Popular Lemon Festivals in California 2023!

Are you looking to explore some of the most popular Lemon festivals in California? Lemons are a juicy and versatile fruit, used to make everything from delicious desserts to refreshing drinks. Upland Lemon Festival is probably the most popular festival in California, check out our 2023 Upland Lemon Festival Article

In this blog post, we are going to cover the Goleta Lemon Festival and Chula Vista Lemon Festival!. Goleta Lemon Festival is happening on September 30th and October 1st 2023, while Chula Vista Lemon Festival will happen one August 12th 2023 (Saturday)! 

Goleta Lemon Festival

Festival Summary

The annual Lemon festival in Goleta, California celebrates the wonder of the fruit with fun activities and events for all ages. Events range from the food court to entertainment stages and lemon-themed activities. The festival also offers an opportunity to learn about the history and importance of lemons to the local community.

You’ll have the chance to sample some of the most delectable lemon treats and get creative with art projects that spotlight the beloved citrus. Witness the Lemon Queen coronation and explore the bounty of lemons with family and friends. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the Lemon Festival in Goleta is a must-see event. So come join the celebration and sample the best that California lemons have to offer in 2023 – from September 30th (Saturday) and October 1st, 2023 (Sunday)! 

History of this event

The Goleta Lemon Festival is organized by the South Coast Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization serving the area from Goleta to Carpinteria. The festival has been a yearly event for the past 29 years, and provides a fun-filled weekend of activities for the whole family.

Starting as a modest street fair in 1949, honoring Goleta’s farming heritage, the event has expanded, now drawing over 40,000 locals, tourists, community leaders, nonprofit groups, and elected representatives who come together to celebrate the South Coast and Goleta community,

Discovering the Basics: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

No tickets or reservations are needed to attend the Goleta Lemon Festival. The festival is free to enter and there is free parking. However, an All-inclusive Activity Wristband needed to access the activities in Kids Zone, and a fee is needed if you want to participate in the Classic Car Show.

The festival will take place on September 30 and October 1, 2023 from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday at Girsh Park in Goleta, CA.

The Goleta Lemon Festival is the highlight of the Goleta area each year and is a must-attend event for locals and visitors alike. With over 80 booths, including food, drinks, and merchandise, plus family-friendly activities and entertainment, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Attractions include the Goleta Fall Classic Car and Street Rod Show, Safety Street, and the pie-eating contest. Enjoy delicious lemony treats, such as lemon churros, lemon meringue pie, lemon bars, and even lemon beer. Don’t forget the all-inclusive activity wristband for endless rides and games like archery tag, inflatable bubbles, and obstacle courses. Get ready to experience an unforgettable weekend of fun, food, and entertainment in Goleta.

Best Time to Visit, Parking & Transportation

The best time to visit the Goleta Lemon Festival is early in the morning, when the crowds have not yet arrived, and the sun is just beginning to rise. The festival runs from 10am to 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday, so plan to arrive early for the best selection of food, entertainment, and attractions.

Parking is free, and there are multiple options for transportation, including by bus through Santa Barbara MTD bus service, OR by train. You can hop on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner. This train service connects San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo, with a convenient stop in Goleta. Sit back and enjoy the stunning Southern California coastline, free Wi-Fi, and delightful treats from the Cafe Car. Once you arrive at the Goleta Station, located near La Patera Road, simply take a short taxi or car ride to the festival. To save 20% on your Pacific Surfliner travel to and from Santa Barbara County, book your trip through Santa Barbara Car Free. Learn more by visiting pacificsurfliner.com and santabarbaracarfree.org/train.

With these accessible transportation options, getting to the festival has never been easier. So, choose your preferred mode of travel and join us for a fun-filled weekend at the festival!

Best Food in the Goleta Lemon Festival

In 2023, the latest vendor information has not been announced yet, but looking in the past year, they featured Anna’s Bakery. It serves up delicious lemon bars and lemon meringue pies at their booth. But it doesn’t end there; there’s chili dogs, potato swirls, curly fries, Rusty’s Pizza Parlor, açai bowls, tacos and ice cream. The $5 large lemon bar is a must-try, as is the $10 potato swirl and the $5 strawberry lemonade. All these amazing eats can be found in the food court area at the festival.

Nothing beats a refreshing lemon ale or lemon meringue pie on a hot day. The Goleta Lemon Festival has both of these, plus a variety of lemon-themed beverages including lemon churros, lemon bars, lemonade, lemon tamales and more. Please make sure you didn’t miss the Pie Eating Contest!

Classic Car Show

The 16th Annual Goleta Fall Classic is an event you won’t want to miss! Taking place on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at Girsh Park, this classic car show will have an array of eye-catching automobiles on display. From sleek Corvettes and Camaros to rugged trucks and pickups, there’s something for every car enthusiast to admire. And for the first time ever, the event will also feature motorcycles and bicycles!

As you peruse the impressive vehicles, indulge in the delightful flavors of the Lemon Festival with a refreshing lemon ale or a scrumptious lemon meringue pie. It’s the perfect way to spend a day surrounded by classic automotive beauty and mouthwatering treats.

To participate in the Goleta Fall Classic, pre-register by September 25, 2023, for a fee of $45, which includes a t-shirt. Bicycle pre-registration is available at a rate of $20, with a same-day registration rate of $25 (t-shirt not included in either rate). Late registrations for automobiles, submitted after September 25th, will incur a $55 fee, and a t-shirt is not included.

Keep in mind that cars will be judged by a discerning committee, and participants who wish to be placed next to each other must arrive together. Be aware that no cars will be allowed entry after 9:00 AM, and vehicles cannot be moved from their assigned spots during the event. Unfortunately, no refunds will be issued if you arrive later than the designated time.

Goleta Santa Barbara Airport Kids Zone and Performance

Goleta Santa Barbara Airport Kids Zone at the Lemon Festival, a lively and engaging space designed for children of all ages! Bursting with fun-filled activities, this area promises excitement and learning for the whole family. From mini-golf to inflatable bubbles and obstacle courses, there’s never a dull moment.

Safety Street is a must-visit, where you’ll meet the dedicated professionals who keep us secure, and get an up-close look at their cutting-edge vehicles and technologies.

Make the most of the 2023 Kids Zone with an all-inclusive Activity Wristband – pre-sale coming soon! The wristband offers access to a wide range of attractions, such as: Archery Tag, Bubble Fun,  High Voltage, Connect 3, Swings, Euro Bungee, Double Slide, King of the Jungle Bounce House, Sport Obstacle Course, Inflatable Obstacle Course, John Deere Tractor, Toddler Jump, Carousel Bounce House, Rock Wall, Train, Slot Cars, Miniature Golf and Interactive Castle.

Please note that activities are subject to change and wristbands are valid for one day only. Come rain or shine, there will be no refunds. So, grab your wristbands and prepare for an unforgettable day of adventure at the Santa Barbara Airport Kids Zone

The American Riviera Bank Main Stage will showcase performances from local favorite artists. They are collecting application for the lineup now, please check out this link to apply to show your talent!

Three Things you should know before you go!

The 29th Annual Goleta Lemon Festival will take place on September 30th & October 1st, 2023 on Saturday and Sunday at Girsh Park (7050 Phelps Road). The festival will start from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday! 

Admission is free, but be sure to purchase an all-inclusive activity wristband for endless rides in advance and games for your kids and register before September 25th to participate in the Classic Car Show. For more information, visit Goleta Lemon Festival Official Website.

Chula Vista Lemon Festival

Festival Summary

The 26th Annual Lemon Festival will take place on Saturday, August 12th from 11:00am to 6:00pm in Downtown Chula Vista. The festival will include two stages of live music, a lemon cook-off competition, a kids zone, delicious food options, arts and crafts vendors, a wine and beer garden and more!

Admission is free and all are welcome. This year’s festival is expected to draw in 30,000 attendees and will celebrate Chula Vista’s history as the “”Lemon Capitol of the World.”” Enjoy a day of fun and join us in pay tribute to our city’s agricultural roots.

The Lemon Festival in Chula Vista, California, is also a great place to start! This popular festival is a celebration of all things lemon, from traditional lemon dishes to lemon themed crafts and activities. There are also plenty of opportunities to pick or purchase local and organic lemons, as well as other citrus fruits. Not only will you have a great time, but you’ll also be supporting local farmers and businesses. Plus, you’ll be helping to promote sustainable farming practices. So if you’re looking for a unique and educational experience for the whole family, the Lemon Festival in Chula Vista is the perfect event for you!

History of this event

Nestled between San Diego Bay and coastal mountain foothills, Chula Vista boasts a diverse cultural and ecological landscape. Back in the early 1900s, settlers purchased land for $300 per acre, with the caveat that they become lemon growers, as explained by former history professor Steven Schoenherr. Chula Vista’s 5,000-acre agricultural community became famous for its lemon harvest, earning the title “The Lemon Capital of the World” by the 1920s.

Lemon farming was essential for the packing industry, employing many women, and the region’s cool coastal climate played a vital role in lemon cultivation. Chula Vista’s growth and prosperity were closely tied to the Sweetwater Dam and the railroad, both of which were essential for supplying water and transporting lemons. However, the Great Flood of 1916 devastated the area, damaging water pipes and railroads.

Despite the challenges, lemon groves endured until World War II, when the Rohr Company built a plant for producing engines for B-24 bombers. The wartime economy led to a decline in lemon farming as land was sold and suburbs developed around the war plant.

Chula Vista’s annual Lemon Festival serves as a reminder of the city’s citrus-rich history and celebrates the community spirit that brought people together in the past. Although the lemon groves are long gone, Chula Vista still holds traces of its vibrant past for those who know where to look.

Discovering the Basics: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Attending the Chula Vista Lemon Festival in 2023 is free, with no tickets or reservations needed. The festival will run from 11:00am to 6:00pm on Saturday, August 12th.

There will be a variety of vendors and activities, including lemon-themed photo opportunities, a cook-off competition, a kids zone, live music, and food and drinks for purchase. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department will also be on-site to answer questions about job opportunities. Make sure to bring your family and friends to this fun and free event!

Performance, Food, Contest and Activities

Celebrate the city’s rich agricultural history and indulge in a lemon-filled oasis of two stages of live music, zesty photo opps, a lemon cook-off competition, a kids zone, delicious food, arts and crafts, a wine and beer garden, and more.

It’s also a chance for you to connect with beloved local vendors as they establish stalls along the avenue, featuring delightful lemon-inspired offerings. Be sure to try the Strawberry Lemon Seltzer from Thr3e Punk Ales, scrumptious Lemon Cake from MMM…Cakes, and tasty Lemon Yucca Balls from Algo Bueno, among other enticing treats.

Bring your loved ones and savor the unique tastes of Chula Vista. This free event promises to be a fun, zesty experience for all! The festival is now welcoming the application being a vendor in the lemon festival, you can check the application details here! 

Parking and Transportation 

As you make your way to the festival, we’ve got you covered with various parking choices to make your experience stress-free. Check out these convenient parking options near the event:

  • H & 3rd Street Corner Parking Structure Enjoy free parking at the corner of H and 3rd streets, though do note that time limits apply. You can find this parking structure at 303 H Street, Chula Vista, CA 91910.
  • Behind Culichi Town Parking Area For more complimentary parking, head over to the lot located behind Culichi Town at 340 3rd Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910.
  • Metered Parking on Third Avenue Managed by Ace Parking, meter-operated parking spaces are available along Third Avenue, between G Street and E Street. The rate is $1 for 2 hours, and keep in mind that the meters only accept quarters—credit cards are not accepted. If you need assistance, the Ace Parking office is conveniently situated at 231 3rd Avenue, Suite F, Chula Vista, CA 91910.

With these parking options, your festival experience is sure to be a breeze. Enjoy the event without worrying about parking hassles!

If you want to avoid traffic put a damper on your day, you can also hop on the UC San Diego Blue Line to the E Street Station, and then catch Route 704 to F Street & 3rd Avenue. Alternatively, you can take Route 701, 709, or 929. Bring the whole family to relish the lemon festival while saving on gas and parking expenses. 

Three Things you should know before you go!

The 26th Annual Chula Vista Lemon Festival will be held on Saturday, August 12th, 2023 from 11:00am to 6:00pm. It is hosted in Downtown Chula Vista on Third Avenue between E Street and Park Way.

Admission is free, however, food and alcoholic beverages can be purchased. The festival includes two live music stages, a lemon cook-off competition, a kids zone, delicious food options, and arts and crafts vendors. Most of the information has not been released for 2023, for more information, visit the official website at https://downtownchulavista.com/events/lemon-festival.