Thousands of people filled downtown Carpinteria on Saturday for a smashing time at the California Avocado Festival, featuring more than 60 bands, dozens of arts and crafts, food, commercial vendors and — of course — avocados galore.
With three stages, about 50 vendors, and contests, the California Avocado Festival is promoted as one of the largest free festivals in the state.
Vendors sold clothing, jewelry, pins, stuffed animals and many more avocado-themed items. Meanwhile, food options included chips and guacamole, deep fried avocados, avocado chocolate truffles, tri-tip and avocado sandwiches, avocado ice cream and more.
May Mac, who has been selling handmade wooden gifts — such as pins, magnets and coasters — with Wood Be Remembered during the past few years at the festival, said last year was much slower as the first festival since the COVID-19 pandemic, but was hoping this year would be better.
“Last year, we made almost half the amount we usually do,” Mac said. “Things are hopefully getting back to normal this year.”
Contests at the festival this year include Saturday’s strong arm contest — in which participants see who can hold a 10-pound bag of avocados the longest — and the guacamole contest, scheduled for noon Sunday in the Grotto Tent on Eighth Street. Guacamole entered in the guacamole contest will be judged on presentation, taste and texture.
Along with the vendors and music, the California Avocado Festival also featured a Ferris wheel, face painting, and a tent with information and the history of avocados. Fresh, local avocados also were available for sale at the festival.
“I love it. I come here every year,” said Roberta Martin of Long Beach, who said she has been coming to Carpinteria for the festival for about 15 years. “I wouldn’t miss it.”
The California Avocado Festival will continue from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday on Linden Avenue between Carpinteria Avenue and Sixth Street.