While Isleton celebrates the beloved crawdad on Father's Day weekend each year, the town spends the weekend after Valentine's Day celebrating everything Spam.
"Our parents grew up eating Spam," Modesto resident Suzy Holmes said, wearing a Navy blue shirt with the word "Spam" written in bright yellow letters on the front.
"The Spam toss is always fun," said Bryan Haag, also visiting from Modesto.
The 11th annual Spam Festival attracted people from as far south as Modesto and as far north as Roseville and Yuba City.
People filled the courtyard at Isleton Joe's Restaurant on Sunday morning to submit their finest Spam recipes. In addition to the recipe contest, revelers competed in the Spam toss and Spam-eating contest.
And Humphrey, the whale who swam up the Sacramento River into and near Rio Vista in 1985, was honored on Sunday by a Spam sculpture. Christi Lewis, of Rio Vista, created the whale - named Humphrietta - completely from Spam. She even added a tube that squirted water out of Humphrietta's top.
"It's the first time I ever put a catheter in a whale," Lewis said, laughing out loud.
Lewis' project was initially to feature Delta and Dawn, the two whales who entered the Sacramento River last year. The only problem was that Lewis dropped Delta and Dawn after carving them, and her dog ate both of them before they hit the ground. So she created Humphrietta instead.
The Spam toss featured 13 two-member teams, all competing in the Bank of Rio Vista parking lot. Employing the same format as an egg toss or water balloon toss, each competitor tossed the Spam to his or her partner. The last team to drop their Spam wins.
After handing one contestant from each team a can of Spam, event organizer Bill Cox said, "You have three seconds to open your can - now!"
As contestants opened their cans of Spam, one man shook his head and said, "Ooh man, the smell."
After each toss to their partner, participants took one step back to make the toss a little more difficult.
Lodi was represented by Brad Ownbey and Brad Marchand, who tied for third place. They estimated tossing their Spam 60 feet before Ownbey threw his Spam too short for Marchand to catch. Two years ago, they placed second.
"I just spent 20 minutes washing my hands," said Holmes, the first person to be eliminated from the contest.
Marchand and Ownbey were part of 12 family members from Lodi who participated in the festival on Sunday.
"We were born and raised on Spam - fried and baked, brown sugar - it was ham, by golly," said Debby Stephens, Marchand's sister who prepared a dish of Spambalaya at 6 a.m. Sunday.
On Christmas, everyone got Spam gifts, and everyone enjoyed them, Stephens said.
• The original product was spiced ham. Spam Classic is made of ham, pork, sugar, salt, water, a little potato starch and a hint of sodium nitrate.
• In 1959, the billionth can was produced. The Spam total passed six billion in 2002.
• In the U.S., a can of Spam is consumed every 3.6 seconds
• Per capita, the biggest Spam consumers are Hawaiians.
• In September 2001, the Spam Museum opened in Austin, Minn., Hormel's hometown.
The Spam Festival began after the Sacramento River levees broke in 1986, said Isleton resident Paul Steele, wearing a foam shirt with the Spam design and a hat to match. With everyone flooded out, the only edible food anyone had was Spam, Steele said. That led to the festival, which has been held every year except 2007.
Tracy Berry, of Antioch, who prepared Spam corn dogs, was judged to have the best entry.
"I just love coming out here," Berry said. "We always wanted to enter a cooking contest."
She decided against trying to get onto the "Martha Stewart Show" or the Food Network. She decided instead that the Isleton Spam Festival met her standards perfectly.
Other entries included Spam ravioli, deviled Spam eggs, Hungarian paprika Spam thermadore and Ruthie's Spamolis with pesto sauce.
"All fresh ingredients," Ruthie Ford of Manteca said proudly about her Spamolis.
But could she honestly say the Spam was fresh?
"Fresh out of the can," she said.