Pie-eating contest at the Goleta Lemon Festival.
This weekend’s Goleta Lemon Festival will include a pie-eating contest. (Courtesy photo)

Goleta’s crown jewel of festivals is returning this weekend.

After a two-year absence, the Goleta Lemon Festival will take over Girsh Park on Saturday and Sunday.

“We are excited that the festival is back on after a two-year hiatus due to COVID,” said Mary Lynn Harms-Romo, director of communication for the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce. “Attendees can expect a beautiful, sunny day at Girsh Park with live performances, a classic car show on Saturday, and games, rides and activities for the whole family.”

The chamber is hosting the event, which is presented by Rusty’s Pizza.

The Goleta Lemon Festival will host more than 80-plus booths featuring local nonprofit organizations, lemony foods and beverages, lemon accessories, hats and souvenirs.

The event celebrates Goleta’s history of lemon harvesting. It began as a small street festival in 1949 celebrating Goleta’s agricultural roots and has grown to attract more than 40,000 residents, visitors, community leaders, nonprofit organizations and elected officials celebrating the South Coast and Goleta community, according to a news release. The first commercial planting of lemon trees in California was in 1875.

Lemonade, lemon tacos and lemon cotton candy will be available at the Food Court. The Lemon Lounge will offer lemon ale and local wines.

The festival also will feature live entertainment including rock, country, blues, R&B and more. The headliner is Area 51.

In addition, patrons can buy a wristband for endless rides and games, including archery tag, inflatable bubbles, and obstacles at the Santa Barbara Airport Kids Zone. People can pre-purchase activity wristbands for a $5 savings.

On Saturday, the festival will feature the 15th annual Goleta Fall Classic Car Show, presented by The Point Market, showcasing classic cars, ranging from Corvettes and Camaros to trucks and pickups along with motorcycles and bicycles.

The Goleta Lemon Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. 

Goleta City Councilman James Kyriaco is a regular at the event. He will be one of the judge’s for the pie-eating contest. 

“The Lemon Festival has a rich tradition in Goleta that has brought joy to residents and visitors alike at Stow House, and now at Girsh Park,” Kyriaco said. “I look forward to seeing everyone this weekend.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at jmolina@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.