Did you know that when the Aztec ruler Montezuma presented a king’s ransom to the Spanish explorer Cortez in 1519, he included avocados along with a booty of gold, silver, and priceless gems? The inhabitants of Carpenteria celebrate this history every year with a loony event completely centered around the “alligator pear.”

Over 2000 avocados are used to create this phenomenon that feeds a crowd of 12,000 hungry folks. Started in 1987 because Santa Barbara County is the third largest avocado producer in the country (Carpinteria being a major contributor), the Avocado Festival is free for all to enter. Besides lots of chips and dip, visitors can partake in some friendly “avo-tivities.”

Of course there’s a competition for the best guacamole and various other recipes (ice cream and brownies, but don’t eat the face scrub). Did you know putting an avocado in a paper bag will speed the ripening process? But the big crowd-pleaser is the Best Dressed Avocado, an idea undoubtedly stolen from the creators of Mr. Potato Head. There’s also a photography contest and pop art show, where anything avocado goes. Holy guacamole!

When: Every October

Where: Carpinteria, California, U.S.A.

More Info: For more info call 805/684-0038 or visit www.avofest.com

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