Preparing for the 22nd Annual Avocado Festival
Last updated 4/17/2008 at Noon
It is expected on Sunday, April 20, that close to 70,000 people will converge on Fallbrook’s main thoroughfare to celebrate the town’s favorite crop at the 22nd annual Avocado Festival.
Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, the festival is comprised of a massive street fair and several off-site venues.
Official Avocado Festival Chairperson George Archibald is greatly assisted by veteran event coordinator Carol Eastman in organizing and producing Fallbrook’s biggest event of the year.
Visitors will undoubtedly be drawn to the colorful, fresh avocados, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, cherimoyas, macadamia nuts, vegetables, herbs, flowers and plants offered in the Farmer’s Market area of the festival at Main and Alvarado. Local ranchers have started picking some of their crops for the big day.
Fresh guacamole with crispy tortilla chips for dipping will be available for purchase at three different booths featuring the award-winning Holy Guacamoly, thanks to the Bamber family.
Those keen to experiment will be pleased with the opportunity to try avocado ice cream offered by Cold Stone Creamery.
On an educational level, the California Avocado Commission will be on hand (on Alvarado Street) to share information about growing avocados and recipes for their use.
Fifty out of the 350 booths at the festival will offer a wide variety of tantalizing international foods, including Italian, Mexican, Chinese and Thai. In addition, the scent of roasted corn-on-the-cob will mingle with sizzling hamburgers, sausages and hot dogs on the barbecues.
Think the San Diego County Fair is the only place you can find deep-fried Twinkies? Think again. If you dare, you can try one at the festival.
The remainder of the booths will offer clothing, jewelry, arts and crafts and organizations and businesses offering information on their services. Talented artisans have reserved booths to display and sell hand-blown glass, pottery, wood carvings and other pieces of art.
Wine and beer tasting will be offered in the Village Square (corner of Main and Alvarado) by Fallbrook Connections Networking group. Proceeds from this will help support the popular Hot Summer Nites events the organization hosts. Seven wineries are expected to participate in sampling event.
For your musical enjoyment
Two refreshment areas, one in the Scrappy’s Tire & Auto Repair parking lot (346 South Main) and the other at Main and Ivy Street, will feature live bands and beer products at the festival.
New this year, in addition to the traditional Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Amber Bock served, a new product, Budweiser’s Chelada, will be offered to festival-goers. A combination of lager, Clamato, lime juice and salt, reviewers say it has a spicy tomato flavor similar to a Bloody Mary. Released six months ago, local Anheuser Busch distributor Markstein Beverage will provide the new beverage.
For non-beer drinkers, cold water will be available.
Salt Creek, a country rock band from Lake Elsinore, will perform at the Main and Ivy location. Formed by singer/songwriter Julie Ryan and bass player/songwriter Ray Agueros in 2005, Salt Creek is made up of talented musicians who bring unique sound and energy to their listeners.
It is reported that they blend a variety of genres, including southern rock, country and blues. The original music they play, from ballads to songs that rock, is said to be filled with passion and emotion.
The venue at Scrappy’s will feature Blue Zone, a classic rock and roll and blues band from North County. Blue Zone will perform at the Avocado Festival for their 13th consecutive year.
Together for more than 15 years, Ken Engle plays the guitar, harmonica and sings lead vocals. Hal Schmidt is the band’s keyboard player and backup singer. Chris Pritchard plays the lead guitar and his son, Eric, plays the drums. Bass guitarist James Hoskins adds his talent and vocal ability to round out the group. Enjoy popular songs from the ’60s through the ’90s from this band.
Just for the kids
• The ‘Avocado 500’: Each year, this ‘model’ car building event and race, using avocados as vehicles, is held for the enjoyment of children. This year it will be held on East Hawthorne Street (between Main and Vine) at 11 a.m.
Race #1 will be for ‘Modified Cars,’ which means kids are to bring their own avocado ‘race car’ that they have prepared at home. They can use their imagination to create wheels and decorative elements on the avocado. The only restriction is that the wheelbase of the ‘car’ cannot exceed eight inches.
Race #2 will be for ‘Stock Cars,’ which means kids can build their avocado ‘race car’ on site at the ‘pits.’ Avocados and wheels will be provided for the kids. The rest is up to them!
• Best Dressed Avocado Contest: Kids can take this opportunity to make a green, bumpy avocado into anything they want! They can dress it up any way they wish and have fun with their theme! They should bring their dressed-up avocado to East Hawthorne Street (between Vine and Main) by 10:30 a.m. and register for the contest. Judging begins at 11 a.m. Judges will be looking at originality, creativity and the use of materials.
All children’s events are free and prizes will be awarded to the winners. Children’s performances, some musical, will be offered at the Community Stage, which opens at 10 a.m. on festival day. Stroll by to see what local schoolchildren are learning and happy to share with festival-goers.
Food contests and
Contests for Best Tasting Guacamole and Most Creative Avocado Dish will be held at the festival, with categories for both amateurs and professionals.
The contests will take place at 9 a.m. on festival morning in the Controltec parking lot at 330 South Main.
The application deadline to compete was April 14, but you can always call the Chamber office at (760) 728-5845 to see if there are still open slots.
Special food demonstrations in how to use avocados creatively will take place at the same location.
Japanese Chef Yujiro Masuda of Sushi no Hanayoshi restaurant in Japan has committed to fly in for the third year in a row to prepare his famous California roll as an entry.
Yujiro started using avocado in sushi about five years ago. His customers have found the dish captivating and his fame has grown from it.
Local chef Faro Trupiano of Trupiano’s Italian Bistro and chef Hector Minon will also provide demonstrations using Fallbrook’s green gold. Culinary presentations will begin at 10 a.m. and continue hourly until 5 p.m.
• Packing house tour: Once again, Del Rey Avocado will open its doors to the public for educational purposes on how avocados are sorted, packaged and shipped to reach the consumer.
“This is very generous of Del Rey Avocado,” Carol Eastman, festival event coordinator, said. “They have been very supportive.”
Tours of Del Rey will include seeing avocados arrive, the weighing process, the operation of the elaborate conveyor system and viewing employees hand-sorting the avocados to remove any damaged fruit.
They will see the avocados sorted by size and hand-packed into boxes for shipping.
“It is an impressive operation and visitors are always awed at the efficiency and speed of the sorting and packing process,” Eastman said.
The packing house tours take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1260 South Main.
• The wild blue yonder: At the Fallbrook Airpark, 2141 South Mission Road, there will be a display of both antique and radio-controlled aircraft offered for viewing on Avocado Festival day.
With the fact that the Fallbrook Community Airpark sits atop a hill, visitors will enjoy the wonderful views of Mt. Palomar to the east, Camp Pendleton to the west, the San Luis Rey Valley to the south and downtown Fallbrook to the north.
From that vantage point, spectators can view avocado groves in various stages – tree growth and development, trees recently cut and grafted, trees re-growing after the grafting process and a grove of mature trees in full production.
• Appreciating the past: Visitors and Fallbrook residents will enjoy learning about the history of the Friendly Village at the Historical Society Museum, 280 Rockycrest Road, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the Avocado Festival.
On the grounds is a turn-of-the-century farmhouse which was owned by the first Civil War soldier to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. With displays of antique Ford cars, a Model T and a Model A, a tool collection and a visual history of US Highway 395, it is an educational adventure.
Learn about the first Fallbrook residents: Luiseño Indians, Spanish soldiers and settlers, Mexican ranchers and American homesteaders. View exhibits on early businesses, including two Fallbrook railroads, miniature replicas of 12 Fallbrook buildings primarily from the late 1800s and a history of Fallbrook’s groves and fruit production, from olives and apricots to lemons and avocados.
• Treasures from the Earth: From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors can browse the contents of the Gem & Mineral Society Museum at 123 West Alvarado Street.
This intriguing museum contains a fascinating collection of fossils, gems and minerals. A replica of a mastodon skull complete with tusks can be seen, as well as fossils of mastodon leg bones and a partial fossilized tusk.
Learn about lapidary, the cutting, polishing and sometimes engraving of gems or semiprecious stones. See samples of quartz from De Luz, tourmaline from Ramona and columbite from Pala.
Find out what avocado leaves looked like 10 million years ago and who ate avocados during the Ice Age.
A wide variety of minerals and jewelry are offered for sale in the museum’s gift shop. The Society will also offer a free service, identifying gems and minerals for those with questions.
Art that depicts avocados
For the second year, Art of the Avocado, sponsored by George and Gayle Bamber of Holy Guacamoly, will be a competition associated with the festival. On the day of the Avocado Festival, the art submitted for the competition will be on display at the Lace Apron, 118 North Main.
Where do we park?
Early in the day, the streets around the downtown area will fill rapidly with parked cars.
It is because of this that the Chamber of Commerce has arranged for festival parking in the lots at Fallbrook High School (South Mission Road at South Stage Coach Lane) and will be running a free shuttle service to ferry people between the various venue sites.
At the high school, the shuttle will collect and drop off people at the flagpole area. Visitors can enjoy the various venues in any order they wish. A limited amount of parking is available at some of the sites.
The free shuttle service operates between the venues with parking offered at Fallbrook High School. After 3 p.m., the shuttle will travel only between the street festival on Main and the high school.
The last shuttle will leave the festival area at 5:30.
Dogs must sit this one out
Don’t bring your dog, please. But if it is absolutely impossible to leave your canine at home, go directly to the area by the Gem & Mineral Society Museum (on Alvarado Street), where the Fallbrook Animal Sanctuary will offer a ‘park your puppy’ service for a nominal fee.
This is not to say the organizers don’t like dogs – they do – but County Health and Safety Code #114316 prohibits live animals from food preparation areas and enforcement officers will be on patrol.
Best of all, the Avocado Festival is a day of community and an opportunity to showcase all the best that is Fallbrook. Don’t forget your hat, sunscreen and walking shoes!
22nd Annual Avocado Festival schedule
9 a.m. Festival officially begins
9 a.m. Entertainment: kids’ area on Hawthorne and Main
9 a.m. Sheriff’s Station opens at 388 East Alvarado
9 a.m. CHP, Radio Club, Lost & Found open in the Wells Fargo parking lot
9 a.m. Agriculture Center opens on Alvarado
9 a.m. Paradise Chevrolet-Cadillac display at 414 South Main
9 a.m. Casino Pauma in 1st National Bank parking lot on Main
9 a.m. Gem & Mineral Society Museum opens at 123 West Alvarado
9 a.m. Avo Emporium opens: festival items on sale at Main and Alvarado
9 a.m. Culinary contests at Controltec at 330 South Main
10 a.m. South refreshment area opens at Scrappy’s
10 a.m. North refreshment area opens at Ivy and Main
10 a.m. Culinary demonstrations at Controltec at 330 South Main
10 a.m. Community Stage opens at Main and Hawthorne
10 a.m. Historical Society Museum opens at 260 Rockycrest Road [Shuttle stop and additional parking]
10 a.m. Shuttle service from high school to festival venues begins
11 a.m. Entertainment: Blue Zone at north refreshment area
11 a.m. Entertainment: Salt Creek at south refreshment area
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Packing house tour at Del Rey Avocado on South Mission [Shuttle stop]
11 a.m. Vintage aircraft display at Fallbrook Airpark [Shuttle stop]
11 a.m. Avo 500 Race at Hawthorne and Main
11 a.m. Best Decorated Avocado Contest at Hawthorne and Main
4:30 p.m. Refreshment areas close
5 p.m. Festival ends
The food court will be offered in the area from Ivy Street to Mission Road.