The 12th Annual Avocado and Margarita Festival kicks off on Friday, Sept. 7 at 5 p.m. with the third annual Taste of the Grove. Taste is an exclusive homage to the Central Coast avocado held outdoors at a beautiful, rustic avocado grove turned wedding venue on Highway 41. Just 250 lovers of the green fruit will enjoy farm-to-table cuisine and hand-crafted wine and spirits plus complimentary access to the weekend’s main event, The Avocado and Margarita Street Festival the next day, Saturday, Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Festival organizers report that, “The 12th annual Saturday event really steps it up on the food front. We’ve been asked for more space, shorter lines, and more avocado dishes and we made it this year’s focus to deliver on those requests.”
Food vendors like the Central Coast Women for Fisheries will be bringing back their famous seafood stuffed avocado and vendors like Higgie’s World BBQ and Libertine Brewing Company are coming in with new and exciting dishes like smoked avocado, avocado stuffed with bacon, eggs and cheese, and mac and cheese with pulled pork and spicy avocado creme. If that doesn’t make your mouth water, maybe avocado chocolate mousse cups, soft and chewy double chocolate avocado cookies, or hot and fresh donuts with avocado drizzle are more your speed. There’s always room for dessert!
Saturday’s 12th annual Street Fest features a larger footprint this year with the same number of vendors, 70 percent of which are food and beverage. Central Coast favorite “The Margarita Man” will be bringing his signature frozen and rocks margaritas plus an expanded Michelada bar and ice cold 24-ounce canned beer. SLOcals Lauren and Brandon Butler, owners of Yes Cocktail Co., will bring their cocktail trailer to serve Yes’s signature mixers in specialty cocktails featuring not only tequila, but also gin, mezcal and bourbon cocktails.
Main stage bands include Samba Loca, Damon Castillo Band, Mama Tumba, Jammies, Lucky Devils Band and Back Bay Betty each providing upbeat party music meant to keep people dancing. Fearless performance art from aerialists Cirque Adventures and crowd participation in a community created art mural with the Morro Bay-based artist collective Forever Stoked will occur throughout this one-day celebration on the Central Coast.
This year’s “Grom Zone” features family-friendly activities such as the SLO Symphony Musical Petting Zoo, face painting, and guided activities like a karate demonstration, drumline class, magic show and dance class. Local business owner Shawna Marie-Battaglia says, “Ignite Movement Studio is excited to give our kids’ dance programs a chance to shine and to work with festival organizers who are dedicated to keeping the arts thriving in Morro Bay.”
Don’t forget your sombrero! Exciting contests will include the popular raffle to win a one-year supply of local avocados plus The Drop the Mic Sombrero Contest. Embarcadero merchant Morro Bay Hat Company will have sombreros for sale. Both festival goers with wristbands and the public can access this shop and dozens of other local merchants, with ease, via public right of ways located across the festival footprint.
Transportation options are abundant within the city limits. The Morro Bay Trolley will be available to shuttle attendees throughout the town. Uber will be on hand to provide an at-cost ride service home and the SLO Bicycle Coalition will set up a free bike valet. The festival can be accessed through one of two gates clearly marked by signed and decorated structures at Harbor Street and Marina Street on the Embarcadero.
The 2018 Avocado and Margarita Street Festival is made possible by generous sponsorships from Central Coast Distributing, Rogall Painting and Construction, Morro Bay Tourism morrobay.org and dozens of local sponsors. The festival is a fundraiser for various beneficiaries, including Rotary Club of Morro Bay, Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce, Morro Bay High School Cheerleaders, Morro Bay Aquatics and Morro Bay Newcomers and raised over $40,000 in 2017. Morro Bay Chamber CEO Erica Crawford says the festival “is a win-win for the local economy. The 2017 event put uniforms on MBHS Cheerleaders and sent them to cheer camp, strengthened music programming in local schools, helped Rotary Club of Morro Bay build a Santa House for the holidays, and provided no cost business assistance workshops and entrepreneur training in the business community. Festival admissions are recirculated back into our community and we are really proud of that at the Chamber.”
Tickets for the Saturday Street Festival are $7 and available on Eventbrite or at the door. Presale tickets guarantee entry, prevent standing in line, and don’t incur any fees. “Groms” 10 and under are free. All-inclusive tickets for Taste of the Grove are $75, available until sold out.