it's a good event to bring people in and appreciate what the restaurants, the shops and the people that live here have done to revamp and rebuild the community," Villalobos said. "I'm here six days out of the week, sometimes seven. I feed the people on the block; it's what I do."
Each restaurant worker who participated in the Waiter's Race was required to carry a tray balancing two glasses and a bottle of water without spilling water and without relying on the other hand. The race, which originated in
The Waiter's Race drew about 50 contestants who traveled the equivalent of a four-block stretch at their best walking speed.
The winner turned out to be a late entry.
"The bartender at the Grange couldn't do it because he had to work this morning, so I said I would fill in for him," said waiter
Paris beat six other male competitors and collected the top prize of
Paris said he had not planned to join in the footrace -- until the bartender called him about
Paris said he will participate next year -- if he is still in the restaurant business.
"Hopefully, I will be in some kind of medical school, nursing school at this point next year so I won't have to worry about it," he said.
The newest presence at Sacramento's
"We met so many people who were interested in the French language and culture," said
Rooney said he hopes
"Each year, I want to do something a little different to help raise the bar," Rooney said. "I think next year, we'll have a big French band on the end and we'll do more kids stuff. I think it's just blossomed into a great event for the whole family."
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