Local Festival Honors Cultural History of Lemons



The 21st annual California Lemon Festival will take place this weekend in Girsh Park, celebrating the community, local businesses and all things lemon with entertainment for all ages.

Hosted by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, the event is held to acknowledge the historic importance that growing and harvesting lemons has had to Goleta’s livelihood and provide a venue for interactions between the city’s citizens, vendors and businesses. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, the event will offer a range of family-oriented activities such as live music, games, pie-eating and a car show.

According to Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kristen Miller, the festivities will appeal to the tastes of the UCSB and Isla Vista community.

“This is really the only festival in the year where we as a community get to come together to celebrate our local organizations and share our message,” Miller said. “Lemons, at one time, were a major part of the local economy and this festival shows our area’s current local businesses and vibrant history. For students, come for the music, buy some awesome food and pick an activity — there will be a number [of activities] here college-age students will enjoy.”

Camino Real Marketplace property manager Mark Ingalls said the shopping center is proud to support the event, and expects a large turnout.

“We look forward to helping facilitate the event. It is a great community event that is good for Goleta and we are committed to helping it. It has been going on for a number of years now and we have been happy to help it succeed,” Ingalls said. “I think there will be around 25,000 people attending per day.”

Lisa Rivas, Community Relations Manager of corporate sponsor Venoco Inc., said the variety of activities will accommodate the interests of attendees of all ages.

“The Lemon Festival is a celebration of our local community, culture and history.” Rivas said. “It offers individuals different things to do; whether I come with my kids or not, I can find different things that are entertaining for me and for them. Many of my neighbors come to listen to the bands – there is a good variety.”

Fourth-year history major Travis Spalding said the lemon festival has never proved to be a disappointment.

“I have never had a sour time at the Lemon Festival,” Spalding said. “The pie-eating contest is insane. It is a fat race to see how much deliciousness you can cram down your pie hole in 30 seconds. It is a shot to the heart of lemon meringue.”

Miller said the myriad of entertainment options are designed to make the day as enjoyable as possible for festival goers.

“There is going to be a car show, demonstrations by local emergency response teams of equipment like the jaws of life, lemon cotton candy … and a lot of live music,” Miller said. “I would say it is mostly all about the fun.”

For a full list of scheduled events go to http://www.lemonfestival.com/.

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