This weekend, in the heart of Carpinteria, more than 80,000 guacamole-loving people will assemble to celebrate arguably the world’s most fabulous fruit — the avocado. (To be fair to the other fruits out there, we are biased around these parts). This year marks the 28th edition of the annual California Avocado Festival, a raucously fun, full-family good time with dozens of bands, vendors, and, of course, avocado everything. But often overlooked in the smiley swirl of avocado ice cream and avocado beer and small car-sized vats of guacamole is the fact that the festival itself is essentially as green as the flesh of it’s namesake fruit. As Avofest boardmember and head of operations Gregg Carty said, “The greenest thing at the festival are still the avocados, but taking care of the environment that they come from has been a priority of ours for over 20 years.”
Thanks in large part to their partnership with Channel Islands Janitorial, this year’s festival will once again be a zero-waste event with more than 98 percent of the weekend’s trash diverted from the landfill. “Basically, the only sorts of things that end up going in the trash are baby diapers. I mean, we don’t really even have many trash cans,” said Carty. This is achieved by, among other things, refusing to use Styrofoam (a policy they implemented two decades ago!), being a known “No Confetti Egg” zone, using only recyclable utensils and plates for all the food vendors on hand, offering ample composting bins, and selling reusable commemorative Avofest beer cups in the drinking areas.
As if that weren’t enough, they also power the whole thing with bio-diesel generators, collect and recycle all the grease, use only LED lighting in vendors’ areas, and block off all the storm drains on Linden Avenue during the event to prevent unwanted downstream impacts. Perhaps most impressively, all of the unused food and avos are donated to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara. In fact, last year alone, the festival gave nearly 1,300 pounds of grub to the Foodbank in addition to 876 pounds of guacamole. As Carty put it, “Every year, we are always looking for ways to make the festival better.”
The Avocado Festival takes place Friday-Sunday, October 3-5, at 800 Linden Avenue. For info, call 684-0038 or see avofest.com.