For many years the Lemon Festival has been the biggest celebration in the Goleta Valley. Sumptuous lemon food, fantastic family atmosphere, and cornucopia of entertainment and activities have made this event the most anticipated in the Valley.
The festival has expanded to include the Goleta Fall Classic Car, Motorcycle and Street Rod Show, and the Girls Inc. 5K Run. As always, the Lemon Festival will feature the most extensive 'Safety Street' in the county, their wildly-popular Pie-Eating Contests, arts and crafts vendors, and more food than you can shake a lemon-scented stick at. A petting zoo and amusement park rides just add to the many things that make the California Lemon Festival fun for the whole family.
- Face painting
- Climbing rock wall
- Miniature golf
- and more
History of Lemon Harvesting in Goleta Valley
The "Famous Santa Barbara County Lemons" of the Goleta Valley made their debut in the
1890's when Sherman Stow, builder of the historic Stow House, planted
600 acres of lemon trees on his ranch. Due to the year-round
springtime temperatures and moderate rainfall that characterize the
climate of the Goleta Valley the lemon orchard flourished,
contributing to the valley's beauty as well as its economy. Stow
generously shared seedlings from his trees with owners of neighboring
ranches, and colorful lemon orchards soon decorated the coast.
In the 1930's, the delicious citrus was in high demand. Goleta's Lemons brought premium prices on the market, and although the country was in the throes of the Great Depression, 2,500 acres of lemons were harvested and sold by the Goleta Lemon Association. By 1943 the Goleta Lemon Association was shipping 900 boxcar loads of their renowned lemons annually.
With the skyrocketing demand for real estate in the 50's and 60's agricultural land began to be converted into housing tracts. However, the prevalence of Goleta Lemons in the region's landscape remained - showing up all over hillsides, in the landscaping of many homeowners, and in gardens throughout the Valley.
The Goleta Lemon remains one of the great icons of our region, and it is celebrated each year at the California Lemon Festival in Goleta.