As autumn once again approaches, we welcome pumpkin spice and fall flavors to our daily lives but, unfortunately, say goodbye to the fresh fruits of summer. To celebrate the change of seasons, Goleta decided to once again celebrate with the 28th annual Goleta Lemon Festival this past weekend.
The festivities began on Saturday, Sept. 28, which drew in a crowd of over 250 people to Girsh Park next to the Camino Real Marketplace. This reporter attended the second day of the festival and had, quite honestly, a mixed experience.
The festival, though free for all visitors, held more boutique stands and place centers than food stalls. Of the food stalls available, less than half of them catered to the theme of the festival.
Of the few lemon-themed items, only a small selection peaked interest. I began with the lemon-flavored churros, priced at $5 per churro, which had a surprisingly sour note upon first bite. The churros themselves had a perfectly crispy outside and a warm bready center, but this was overpowered by the lemon sugar dust covering it, which began sour then slowly morphed into a sweet candy coating.
Next was the all-too-important lemon cotton candy, a personal favorite. This billowy delight had the perfect mix of cotton candy sweetness, with just a hint of lemon. The only downside to the cotton candy is that it began to quickly unravel in the windy weather. For $3 a cone, this treat was a fun festival highlight.
The final treats of this day were the lemon meringue pie and lemonade. The pie, which was priced at $4 a slice or $15 for a whole pie, made the festival worthwhile. With an immaculately perfect whipped and toasted topping that elevated the saccharine lemon curd, this pie was well worth the wait in line.
The lemonade, however, left much to be desired. For $5 for a large, the lemonade was more watery than expected. The strawberry variant, which consisted of only a handful of cut-up strawberries in the original for a dollar more, had the same watered-down taste.
The 28th annual Goleta Lemon Festival had its triumphs but seemed to be more of a festival to celebrate Goleta than the lemons it produces.