Avocado Festival

>> Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Did you know that when the Aztec ruler Montezuma presented a king's ransom to the Spanish explorer Cortez in 1519, he included avocados along with a booty of gold, silver, and priceless gems? The inhabitants of Carpenteria celebrate this history every year with a loony event completely centered around the "alligator pear." In fact, if you mention any other fruit or vegetable at this annual October event, you will be gutted, smashed and included in the World's Largest Bowl of Guacamole.
Over 2000 avocados are used to create this phenomenon that feeds a crowd of 12,000 hungry folks. Started in 1987 because Santa Barbara County is the third largest avocado producer in the country (Carpinteria being a major contributor), the Avocado Festival is free for all to enter. Besides lots of chips and dip, visitors can partake in some friendly "avo-tivities."
Of course there's a competition for the best guacamole and various other recipes (ice cream and brownies, but don't eat the face scrub). Did you know putting an avocado in a paper bag will speed the ripening process? But the big crowd-pleaser is the Best Dressed Avocado, an idea undoubtedly stolen from the creators of Mr. Potato Head. Do I smell a lawsuit in the making? There's also a photography contest and pop art show, where anything avocado goes. Holy guacamole!


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