I love avocados! Especially when part of a sandwich, salad, and of course tacos. I had heard that you can sample all kinds of foods with avocados at the annual California Avocado Festival. If your feeling particularly brave you can try avocado ice cream! Well, that sounds disgusting but could be delicious, maybe? At the least it sounded like a foodie challenge I did not want to pass up. Apparently every October the quiet beachside town of Carpinteria comes to life with music and festivities to celebrate the importance of the avocado.
Before I had ever gone to the Avocado Festival I thought Carpinteria was that carpet store from the commercials. Nope, that’s Carpeteria, my mistake. Carpinteria is actually a small beach town thats on the way up to Santa Barbara. It’s a great place to camp if you have an RV because you can park right along the beach. If you don’t have an RV, just check into one of the towns quaint hotels and get ready to have some fun. As soon as you walk down the main street of the festival you can feel the laid back attitude of this community. Throughout the day local bands were ripping out their guitar jams on several musical stages. People wasted no time and happily danced to the music, guzzled their beers and scarfed down their tasty guacamole tacos. Everyone was having a total blast. I couldn’t believe I had never heard of this place before!
With all the other food festivals one could host, why did this town choose to honor the avocado? First of all, Santa Barbara County is the third largest avocado producer in North America. The town leaders decided what better way to help with fundraising efforts and boost the local economy than to sponsor a fun-filled 3-day weekend every year to honor the avocado. Not surprisingly this event has evolved into the largest free festival in California. Let me repeat…free! Of course you’ll pay for your food and drinks while you’re there, but the festival itself is free.
Don’t miss the Expo Tent (shown above) to learn all about the avocado. You’ll find samples of the different types of avocados and agricultural and historical photos for you to view. You can also learn all about avocado grafting if you’d like to tap into your inner farmer.
Well who is this little googly-eyed guy? Either Uncle Sam is looking a little green today or it’s just an avocado wearing a patriotic costume. Pretty cute! There were lots of creative entries in the avocado decorating contest. Looks like Uncle Sam won first place. I hope he knows there’s a rather strange jealous porcupine looking avocado sneaking up behind him!
Strolling around you’ll discover various other avocado-centric contests at the festival such as the largest avocado contest and the best guacamole contest. Best guacamole? I think I’ll be the judge of that one myself.
Holy guacamole batman! This is one seriously large vat of guacamole. Actually it is the world’s LARGEST vat of guacamole! I can’t even imagine how many nachos that vat would supply!
What’s a food festival without merchandise for sale? Stroll through the Arts & Crafts Venue to find that perfect gift for someone. After all, Christmas is always just around the corner. Don’t forget this festival is family friendly! If you visit the Children’s Venue your kids can enjoy face painting or go crazy in the bounce houses.
Ah…the moment of truth! There is the avocado ice cream I was telling you about. They all have smiles on their faces so I guess it wasn’t too bad. As I can recall, avocado ice cream didn’t taste half bad. At night, the festival continued with more dancing, drinking, and avocado eating of course. If your up for some end of summer fun, come on down to Carpinteria’s annual Avocado Festival.