On Sunday, April 13, Main Avenue will undergo a transformation that happens only once each year, with an expected 70,000 plus visitors streaming up and down the thoroughfare to experience the 28th annual Avocado Festival, sponsored each year by the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This year’s event looks to be as popular as ever. “Over 450 vendors are signed up and we have a great cross-selection of crafts and more,” said chamber CEO Lila MacDonald.
There are some local organizations and businesses amongst the vendors. “Our Avenue of the Arts features the work by many local artists,” said MacDonald. “The Fallbrook Football Boosters sell avocado packs every year; our Fallbrook Vintage Car Club has a mini car show at the festival; packing houses like Del Rey and McDaniel’s are involved, as well as many others.
For those who enjoy the festival each year, new “avocado” items always catch the eye.
“There will be avocado oil soaps, body oil, and lotions; avocado artwork, avocado honey, and avocado beer,” explained MacDonald. “Of course, there will also be guacamole and I believe avocado gelato. Each of these vendors will be identified with a banner that says “Stop for Avocado Products.”
Live music is also on tap. “There will be four live bands,” said MacDonald, adding they would be located in these spots: Avenue of the Arts, the beer garden (at Scrappy’s Tire, 346 S. Main Ave.), and two at the community stage, which this year will be at Main and Elder (the Elder House property).
Contests are always part of the fun at the Avocado Festival. While in recent years contest locations have been at the “community stage” across from Mission Theater, the stage will now be located at the Elder House, corner of Main and Elder.
Guacamole-bragging rights will again be up for grabs this year. Sue Shimer, chair of the event confirmed, “we will have both amateur and professional categories in the contest again this year.” Those wishing to enter the contest need to deliver one pint of their special recipe at 12:45 p.m. the day of the festival (no earlier as there is no refrigeration available). Chips will be provided.
“The judging will begin at 1 p.m. and the winners will be announced at 1:30,” said Shimer. “The entry form can be downloaded from the chamber website or picked up at the chamber office in advance.”
First and second-place prizes are awarded for both best tasting and best presentation.
Making race cars out of avocados and competing to see which one is fastest, is all part of the (free) fun at the Avo 500, coordinated by volunteer Gordon Stone. This event will take place at the community stage area at the Elder House, corner of Main and Elder.
Check-in time to make an avocado race car (free) is 11 a.m., with the race time at noon. Children can also bring their own “avocado race car.” Prizes will be awarded to the winners.
Best Dressed Avocado
Elementary school age children can deliver their “best dressed avocado” in whatever theme they would like for this year’s contest, also held at the Elder House. Chamber volunteer Helen Archibald coordinates the event. Check-in time is between 10 and 10:50 a.m. and judging is at 11.
Judging is based on originality, creativity, and use of materials. Prizes are awarded to the winners.
Little Miss & Mister Avocado
Boys and girls ages 6 to 10 who would like a chance to be Fallbrook royalty can enter the Miss & Mister Avocado contest, which will also be held at the community stage at the Elder House. Registration for the competition will be held from 10 to 10:50 a.m. with the event at 11. This year’s contest is being organized by Christiana Monarez (a former Miss Fallbrook) and the newly-crowned 2014 Miss Fallbrook court will be assisting.
This year, the Fallbrook Airpark has elected not to hold its annual Open House on the day of the Avocado Festival, due to parking problems, however other off-site attractions are still on the schedule.
The Fallbrook Historical Society will have its compound of museums open for visitors at the corner of Rocky Crest Drive and Hill Street (Rocky Crest is accessible off South Mission Road).
The Fallbrook Gem & Mineral Society will also have its museum open for visitors at 123 W. Alvarado Street (one block off where it intersects with Main Ave.)
A kid’s carnival operation will be set up in the parking lot of Joe’s Hardware, 640 S. Main Ave. (corner of Fallbrook Street).
This year’s festival looks to be as promising as ever, with a wide variety of goods and entertainment.
“I was 16 when George (Archibald), Carol (Eastman) and my mom (Dianna Branche Hallock) put on the first Avocado Festival, and George still jokes that there wasn’t an avocado in sight (it was in October). They moved it to April, and over the years more avocado products have been added as well as local food vendors, talent, and artists.”
And it’s tradition that keeps the chamber producing one of Southern California’s most popular agricultural-themed events.
“I am so excited to see the community collaboration that goes into this; it is such a huge event, it really takes a village to accomplish it,” said MacDonald.
For more information on the Avocado Festival, visit www.fallbrookchamberofcommerce.org.