Downtown Carpinteria's usually quiet Linden Avenue was booming Saturday as the 27th Annual California Avocado Festival painted the town green. Temperatures in the mid-80s certainly didn't hurt the lively atmosphere.
The festival has been dubbed one of the largest free street festivals in California, drawing crowds of 100,000 or more avocado-lovers to a weekend of live musical entertainment, family-friendly fun, artisan showcase and, of course, food.
While visitors may come for the food and entertainment, they stay for the homegrown feel to the entertainment. Much like the locally grown avocados sold by farms like Rancho Santa Cecilia, located in Carpinteria itself, the time and effort put into the weekend came from the whole community of Carpinteria.
Many local nonprofit organizations, such as the Carpinteria Rotary Club, Carpinteria High School and the Lion's Club, sponsored booths and local musicians and artists were always greeted with raucous applause from family and friends. Blocks away from Linden Avenue, many businesses were offering Avocado Festival specials, as well.
Along with showcasing local pride, the festival took to heart a strong commitment to going green, and not just from all the avocados. Not only did McConnell's serve avocado ice cream in biodegradable cups, the festival's partnership with E.J. Harrison & Sons resulted in a 100 percent Diversion Rate for the festival in 2012, meaning that 100 percent of waste materials overall were recycled, composted or reused. So you could say, we had our avocado and got to eat it, too.
The Avocado Festival continues Sunday with more live performances, food, additional appearances of the Largest Avocado in the Avocado Expo Tent, and the annual Best Guacamole Contest.