Featuring live music, contests and the world’s largest vat of guacamole, the 22nd annual California Avocado Festival is expected to attract large crowds of produce enthusiasts this weekend.

The festival, which will take place Oct. 3 to 5 in downtown Carpinteria, will honor Santa Barbara County’s distinction as the third-largest avocado producer in North America. The weekend’s events include live music from over 60 bands and an arts and crafts venue with 70 participating vendors.

On Sunday, a “Best Guacamole Contest” and “Avocado Auction” will take place on the Avocado Performing Stage on 8th Street. Other competitions include the “Largest Avocado Contest” and the “Best Dressed Avocado Contest.” The festival also offers a chance for attendees to share and sample many avocado recipes.

Community leaders first developed the Avocado Festival in 1986 with the intention of creating an event that would promote the fundraising efforts of local non-profit groups. This year, over 40 non-profit organizations will benefit from the festival, which is expected to draw 100,000 visitors to the area.

The event will take place on Linden Avenue on Friday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A Park & Ride Shuttle Service will be available at Carpinteria High School on Foothill Road and Canalino Elementary School on Linden Avenue.

–Staff Report