What's green, bumpy and totally delicious? Avocados, of course!
And here in Santa Barbara, we're lucky enough to boast acres upon acres of avocado groves.
So it shouldn't be too surprising that the California Avocado Festival – affectionately known as "Avofest" – takes place in nearby Carpinteria each year.
Celebrate California's favorite fruit at this fun, free festival in sunny Caprinteria — Photo courtesy of California Avocado Festival
Avofest is a three-day-long celebration that occurs during the first weekend in October every year. The festival runs through the center of town, closing the main avenue and several side streets.
Admission to Avofest is free. Previous years have seen more than 100,000 attendees, making it one of the largest free celebrations in the state!
Avofest has something to do for the whole family. There's a children's venue, commercial marketplace and arts and crafts area. Four stages spread throughout the festival site host live bands all weekend long.
And you can learn a little bit about avocado farming in the AvoExpo tent, home to historical photos, lessons in avocado grafting, restored antique tractors and the largest avocado contest. You can even bring home your own avocado tree.
The Avofest motto is "Peace, Love and Guacamole," and boy do they mean it! During the festival, you can check out the world's largest vat of guacamole (Be careful not to drool into it!) and sample avocado-based foods from dozens of vendors. The avocado ice cream is a local favorite!
Feeling creative? Enter the best guacamole contest for a chance to win fame and fortune (or maybe a free T-shirt).
Holy guacamole! Those are some mighty large avocados — Photo courtesy of California Avocado Festival
Avofest isn't just a fun event, though; it's a feel-good one, too. In addition to being a zero-waste celebration, all tips collected during the festival are combined into a scholarship fund that helps local high school students attend college.
If you're feeling generous, know that your money is going toward a great cause in the local community.
The California Avocado Festival will be up and running this year from Friday, Oct. 2, to Sunday, Oct. 4. Hours are Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
There are multiple free parking lots, but spaces fill up quickly. Come early for the best spot, or else be prepared to walk.