By Donna Polizzi
Described as the last best place on earth, or the last best stretch of undeveloped coastline in California, or the world’s safest beach, one thing all can agree on, is there are few small beach towns, on either coast, as quaint as the town of Carpinteria.
This little jewel in California’s crown, is only four and a half square miles, but packs a massive punch when it comes to community activism, economic diversity, and family oriented neighborhood charm. It serves as the gateway to Santa Barbara County if traveling north on the 101 out of Ventura. Split in half by the 101, the ocean side is mostly visitor serving commercial and beach accessible residential. The mountain side is quiet single family residential, agricultural open space, with some high tech dominated industrial business parkland.
This exquisite town of 15,000 has also been home to the world famous California Avocado Festival for the past 31 years. Avocados are Carpinteria’s top crop…and the festival celebrates the fruit in creative ways that will make even the most passionate avocado lover blush. Have you tasted avocado ice cream? If you attend the festival you most certainly will. The California Avocado Festival is held every year on the first weekend of October and runs from Friday 5pm through Sunday at 9pm. In between those days and times you will rub arms, legs, and shoulders, literally, with nearly 100,000 festival attendees from as far away as Denmark, China, and Israel. It really is world famous and for good reason.
The Avo fest, as it’s called by some of the locals, is a once a year local celebration and promotion of all that is Carpinteria…its schools, nonprofits, service clubs, and of course local businesses. If you are hungry, you’ll think you’ve died and went to the big feast in the sky because the local service clubs compete to outdo each other by serving up the most delicious tri-tip sandwiches, soft tacos, corn on the cob, and of course chips and guacamole. In fact, the local high school cheerleaders boast the largest vat of guacamole in the world. Paired with chips, and enjoyed with a cold beer while listening to live music, or browsing the hundreds of booths that line the main drag that connects the foothills to the ocean, you’ll realize that this is how you do a festival. If you attend once, you’ll be back again and again.