SANTA RITA --Tourists and food lovers will again troop to this town for the upcoming Duman Festival this December at the EcoPark.

The event will highlight performances from homegrown Kapampangan artist group Arti.StaRita.

Andy Alviz and his group Arti.StaRita started the festival in 2002.

The festival is based on the long-standing tradition of pounding and winnowing unripe glutinous rice (lacatan) and turning it into a light pale gold or green delicacy called "duman."

The festival features al fresco dining as rows of stalls sell various pastries and native delicacies from the town, with duman as the major highlight. Among the food items sold are sans rival, masa podridu, mamon and mamon tostado.

Sta. Rita is known as a pastry town. The festival has attracted a steady following of local and international tourists. The Duman Festival is, arguably, the only festival of its kind that is held in the evening and features festive dining until the wee hours of the night.

The program is expected to start at 5:00 p.m. The event is open to food enthusiasts and tourists who would like to sample native Kapampangan cooking and delicacies. Different grades of duman, the star of the festival celebration, will also be sold during the event.

Traditionally regarded as a Christmas delicacy, duman is eaten with hot chocolate or milk.

Duman is relatively expensive: unlike the regular rice variety, which can be planted and harvested three times a year, duman can only be harvested in the cool air of November and December, otherwise it will not be a bountiful one.

For every hectare, a farmer can produce only a maximum of 4.5 cavans of duman, while a maximum of 300 cavans can be harvested from the regular rice variety.