When downtown Fallbrook erupts with excitement on Sunday, April 21 for the 2013 Avocado Festival, it will mark the 27th consecutive year of the event that heralds the green gold as king and the sponsoring entity, the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce, expects a healthy attendance.
“We expect to draw about 70,000 people again this year,” said Richard Kennedy, CEO. The event, Kennedy said, is very beneficial to the community.
“Local businesses that are open on that Sunday, particularly the downtown businesses, increase their sales dramatically due to the number of people here,” he explained. “Many have said their best day of the year is always the day of the Avocado Festival.”
Kennedy said it is typical for festival day to generate over $1.5 million in revenue (booths and existing stores).
“We encourage our local businesses to stay open,” said Kennedy. “We think it’s a good deal; where else can you get 70,000 people in one day?”
As a result of booth space rentals for the festival, the chamber typically collects between $40,000 and $50,000, Kennedy said, adding that the revenue is put back into the community.
“That money is put into a lot of our programs, such as the Christmas Parade, and other things that benefit both chamber members and the community,” said Kennedy. “It also provides operating funds for the chamber to sustain business promotion.”
The average booth space at the festival is between $250 and $300, with prices dependent on positioning and whether electrical or other hookups are needed. Non-profit organizations receive space for a significant discount.
Booths contain a virtual rainbow of offerings – including clothing, crafts, jewelry, hats, food items, artwork, home décor, signs, avocado-related items of all types, and a plethora of information on businesses and non-profit organizations. A farmer’s market area is plentiful with fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other consumables.
The festival will be structured this year very similar to those in years past, with a couple of changes.
Where the festival featured two refreshment (beer) gardens in the past, this year they will be consolidated into one and it will be the one closer to the southern end of the Main Ave. venue, at Scrappy’s Tire. And only those age 21 and over will be allowed in the beer-drinking area, compared to in the past when adults were able to have minors sit with them.
“Beer sales have been going down over the years as the event is going more and more family-oriented; we were actually losing money at the beer garden on the north end (at Vine),” said Kennedy. “In addition, we aren’t here to provide people with a beer fest, we are here to promote avocados, things associated with that, and Fallbrook in general.”
The popular band Blue Zone will perform throughout the day at the beer garden.
At Main and Vine, in lieu of the other beer garden, Univision has rented a large amount of space.
“Univision has expanded this year and will have booths and a stage area for Hispanic performances,” said Kennedy. “It works out really nice to have them there and it’s a better financial situation for the chamber.”
Food booths will be plentiful, as always, at the festival. Food vendors have been grouped into four primary locations to provide choice for those looking for a variety of tastes. The food courts will be located along Main Ave. at Hawthorne (east side), Alvarado (west side), and Fig (both east and west sides) with tables set up nearby for visitors to get off their feet while they eat.
Gaining in popularity is the Avenue of the Arts, sponsored by Fallbrook Arts Inc., which can be found on Alvarado Street, just west of Main. Numerous art-related booths, art endeavors, and interesting opportunities await visitors.
The chamber will have two free shuttles operating on two different circuits on festival day to help alleviate parking concerns. The shuttles are anticipated to run every 30 minutes.
The shuttle serving the south end of town will pick up and drop off at Main Ave. and Fallbrook Street (near Denny’s) and include stops at Northgate Market, the Fallbrook Historical Society, Fallbrook Community Airpark, and Fallbrook High School.
The north shuttle will pick up and drop off near El Toro Market (N. Main Ave. and E. Mission Rd.) and have stops on Heald Lane by the Fallbrook Community Center and Frazier Elementary School.
The festival’s traditional, fun contests will return again this year.
A Guacamole Contest is open to both amateurs and professionals with first and second place designations given for both taste and presentation. (Register in advance at
Boys and girls ages 4 to 10 can participate in the “Little Miss” or “Little Mister” Avocado contest for a chance to win prizes. Registration will be conducted between 10 and 10:45 a.m. festival morning in the CAST parking lot at 220 N. Main Ave. judging begins at 11 a.m. Entry fee is $5/each.
The Best Decorated Avocado contest is open to school age children and entries must arrive by 10:30 a.m. that day to the CAST parking lot. Judging will be done at 11 a.m. and winners will be determined in the following categories: originality, creativity, and use of materials. Prizes will be given to the winners.
The Avocado 500 race is also open to school age children. Kids should check-in at 11 a.m. as racing begins at 11:30. Race 1 (Modified Cars) is for kids who want to bring their own, high-tech, aerodynamic avocado racer with its own wheels, equipment, etc. Wheelbase cannot exceed 8 inches. Race 2 (Stock Cars) provides kids with an opportunity to construct an avocado race car on the spot – wheels and avocados will be provided. The races are conducted in the CAST parking lot.
The entries in the Art of the Avocado competition will be on display at Brandon Gallery, 105 N. Main Ave.
At the Community Stage, located in the CAST parking lot (220 S. Main) live performances and demonstrations will take place throughout the day.
A sample of the entertainment schedule includes:
9:30 a.m. – Flamenco with Roots
10:00 a.m. – Zumba demonstration
10:30 a.m. – Coastal Academy “Spirit” Flag Team
12:30 p.m. – Synergy Dance Crew
12:45 p.m. – Nanahuatzin Folkloric Dance Company
1:45 p.m. – Fallbrook Chamber Orchestra
2:30 p.m. – Ballet Folklorico Esperanza de Fallbrook
3:00 p.m. – Fallbrook High Marching Warriors Band
4:00 p.m. – Sherlock Holmies Band (Winner of the recent Fallbrook Battle of the Bands)
Outside of the Main Ave. venue, there are additional interesting places for individuals, groups, and families to visit.
The Fallbrook Historical Society museum complex (at Rocky Crest Road and Hill St., served by the free shuttle) will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on festival day. See a special feature on the historical society’s museums in this issue of the Village News.
The Fallbrook Gem & Mineral Society museum (at 123 W. Alvarado St., one block west of Main Ave.) will also be open to visitors on festival day. An exciting new collection has just arrived at the museum; see the special article in this issue of the Village News.
The Fallbrook Community Airpark Open House (served by free shuttle) on festival day offers a variety of fascinating fun for adults and children. Read about the airpark’s offerings and schedule of events in a feature article in this issue of the Village News.
The Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce reminds everyone that pets are prohibited at the Avocado Festival for health and safety reasons.
Questions about the festival may be directed to the chamber office at (760) 728-5845 or visit www.fallbrookchamber