Last updated 4/26/2007 at Noon
It was Fallbrook’s annual party and everyone was invited. A fair-like aura pervaded in the high-energy bustle of the day. There were more bands this year – I counted three. The weather was just perfect: no rain, but overcast enough to make it comfortable. Sheriff’s volunteers and deputies kept everything under control and the 21st Annual Fallbrook Avocado Festival was deemed a success.
The festival, held on Sunday, April 22, drew crowds to downtown Fallbrook, which was transformed into a lively street fair. If visitors were able to make their way past the tantalizing smell of funnel cakes or the inviting Thai or tri-tip barbeque, they found an eclectic array of items.
The practical and the creative were lined up side by side. From staid trunk organizers to twirling wind chimes, merchants and artists displayed their wares in every price range. Festival visitors could buy one-dollar geodes, three-dollar hair clips and one-hundred-dollar paintings.
Booths pushed up both ends of Main with food tents intermingled with merchant tents. A variety of foods to please a variety of palates was evidenced by the tantalizing scents wafting up the street! What was tantalizing was surely subjective, but some delectable scents joined with some that were just plain interesting.
Holy Guaca-Moly was on the scene again with their multi-award-winning guacamole. A hand-lettered sign in front of the booth proclaimed their newest accomplishment: Avocado Festival Best Guacamole 2007!
Avocado ice cream was the talk of the town at the festival, and Cold Stone Creamery passed out over a thousand samples of their own recipe. They ran out in the middle of the day and had to call back to the store for more. The ice cream was creamy and rich with a slight avocado taste – just enough to know you were eating avocado ice cream, but not overwhelming. If you missed it on Sunday, visit the store on Main and you will be able to buy as much as you want!
Children whirled on carnival rides and climbed Moore’s Mountain. An intrepid climber named Travis Johnson was on his way to conquering the mountain coached from below by his dad.
Amid the musical notes from the various bands came a defiant sound that at first appeared out of sync with the festival mood. However, at closer inspection the periodic cracks proved to be the sound of geodes splitting.
The Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society was selling geodes, which could be halved with a pipe splitter. It took two burly men to operate the machine. Here was the procedure: take your chance, buy a geode, then discover the treasure inside. Sometimes the treasure was valuable and sometimes it wasn’t. Since all geodes look about the same on the outside, it is always an adventure.
One fortunate man got a geode with a beautiful white silicate center, while one person who only got a small center of colorful stone wasn’t disappointed, commenting, “Oh, that’ll look good in my garden!” Inquisitive people, who were probably lured by the cracking noise, lined up to take a chance on a geode.
Several local churches sponsored booths. St. Peter’s Catholic Church Scout Troop sold soft drinks for only a dollar. The Fallbrook Apostolic Church did their best to contribute to the tantalizing scents with their wonderful carne asada burritos and tacos.
North Coast Church had an information booth and Christ The King Lutheran Church offered colorful African handicrafts. Beautiful necklaces fashioned from natural items took their places next to rainbow beaded candleholders. African women who are raising their grandchildren because their own children have died of AIDS made the items. The profits are not directed toward the church but are intended to benefit needy Africans. The church is sponsoring eighteen short-term missionaries who will travel to Kenya this summer.
At about five o’clock the bustle of the day began to subside and people toting odd-sized bundles of plants, umbrellas and boxes of avocados headed toward their cars parked on the street or in more creative parking spaces, including empty lots and front yards. The last of the tents came down, leaving a stray cup or two rattling on the asphalt. The rain came, but too late to spoil what was yet another successful celebration of Fallbrook’s own fruit – the avocado.