Tart Time: Lemon Festival in Goleta

It's a citrus-sweet weekend, with music, fair rides, and fruity foodstuffs.

THE LEMON AND THE AVOCADO? They're rarely found far from each other in the bowl on the kitchen counter or on the cutting board. The two fruits may be placed together for aesthetic reasons — that bright yellow next to the deep green does lend a bowl some cred worthy of a magazine cover — but that togetherness also exists in a host of classic dishes. Including, of course, guacamole, and while some guac artists prefer a squeeze of lime, many others swear by lemons. It makes appetizing sense that two of the most flavorful fruit festivals happen fairly close each year, both geographically and on the calendar, and that 2017 moment is just ahead. The Goleta Lemon Festival is upon Saturday, Sept. 16 and Sunday, Sept. 17, with Carpinteria's mondo avocado affair falling over the first full weekend in October.

BUT IF LEMONS ARE YOUR GAME, and you throw a slice or three in absolutely everything, head for Girsh Park in Goleta over the middle weekend of September. There's an ocean-airy fair feel to the free-to-enter two-day party, thanks to the line-up of carnival rides, activities, and on-the-stage music acts, but the rind-tastic, tart-tasting citrus is truly the celebrity of the celebration. Are you up for a pie-eating contest? Probably, right? For those rule the autumn, and you've been practicing all summer. There's no need to hang around for three weeks, between the lemon party and that Avofest, but get inspired by these two Santa Barbara-close festivities, at least as you approach your next bowl of perfect, tart, avocado-rich guacamole.

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