Avocado enthusiasts flocked to Carpinteria’s 25th annual Avocado Festival last weekend to celebrate and sample the local fruit in its many delectable forms.
The free event is one of California’s largest fruit-filled galas and attracted thousands of attendees over this year’s three-day span. The fiesta included over 60 musical performances, dozens of nonprofit and vender booths and numerous culinary contests featuring avocado-inspired dishes and desserts.
According to fourth-year communication major Mandy Keenan, the festival showcased the county’s diverse array of entertainment opportunities.
“I spend so much time in I.V., even though there is so much happening every weekend all over Santa Barbara,” Keenan
“It was nice to hang out with friends in a different setting, listen to good music and feel like I’m taking advantage of all that SB has to offer. The food was the best part … avocado ice cream, avocado bread and guac all day long.”
Santa Barbara County — the nation’s third-largest avocado producer — receives a significant portion of its crop from Carpinteria’s farmlands.
Avocado Festival Director Tina Fanucchi-Frontado said the venue educates attendees about the fruit-harvesting business.
“If you want to learn about the industry, it’s a fabulous place to do so and there are many opportunities for networking,” Fanucchi-Frontado said.
The event used biodiesel-powered equipment, remained Styrofoam-free and worked alongside local waste collection business E.J. Harrison and Sons to convert roughly 80 percent of its waste. This year’s festival also featured its first-ever Wine Grotto as well as a Kid’s Block Party with a bounce house, games and face-painting.
Corktree Cellars and Peebee & Jay owner Jessica Clark, whose company hosted the grotto, said it provided a stress-free philanthropic opportunity for engorged festival-goers.
“We will be donating 25 percent of proceeds back to the avocado festival from wine sales; we’re giving back to the community,” Clark said. “It’s kind of a quieter part of the festival. There’s a stage with more acoustic music. … It’s a mellow vibe.”