EMPTY DISH: Think back to the end of any recent Super Bowl or tailgate party you attended. Visualize the table with the red-and-white-checkered tablecloth and all of the bowls that held chips, dips, and snacks. What dish is completely clean, save a few creamy green globs? Yep, the guacamole. The guac is always the appetizer to go first, though, right? Set a basket of tortilla chips nearby and some limes and whoosh! That's it. The guacamole is gone, gone, gone. The correlation, here, to one of our state's best known food festivals is this: When you see pictures of the California Avocado Festival, the one in Carpinteria each fall, it is bustling. Busy. Full of avo-mad throngs. Guac, in all of its forms, and the green, bumply fruit it is made with, is a crowd-draw, in short. But the crowds don't mind; festival goers just spread out, enjoy the ocean breezes, and dip away (via chip) the day, or try other avocado specialties (like ice cream). Are you a guac-ist, too? Then make for Carp over the first weekend in October: Friday, Oct. 4 through Sunday, Oct. 6.
FREE AND HUGE: Billed as "the largest free street festival in the state," California Avocado Festival -- or Avofest, if you prefer -- turns 27 in 2013. Yep, the guy dressed as an alligator pear'll likely be posing for pictures, and avo-flavored everything -- beer to sweets to classic dips -- will be for sale. The largest avocado contest will be afoot, as will cooking demos and various sorts of entertainment. (Nope, not every song played will be about avocados, but we're going to send in a request that every other song should be -- good idea, right?) Over 100,000 people attend over the typically sunny weekend, which is no surprise, when you consider that guacamole is always the first empty dish near the end of any potluck party. Avocado, you are popular, so never, ever let anyone call you the pits.