This weekend, Girsh Park in Goleta welcomed the 25th annual California Lemon Festival. Despite its name, the event featured little in the way of lemon-related treats. The event instead featured a assorted food vendors, various booths, live entertainment and even a classic car show!
The event was huge, sprawling across the grass to accommodate all there was to offer. Entering through the side, my friend and I admired the classic cars on display before wandering into the festival itself. There were booths set up all around, most of which resembled something straight out of a flea market. There were tents completely dedicated to handmade jewelry, others offering nothing but boho-inspired skirts and dresses. And, of course, there were booths selling lemons and merchandise for the festival. With little in the way of cash, I barely spared these items a peek (other than a tempting Snow White apron) before moving on.
I was captivated by the sheer amount of activities available, such as rock climbing, euro bungee, obstacle courses, knocker balls and a hell of a lot more. My inner child longed to go in the bouncy house and ride around in the miniature jeeps. I contemplated buying a wristband for the human hamster balls that some kids were rolling around in on the water.
But of course, being there for the Lemon Festival, we set out in search of some lemon. Following the smell of food, we reached the other side of the festival where the various food vendors were set up. A look around the tents revealed an interesting assortment: Woodstock’s Pizza, lemon pies and tarts, lemonade (both frozen and regular), beer, Nothing Bundt Cakes, popcorn, quesadillas, fries, cotton candy and even barbecue. The air smelled of steak and ribs, something I was not the least bit bothered by. Knowing there was no way we could go to a festival entirely centered around lemons and not get lemonade, we bypassed everything and chose to go for that first. It was some of the best lemonade either of us had ever tasted; my extremely delicate sweet tooth appreciated the subtle sweetness of it. It was perfectly tart and refreshing, a combination to be respected in the lingering summer heat.
Thirst quenched, we proceeded to seek out some food. Not quite hungry enough for anything substantial, we chose instead to try out one of the lemon treats. Noting the Nothing Bundt Cakes tent, and having expressed a craving for cake on the way in, we chose to try out the bundtinis in every flavor. We passed by the chocolate, red velvet and raspberry, deciding to go straight for the lemon. Everything about it was delicious, and it was so soft it practically melted in my mouth. It was incredibly light, perfectly complemented by the lemon frosting that topped it. Best of all, it was in no way sickeningly sweet in a way that might completely overwhelm your mouth. It was by far the highlight of our day.
And of course we had to take a photo with the wooden stand-in on the way out the door. After all, no photo is quite as memorable as one in which you are posing as giant lemons.
All-in-all, the festival was amazing and is definitely on my list of things to do next year (although hopefully with a bit more cash).