The first avocado trees in California were planted around 1871, and today the state grows a whopping 90 percent of the crop harvested in the U.S. As one of the state's top growing regions, it makes perfect sense that Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County is home to the California Avocado Festival, known simply as Avofest to locals.
Started in 1986, this October event draws more than 80,000 fans to sample guacamole, salad, soups, and countless other concoctions all featuring this beloved fruit (yes, it’s a fruit, not a vegetable). Signature events include the largest avocado weigh-offs (they sometimes reach more than four pounds) and the Avofest Guacamole Contest. The winning recipe is made available online at the festival's website.
To keep things hopping, the festival includes more than 75 musical acts across four stages and remains one of the largest free music festivals in California. In past years, guests could even attend a viewing of the cult classic film Cannibal Women of the Avocado Jungle of Death hosted by the festival. The event also offers free doggie day care for pooch-owners that attend.