Avocado Festival April 20th, 2008 Fallbrook, California
This festival has been around since 1962. At its inception, the festival was held at the beginning of October to celebrate the beginning of the avocado season and to promote local businesses. Originally, the festival was a three day long event as well. It was a time when the local residents could walk by and browse through the wares of the numerous shops and vendors looking for good discounts. It was also a great way to mingle with their neighbors and catch up with people whom they have not seen in a while.
Some local businesses used the Avocado Festival as a fundraiser. They believed that the neighborhood atmosphere around the festival would make people more generous and likely to donate to their cause. Since then the festival has changed a great deal. Even five years later the festivals 1962 inception, the attendance doubled from 5000 to 10000. Now in 2008, over 350 vendor booths line the main street of Fallbrook. It is a mad scene where tens of thousands of people flow into Fallbrook from all around North County to experience the Avocado Festival. In a town where the population is no more than 40,000, a sight like this is quite amazing for people who live in Fallbrook and understand what small town life is the other 364 days of the year.
Over the festivals 40 year long lifespan it has changed a lot. It began as a small town get- together and now has turned into a large county-wide celebration. Sadly, over the last ten years the festival has mutated into an event that seems much more commercial and much less homely than it once was. I remember attending the Avocado Festival ten years ago when I was nine years old. I remember it being crowded, but it still felt like home. If you take a look at the picture on the previous page, there are thousands of people filling up the road. It is barely even possible to move around, let alone shop leisurely. It didnt feel normal and felt like the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce was just trying to make a buck rather than have the festival be like it used to. Nevertheless, the festival still had the same vendors that it always had in the past; a good assortment of desserts, various junk food stops, and small trinket stores.
The trinket stores were actually very folklore oriented. There was one in particular that caught my interest. It was selling Earth Music. I had never heard of this music before, but from the sample the booth was playing, it sounded very calm and tranquil. It was music that a family would play in the background of their home while they went about their daily lives. I asked the fellow who was working that booth and he said that the music originated from Celtic ancestry. He said it was common for Celtic folk to play this music in their villages to give the townspeople peaceful music to listen to long ago.
The Avocado Festival is something that many people around North County look forward to every year. They get to spend a day out in the sun wandering around Main Street with their family and friends and have a good time. They get to converse and catch up with friends whom they havent seen in months or even in some cases years. While the festival is not like it once was it still is an event which gives an identity to the town of Fallbrook as the avocado capitol of the world.
Los Angeles Times:
Meisler, Andy. “The State’s Best Tastes.” Los Angeles Times 7 Aug. 2007: 1-22.