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California Lemon Festival in Goleta Squeezes Lots of Fun into 2-Day Citrus Celebration

Come back Sunday for Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce festivities that include sweet menu of lemony food, rides, activities and entertainment

The Phantom Pomps performed rockabilly at the California Lemon Festival in Goleta on Saturday. The 25th annual festival continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Girsh Park. Click to view larger
The Phantom Pomps performed rockabilly at the California Lemon Festival in Goleta on Saturday. The 25th annual festival continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Girsh Park. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Lemon enthusiasts flocked to Girsh Park on Saturday as the California Lemon Festival kicked off the 25th annual celebration of the yellow citrus fruit.

Marking Goleta’s status as a pre-eminent lemon-growing region during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the two-day festival took over the park with lemon-inspired foods and family-friendly activities and entertainment.

“The community spirit here is great,” said Michele Schneider, director of business development at the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the festival.

“It’s one of the biggest fundraisers for local businesses, nonprofit organizations and the chamber. It’s a lot of fun.”

Dressed in yellow T-shirts, more than 250 volunteers and thousands of locals filled the park to celebrate the lemon crops.

Kristen Miller, president and CEO of the Goleta Valley chamber, said the weekend event is one of the biggest celebrations in the area.

“The event celebrates the heritage of the lemon industry and community in Goleta,” she told Noozhawk. “It’s great to see the volunteers and people having a fantastic time.”

As Saturday’s temperatures climbed into the upper 80s, visitors lined up for fresh-squeezed lemonade, and the zesty mouthwatering pastries and lemon-flavored cotton candy were a sweet combination, Miller said.

Among the popular food booths were homemade lemon bars, pies and tarts prepared by Anna’s Marketplace Bakery and Bacara Resort & Spa.

When life gives Hollister Brewing Company lemons, it makes lemon-flavored beer.

Adults washed down their sweets with lemon ale made with American wheat beer brewed with the juice of 50 pounds of Goleta lemons and spiced with lemongrass and ginger.

This year, the “Lemon Lounge” was the newest addition to the event and featured a location for adults to play corn hole and sip on wine and beer.

The free festival includes many traditional street fair attractions, such as live music, arts and crafts boutique booths, and vendors.

The kids zone includes bounce houses, carnival rides, rock climbing, mini-golf and pony rides.

“This is a good family event and there’s something for everyone here,” said Dave Clark, president of Impulse Advanced Communications and the chamber’s board chairman. “It’s been a destination for people around town.”

Visitors on Saturday got an extra treat.

A collection of classic cars lined the grass adjacent to the festival site for the 11th Annual Goleta Fall Classic.

The festival continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Girsh Park, 7050 Phelps Road. Click here to buy activity wristbands for rides in advance for $20. Wristbands are also sold at the festival for $25.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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