Despite the misty weather, hundreds celebrated Goleta’s 19th annual California Lemon Festival at Girsh Park this weekend.
The festival boasted a wide array of lemon-related products, ranging from lemon beer to lemon-inspired artwork created by local preschoolers. Citrus goods were not the only incentive for people to attend the event this year, as the celebration offered games, live music, bungee-jumping and other attractions.
Nearly 200 vehicles were on display at the Classic Car Show and “Safety Street” allowed attendees to mingle with county law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics to learn about safety and fire-prevention.
Sylvia Redding, a festival coordinator, explained that increased attendance in past years forced the event to move from its previous location at Stow Ranch to the Girsh parking lot. This move has, in turn, attracted more attendees across the age spectrum.
“Because we’re on asphalt instead of grass, parents can bring their children in strollers, and seniors can come in power-chairs or can be pushed by family members in their wheelchairs,” she said.
A number of festival-goers who have attended in previous years, such as UCSB alum and second-time festival attendee Matt McCanless, said that this year’s festival seemed even more child-friendly than in past years.
“There’s more kids and more stuff for them to do,” McCanless said. “I wish I was a kid.”
Although families dominated the event, UCSB and Santa Barbara City College students could also be found sampling the lemon brews and desserts. Pat Merna, director of business development for the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, estimated that 10 to 20 percent of the attendees were college students.
“We came for the food,” Katie William, a fifth-year theater major, said.
However, the poor weather did affect the festival. Jim Bryant, a long-time Santa Barbara resident who was displaying his friend’s 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air at the Classic Car Show, said that there were fewer cars at the show this year than last year. He said many classic car owners avoid bringing their vehicles out in wet weather.
Furthermore, one of the bands scheduled to play on Sunday morning canceled due to the cold and haze.
Nevertheless, Merna said the festival was a success.
“Considering the weather, the turnout was awesome,” Merna said.
According to Redding, festival organizers are already planning the 20th anniversary of the festival.
“We obviously try to get bigger every year, but we really want to have a celebration next year,” Redding said.