Saturday was a beautiful day in Goleta, and thousands of people thronged Girsh Park for the 22nd annual California Lemon Festival. Quite a few of them could be found near the stage in the afternoon, waiting for one of the most popular activities, the pie-eating contest.
“It’s going great so far and the set-up is perfect,” said Kristen Miller, president and CEO of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the festival every year.
"The entertainment lineup for tomorrow (Sunday) is fantastic, too, and if you’ve never tried the bungee jumping, this is the year to do it!"
There is something for everyone at the festival, which continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the park, adjacent to Camino Real Marketplace.
Face painting, horseback riding, mini golf, bungee jumping, a climbing wall and a car show are just a few of the things to do. There is also a shopping area and a food row with all kinds of delightful treats, including the festival's signature lemon pie and lemonade.
“I love the lemon pie-eating contest and, of course, all the local groups that are performing," Miller said. "They are tremendous."
One of Saturday’s acts was the Young Singers Club. Nine-year-old Tessa Storr was one of the girls performing.
“I’m here with my group choir The Dynamics," she told Noozhawk. "It was really fun to be on the stage and I was not nervous at all. I also tried the bungee jumping."
Tessa came to the festival with her grandparents, Leslie and Brian Storr, who both enjoyed the show.
“Of course, as a grandmother I thought it was great," Leslie Storr said. "There were nine girls and they did a song with a dance routine, and everyone liked it.”
“I think the atmosphere of the festival is great,” her husband added. “I also really liked the performance from the Karate Kids that we watched earlier his morning.”
A big part of the Lemon Festival success are its many volunteers, ages 14 and up. The volunteers help plan the festival and work throughout the weekend.
“It’s fun to see friends and family and all the fun stuff that is going on here,” said Skylar Crombie, one of the volunteers. “There’re a lot of fun booths and I even saw an entire family completely dressed as pirates.”
Her friend, Gabi Powers, agreed.
“We’re having so much fun!" she said. "It’s nice to be able to give back to the community and do some community service. We were working at the pie booth earlier and it’s fun to meet all the people.”
Sunday’s lineup features performances from the Goleta Valley Junior High Mariners, 50 Below, Bad Jack, The Rave, Voice of Reason, The Rawhides and Eating Crayons. There will also be another pie-eating contest at noon.