Celebrating avocados and margaritas

The sixth-annual Morro Bay Avocado and Margarita Festival will celebrate the luscious fruit on the Embarcadero this weekend.

Everything avocado can be sampled, with pitchers of margaritas to clear the palate before another taste of Hass or Reed or Bacon/Zutano avocados grown in Morro Bay, Cayucos and Cambria.

Morro Bay restaurants will compete for “best yummies” — shrimp avocado tacos, albacore-stuffed avocados, avocado egg rolls, avocado ceviche, plus Doc Bernstein’s avocado ice cream and margarita sorbet. And guacamole boats prepared and sold by the Morro Bay High School cheerleaders have continued support from Frank Alegria of Calavo Growers.

“Good things are happening. The committee is working together like clockwork. Everyone is doing their part to make this the best and biggest,” said Bill Coy, a Cayucos grower and founding member of the festival.

He explained that Nancy McKarney, who designed the site www.AvoMargFest.com, was selected as festival coordinator. Highlighting growers who will be there will be 96-year-old Ernie Righetti, as well as Arby Kitzman, the Stollers of Morro Creek Ranch, and Jim Shanley of Morro Canyon Ranch.

“California has several avocado festivals, the biggest in Carpinteria, but it’s no secret that Jan DeLyser and her staff at the California Avocado Commission love coming to Morro Bay for the quality of our fruit and fun festival,” Coy said.

Expanding to two days this year, the site will increase beyond the city parking lot across from Rose’s Landing to the empty space below Blue Sail Inn. Adding to the frivolity this year will be coloring, best costume and wildest sombrero contests, arts-and-crafts vendors, plus a free raffle to win a year’s supply of avocados.

A passionate advocate of Central Coast avocados, Coy says he is pumped the county has finally recognized its own “green gold.”

“When we started the festival, the fruit was all Chilean,” he said. “This year, major supermarkets in SLO and Santa Barbara — Spencer’s, Vons, Cookie Crock, Ralph’s and Albertson’s, which is offering free shuttles during the weekend event, will feature local fruit, mostly from Morro Bay to Cambria. They realized our fruit is the best in the world and will display and sell our fruit while promoting the Morro Bay Avocado Festival. The local avocado has finally come home to roost — for me, a dream come true.”

Judy Salamacha’s column is special to The Tribune. Reach her at judysalamacha@gmail.com or 801-1422.