The 2015 California Lemon Festival was filled with laughter, music, smiles and plenty of food. The lemon is used as a symbol of Goleta’s heritage as a farming community that was once lined with lemon orchards. The event is very family friendly and provides a fun place for all community members to gather. For the past 23 years, the Lemon Festival has been the biggest festival in Goleta with free admission and parking.
The Lemon Festival was founded by a group of community members and the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce. It first began as a one-day festival at The Stow House, located off of Los Carneros Road, but in 2002 it was moved to Girsh Park to expand and have a bigger space for the growing event. The Festival’s purpose is to focus on celebrating Goleta’s culture and community.
“I’ve visited the last couple of years for my lunch break. It’s pretty fun, there is a lot of lemon treats, a lot of music and entertainment, a lot of stuff for kids too,” said Bobby, an attendee.
The Goleta Chamber of Commerce puts on the festival each year with the help of great community business sponsors and nearly 200 volunteers of all ages who set up the event, run children’s activities, and serve pie. The festival supports local nonprofit organizations, which have booths set up at the festival to promote their efforts in the community. Many of these nonprofit organizations use their food and vendor booths as their biggest fundraiser of the year.
There were bouncy houses, a zip line, a wall for rock climbing, and many stands with cool items to buy. The kids could buy activity cards in order to participate in the rides. There was also a stage set up with multiple bands playing and giving free concerts for the public. The audience interacted with the music by dancing or simply sitting back while enjoying a delicious piece of lemon pie, which was also conveniently located to the side of the stage. There were also vendors that set up stands with neat knick knacks, paintings, jewelry, clothes, and accessories. Although the weather was humid and warm, many locals still came out to support the event, which took place at Girsh Park in Goleta, from September 26 to 27 from 10 to 5pm.
The Goleta Chamber of Commerce has announced that the 2016 festival will be held September 24 to 25, 2016. It will mark the 25th anniversary of the beloved California Lemon Festival, which means more lemon pies to come.