Prior to the first Santa Cruz Warriors game, the only thing I worried about was food and beverage service, which sounds silly unless you know me. Turns out that when it comes to edibles, local flair is everywhere.
A trio of concession stands are staffed by employees of Whiting’s Foods, the Boardwalk’s largest concessionaire, and premier employer of local youth. Except for the beer dudes, snacks are hauled up and down the bleachers by the Whiting’s troupe of teens, who are making money in the offseason as well as developing an impressive level of fitness.
Much of the food is made at Whiting’s Boardwalk kitchens, but other local favorites are also stocked. I found puffs of pastel cotton candy ($4), plump hot dogs ($5), Tio Peppes churros and soft Super Pretzels ($3). Free samples of gluten-free gourmet Popcornopolis are often available by the front door, and you can purchase cone-shaped packages of the sweet and salty Kettle Corn and Caramel Corn ($6) or the incredible Zebra Chocolate ($7) with crisp caramel corn nuggets drizzled with white and dark chocolate.
I found three flavors of crumbly cookies from Pacific Cookie Company ($2) including Dr. Midnight. From Marini’s Candies come bags of taffy, gummies and a skewer of four large marshmallows ($4) dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with crunchy sugar crystals.
Other eateries join in the fun. At each game, two youngsters vie for a Hula’s Island Grill gift certificate by busting their best dance moves. A handful of people cheering loudly are selected by mascot Mav’Riks to receive a hot Kianti’s pizza on the spot, which is often shared with strangers in the section. One night an award-winning pizza tosser put on a show.
Our development league Warriors games draw hundreds of families, and numerous halftime shows have celebrated various forms of youth athleticism.
For Santa Cruz Warriors ticket information, visit nba.com/dleague/santacruz.
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