Tart Times: Goleta Lemon Festival

The sunshiny fruit gets a weekend-long juice-it-up.

GOLETA, YOU GOT US: It's like some places are just psychic. Nope, we're not talking about the little town in a creepy autumn scary flick, the city where everyone can secretly read minds or cast spells. We're talking about when an annual event that's famously tied to a particular location falls at the exact right moment for maximum pleasure-having, year after year. Goleta gets this special trophy -- okay, there's not really an actual trophy, but, you know, the trophy of admiration and good will -- with its yearly Lemon Festival, which squeezes into the weekend that's just around the start of fall. (Yep, "squeezes" is a lemon joke there, and, nope, the fest actually isn't in the fall, just fall-adjacent.) We say the Lemon Festival occurs at just the right time for two very firm reasons. One? Southern California, and into the Conejo Valley and upwards, is bidding adieu to its toastiest time of year, mid-September, and lemons are, without argument, just about the most refreshing of fruits. And two? The Lemon Festival juices up, if you will, the October-long epicure s.b., Santa Barbara's 31-day dining super-experience. Good timing, for sure.

TRUE... the Lemon Festival is in September, so it isn't technically within the calendar-y boundaries of epicure s.b., but let's call it a sunny harbinger, with its pie-eating competitions and citrus-sweet treats and car show and other breezy doings. The dates? Saturday, Sept. 20 and Sunday, Sept. 21, the last weekend of summer, a good fit for lemonade's main ingredient. (We know, we know, you can sip lemonade outside of the summertime, but during the summer? It's almost mandatory.)

AND IF YOU LIKE... the lemon's close cousin, at least in guacamole spirit, hang tight: Carpinteria's Avocado Festival is up in early October. (We know, we know, lemons and avocados aren't strictly family, but, my goodness, throw them together in a guac and you have one zingy dip, that's for dang sure.)

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