Twelve years ago, Fallbrook residents George and Gayle Bamber created the non-juried Art of the Avocado competition to coincide with the Avocado Festival each April.
Guidelines for the contest are simple: Everyone is eligible to participate. Entries can be submitted in any artistic medium and the only restriction is that the viewer can actually “see” an avocado somewhere in the work.
While known for their Holy Guaca-Moly, George was a retired marketing director as well as a writer and artist. Gayle, also an artist, is known for her work with glass. The first few years of the contest, the Bambers provided the prize money.
At the time, George said, “I wanted to make prizes available to recognize artistic efforts. I know personally how hard it is to make a living as an artist, and I thought this would be one small way to recognize our local artisans.”
The Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce sponsored the contest for several years, then in 2014, Merrill Everett and Fallbrook Propane took over sponsorship. Everett was also an artist who specialized in glass work.
This year, George Bamber died in January and Merrill Everett died in March. So, the 12th annual Art of the Avocado competition was held in their memory. A total of 63 artists submitted entries, 54 in the 2-Dimensional category, seven in 3-D, and two in photography.
The works of avocado art can be seen at Brandon Gallery through April 29; guests can cast ballots for the People’s Choice award until 4 p.m. the day of the festival, April 23. The winner will be announced that evening.