This weekend is the 20th Annual Avocado Festival!! hurray! and I am here for it! This little festival, which is expecting over 100,000 visitors this weekend, is the reason I decided to move to this town.
Last year, I flew out here from Baltimore to visit the school during orientation. I had planned on staying the weekend so I could explore a bit. Of course, I had to visit the beach. I stuck my foot in the water, brrrrr.... I asked a family that was fishing nearby whether the water was always this cold? No, they assured me...in August/September it gets to about 72F (they were wrong...) And then they told me that there was a festival going on in Carpinteria and that I should go (they were right!)
So, I came to Carpinteria, and was enchanted. It's a small town, with about 14,000 residents. The Avocado Festival is held each year in early October to celebrate the local culture and commerce...apparently, Carpinteria is a major producer of avocados!! I walked around last year, and visited different stalls and talked to people. Everyone was friendly, the sun was shining and I decided then that this is where I wanted to live.
To tell you a little bit about this lovely little town. We have two main streets running perpendicular to each other. We also have two grocery stores. Every Thursday, one of the main streets closes for the Farmer's Market. There is the TruValu, which carries quite a bit of things you might need for the house, from tools, hardware and paint, to bicycle pumps and patio sets!! They even have the old fashioned metal tricycles on sale!! (I thought about buying one for my nephew...but I don't think shipping it to Italy would be that easy...) There are several cafes, including Starbucks, but I would rather go to the locally owned ones, and other boutiques and small stores. Target, Home Depot, Walmart? Nope. If you want to go to one of these stores, you have to leave town. I'm glad about that. At times it might be inconvenient, but that's ok. I'll drive the 20 miles.
So, last night I walked down to the Festival with a neighbor. We browsed the stalls, I had a taco from a local restaurant. I learned the hard way not to ask them for the spicy sauce. My mouth burned for about 20 minutes afterward! My neighbor got a batch of guacamole and I had a taste. It was gooood (funny to say considering I have been vehemently anti-guac for most of my life. I must have had some nasty stuff the first time I tried it, but fresh, homemade guac..bring it on!!)
We listened to a local band, and I do mean local. Just some of the locals that get together and jam to some loungey stuff and crack jokes in between their songs. Then we saw another band on the main stage. The lead singer is Kenny Loggins' son...he walked by me at one point and holy crap! The boy looks just like his dad!!! Spittin' image!
I'm glad I went. I'll go again later today. I realize that lately I haven't been doing anything fun. I've just been concentrating on school so much that I'm starting to get in a rut...just work, work, work. Well, enough of that. I needed the break and what better than the Avocado Festival.