We love a festival.
We really love a festival dedicated to food.
Through the years we have learned that October is the king of the calendar when it comes to these feasting fiestas. So we sniffed around and found the Woodstock of avocados where 3 Days of Peace, Love, and Guacamole took over Carpinteria, California.
Harvest time has called for a celebration since humans first started planting seeds millennia ago, and while avocados may not have been one of those crops way back when, they certainly are now. This town has taken to seriously celebrating that change.
As the official fruit of the State, the alligator pear, butter fruit, or cheese pear as it is known in various far-flung corners of the globe, takes center stage in the Avocado Exposition tent at the entrance to the grounds, making this the obvious place to begin.
Veronica was feeling the love, so she had a quick kiss for the mascot before we stepped inside to learn almost all anyone could ever want to know about the awesome avocado.
In fact, by 1935 Californians were consuming more than two pounds per person and even though Florida and Hawai’i began growing them earlier, California now produces about 90% of the nation’s crop.
The tent also gave us a chance to get our hands on a giant specimen. Each year the festival hosts the Largest Avocado Contest, and while we didn’t get to hold the four and a half pound winner, that big boy gets auctioned off at the end of the competition, a three plus pounder weighing in as runner up was impressive enough.
Armed with a new arsenal of avocado information, it was time to hit the midway to taste the star of the show. The headliner appeared in all kinds of interesting culinary inventions.
It’s not every day that we get to see the world’s largest anything, so first stop was the planet’s biggest vat of… holy guacamole that’s one big tub of dip!
Unfortunately, not quite large enough, since by the time we got there it was almost empty.
No problem, we were happy to indulge in something a little more substantial anyway, and the “World Famous Tri-tip & Avocado Sandwiches” certainly looked to fill the bill.
Even though the avocado wasn’t the center piece of the dish, this was one groovy grinder.
Delectable as it was, what is a festival if not a chance to let our hair down and try something we may never see again? So we decided to let our freak flag fly and go for some avocado ice cream.
Pleasantly surprising might be the best way to describe it. The creamy consistency of the avocado worked very much in its favor and the end result was a refreshment that hit the spot on a warm autumn afternoon.
Several other delicacies were on hand, deep fried avocado, avocado brownies, and even an avocado chocolate truffle, but we simply couldn’t try them all.
Our frozen treat had us thinking beach, and Carpinteria has a gorgeous one, so we walked a few blocks from the festival for a look.
On our way back, we stopped off near the shore at the Island Brewing Company. The award-winning craft beer microbrewery caught our attention with a poster proclaiming Avocado Honey Ale.
No way we could pass that up and, like the ice cream, the smooth flavor of the avocado blended splendidly with the bee and brew combination.
In keeping with the festival’s Woodstock-esque theme, music plays a huge part in the festivities. In fact the fest bill itself as “one of the largest FREE festivals in California with over 75 music acts on FOUR stages. “
As with the food, we couldn’t catch them all but our, and from what we could tell the crowd’s, favorite was the Beatles tribute band Sgt. Pepper.
These mop-top mimics didn’t try to copy the look or imitate the personalities of the fab four, but they were right on with the music.
They had everybody singing along with the classic songs and happily reveling in the rock, or should we say guac-n-roll.
Yes, we should.
Long live Guac-n-Roll!
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com