Food & Drink

10 of SLO County’s tastiest festivals — from mac and cheese to margaritas

Creamy macaroni and cheese. Crisp apples. Smoky, briny barbecued oysters.

Here in San Luis Obispo County, we love to eat. And we’re blessed with so much bounty — from fresh meat and seafood to flavorful fruits and verdant vegetables — that our cuisine is second to none.

Here are 10 ways to savor the flavors of the Central Coast this summer and fall.

Macaroni and Cheese Festival

What: Local chefs vie for pasta perfection at this 21-and-up event, which features all the gooey, cheesy mac you can eat plus wine, beer, spirits an music by Soul Scratch and The Kicks.

When: 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Avila Beach Golf Resort, 6464 Ana Bay Road

How much: $60 to $80, $10 parking

Info: 805-781-2750 or www.themacandcheesefest.com

Baked mac n cheese
The Macaroni and Cheese Festival comes to Avila Beach on Saturday. David Middlecamp The Tribune

Central Coast Oyster and Music Festival

What: Shuck yeah, it’s oyster time! Slurp down delicacies on the half-shell while you sip wine, beer and cocktails, groove to live music and watch performance artists.

When: Noon to 8 p.m. July 8

Where: Avila Beach Golf Resort

How much: $25, free for ages 65 and older and 12 and under. $10 parking

Info: centralcoastoysterfestival.com

Oysters plate
Oysters are the focus at the Central Coast Oyster and Music Festival, July 8 in Avila Beach. Bob Fila TNS

Central Coast Lavender Festival

What: Lavender isn’t just for laundry any more. Sample lavender-laden treats from cheese to chocolate as you shop for fragrant gifts and learn how to grow and preserve this aromatic herb.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 8

Where: Downtown City Park, Spring and 12th streets, Paso Robles

How much: Free

Info: 805-238-4103 or pasoroblesdowntown.org

Lavender Selects002
The Central Coast Lavender Festival will be held July 8 at Downtown City Park in Paso Robles. Robert Stevenson ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

Central Coast Beef and Wine Festival

What: Steak and syrah is among the possible pairings at this event celebrating Central Coast ranches and wineries. Munch your way through the meat-centric tasting menu while watching open-grill cooking demonstrations.

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 26

Where: Halter Ranch, 8910 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles

How much: $95, $995 VIP table

Info: 805-226-2081 or farmsteaded.com

Beef
The Central Coast Beef and Wine Festival returns to Paso Robles in August. Courtesy photo

Avocado and Margarita Street Festival

What: Guacamole lovers will see green at this event, which also features music, magic shows, art and a mini-avocado toss. (For a more intimate experience, try Taste of the Grove, Sept. 8 at The Packing Shed in Morro Bay. Avocado-themed dishes are paired with wine, beer and handcrafted cocktails.)

When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 9

Where: Embarcadero, downtown Morro Bay

How much: $5 to $7, free for 10 and under

Info: avomargfest.com

Avocado
An avocado museum is coming to San Diego in June. Matthew Mead Associated Press

Heirloom Tomato Festival and Dinner

What: Taste more than 40 varieties of ripe, juicy tomatoes and sample tomato-inspired dishes by local chefs, or enjoy a farm-to-table dinner featuring seasonal Central Coast produce.

When: Sept. 23 and 24

Where: Windrose Farm, 5750 El Pharo Drive, Paso Robles

How much: TBA

Info: 805-226-2081 or farmsteaded.com

tomato pic
More than 40 tomato varieties will be available for tasting at the Heirloom Tomato Festival and Dinner in September at Windrose Farm in Paso Robles. Courtesy photo Windrose Farm

Taste of Downtown

What: Sample bites and sips from more than 35 Paso Robles restaurants and wineries while you admire colorful sidewalk chalk art at the free Arte De Tiza event. Burn off calories dancing to a DJ at Downtown City Park.

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 16

Where: Downtown Paso Robles

How much: $25

Info: 805-238-4108 or www.pasoroblesdowntown.org

Arte De Tiza
Brittani Taylor of Paso Robles works on a chalk street painting as part of Arte de Tiza in Paso Robles. The event coincides with Taste of Downtown in Paso Robles. Laura Dickinson ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

Avila Apple Festival

What: Sink your teeth into crisp, sweet apples at this event showcasing the fruits of the Avila Valley. In store are an apple-themed dinner, apple and wine tasting and live and silent auctions.

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 23

Where: Avila Beach Community Center, 191 San Miguel St., Avila Beach

How much: $100

Info: 805-627-1997 or www.avilabeachcc.com, www.avilaapplefestival.com

Apples080
Apples hang on a tree at Creekside Farm in San Luis Obispo. The Avila Apple Festival returns to Avila Beach in September. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Pismo Beach Clam Festival

What: Two words: clam chowder. In addition to boatloads of seafood, including a clam chowder cook-off and a clam bake, the sun-soaked fun includes a wine walk, music and a parade.

Where: Downtown Pismo Beach

When: 5 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 21 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 22

How much: Free; $20 wine walk, $10 chowder contest, $30 clam bake

Info: 805-773-4382 or www.pismoclamfestival.com

Clam chowder
The Pismo Beach Clam Festival returns to downtown Pismo Beach in October. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Golden Oak Honey Festival

What: Sample sweet honey treats and learn about backyard beekeeping and cooking with honey at this festival. Other attractions include a wine stroll, beehive hair-do contest, spelling bee and bumblebee obstacle course.

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 28

Where: Downtown City Park, Paso Robles

How much: Free

Info: 805-238-4103 or pasoroblesdowntown.org

Honey
Sweet honey treats are for sale at the Golden Oak Honey Festival in Paso Robles in October. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

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