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Boise Soul Food Extravaganza and Festival

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Almost every chef will tell you the best--and perhaps most unhealthy--culinary combination is sweet and salty. French-fries dipped in milkshakes, chocolate-covered pretzels, and Milk Duds and popcorn can all trigger the strongest of cravings in the most devout health-nut.

Enter fried chicken and waffles, a soul-food classic that dominates menus in many Southern dining establishments. For many diners, the sticky sweetness of the maple syrup is a perfect marriage with the carb-laden waffles and deep-fried poultry. Although eating this may cause your cardiologist to shudder in disgust, it would be nearly impossible not to reap anti-depressant benefits. Locals have a chance to indulge in a similar smattering of good-for-the-soul, bad-for-the-waistline offerings at the 18th annual Boise Soul Food Extravaganza in Julia Davis Park on Saturday, Aug. 7.

It's estimated more than 15,000 people will gather in the park to indulge in barbecue ribs, jambalaya, catfish, pork sandwiches, collard greens and sweet potato pies by the truckload. Organizers claim the event is the largest soul food festival in the Northwest and the second-longest running in the country.

Take your food to the grass near the Gene Harris Bandshell to be serenaded by live performers, including reggae-influenced locals Soul Serene, techno-hip hop star Enzyme Dynamite of The Bayliens, DJ True Justice from the Bay Area and locals Eleven and Blues Brothers tribute band Jake Blues and the Rock 'n' Soul Revue.

All proceeds from the festival benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Ada County, the Hayden Deluca Foundation and the Boise Chapter of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Saturday, Aug. 7, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., FREE admission, Julia Davis Park, 208-429-1526, boisesoulfoodfestival.com.