Guac out this weekend
All avocado lovers know that the fruit can be found across a wide array of dishes, from appetizers, main course to even dessert. Those from Santa Barbara County, however, know that the fruit can also be found in the heart of Carpinteria’s community.
The 33rd annual California Avocado Festival kicked off Friday and will take place until Sunday in Carpinteria.
“We’re up and running,” said Michael Lazaro, who has planned the festival for three decades. “I was asked 30 years ago to plug a few extension cords, and I’m still plugging a few extension cords.”
Mr. Lazaro told the News-Press that Friday’s portion of the three-day festival caters more towards the locals.
“You got to owe it to the community that embraces the festival,” said Mr. Lazaro.
While the locals enjoy the festival’s eve, the town is preparing to receive a crowd that is predicted to number 80,000 over the course of the whole festival.
Mr. Lazaro himself is one of the locals. He’s lived in Carpinteria for 32 years.
Though he continues to plug extension cords here and there, the festival has changed in Mr. Lazaro’s eyes. It seems to have grown significantly since Mr. Lazaro came on board the events planning team.
“When I first started, we had one stage,” he said. This year, there will be four stages, which includes a youth-dedicated stage.
Eighty-seven acts are slated to play on these stages, and local talent — such as Stillwater Sound and RedFish — are among these acts.
“If these bands play well, show up on time, do the right thing, they have a chance to play at different stages” during future festivals, said Mr. Lazaro.
The stages are spread throughout the four blocks that the festival will stretch out on across Linden Avenue from 6th Street to Carpinteria Avenue.
“That’s always been our consistent footprint” with the beach and the railroad tracks, said Mr. Lazaro.
On this stretch on Linden Avenue, there will be more than 100 vendors present, ready to cater to the festival goers. Clothing, gardening items, sweets, artwork and jewelry are only some of the items that festival-goers will be able to take home.
And while those who love to shop will be entertained, there are activities for those with a bit more of a competitive spirit as well.
Folks can head over to the avocado-themed contests. Among these contests, there will be a chance to show off how long one can hold up a sack of avocados.
According to Mr. Lazaro, folks across different lines of work (yoga to construction) have participated in past competitions, where people hold up an eight pound sack of avocados perpendicular to their bodies. Most last for “way under five minutes,” said Mr. Lazaro with a laugh.
The festival is pet free, but pet owners should not fret. There will be a place located at the Torrey Pine, where pets will be looked after for free for up to two hours. Further details about the doggie daycare can be found at avofest.com/pets.