Castroville, CA Artichoke Festival & Parade


 Artichoke Festival "The Heart of the Harvest"

June 10-11, 2023

Monterey County Fair & Events Center in Monterey
2004 Fairground Rd.
Monterey, CA

Annual Artichoke Festival
Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
$20-up, (packages available), $15-20 parking)

Annual Artichoke Festival

MONTEREY, Calif., - Agricultural education and the future of the community are the central focus of this year's Artichoke Festival theme, “The Heart of the Harvest.”

The festival will showcase the full range of tastes that the Monterey County farming community has to offer: artichoke cooking demonstrations by local celebrity chefs; a bountiful farmer's market with freshly harvested produce from Monterey County and beyond; an artichoke agricultural education exhibit; live stage entertainment; family-friendly fun activities; and artichokes prepared in a variety of delicious ways, including the fan-favorite fried baby artichokes, plus artichokes steamed, grilled, and in unique forms such as lumpia, burritos, sausage, cupcakes and even ice cream.

Again this year, festival-goers will enjoy artichoke-eating and harvest contests, arts and crafts vendors, a family fun run, and the ever-popular wine tasting event, featuring the wines of small production, boutique wineries from around California.

Families and festival-goers will enjoy a world-famous farmer's market, sponsored by Ocean Mist Farms, the largest grower of artichokes in the U.S. Returning this year are an expanded ag education exhibit, and live entertainment on two stages. Other popular features returning this year are arts and crafts vendors, the artichoke harvest and artichoke-eating contests, an artichoke-themed quilt competition, and back by popular demand, wine tasting.

Introduced in 2022 was a family fun run, for participants age 4 to adult, who can dress up as their favorite veggie while they run for their heart's delight and for goodies and prizes.

Festival organization is focused on enriching the lives of the next generation by supporting the programs that serve them with proceedsto benefit nonprofit organizations and programs that serve the Monterey County community. 

The Artichoke Festival has plenty of fun for the whole family, including:
●A world-famous farmers' market that offers fresh artichokes, along with other seasonal produce such as asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, peas, fennel, green onions, leeks, mixed lettuce, rapini, spinach and so many other fruits and vegetables, at prices that can't be beat.

●Daily cooking demonstrations with local chefs, who will showcase the artichoke's versatility, and the unique techniques you can take home to prepare the vegetable in your own kitchen. Chef demos will be hosted again this year by Partnership for Children, a local nonprofit organization supporting families with children experiencing serious illness.

●Special delicious dishes from the Artichoke Food Court, made with artichokes harvested in Monterey County, from appetizers to dessert.

The Central Coast hosts a wondrous array of local entertainment talent, and the Festival's main stage will showcase some of the most popular bands and entertainers from the area. The family stage will showcase acts sure to please even the youngest members of the family. Live entertainment on the main stage and the family stage are free to all attendees.
Wine tasting returns by popular demand both days of the Festival as it hosts California wineries from Santa Barbara to Grass Valley, and Santa Cruz to Lodi. Guests over 21 can stroll and sip wines, visit with the vintners, and even enter a raffle on site for a chance to win a barrel full of wine to enjoy all year long. Tasting passes are sold separately.

Local treasures abound! Arts and crafts vendors will set up shop for guests to peruse everything from candy apples and artichoke hummus, to beautiful jewelry, soaps and lotions. You'll find many fun, unique handmade items you can't find in stores.

Join the festival for a wonderful afternoon of auctions and artichokes at the Silent Auction. 

Family members of all ages will have fun in the Festival's Kid's Zone area, with an obstacle course, family stage entertainment, local music and dance groups, and storytelling.

Inspiring and immersive learning activities for the young and young at heart will be provided by the Central Coast Mobile Fab Lab, with a mobile STEM learning experience.

Explore the art of the artichoke. For a truly hands-on experience, the Arts Council for Monterey County will offer art activities and a mural project where small hands can make their big ideas come to life. Enjoy kid-friendly, family fun creative activities that will stimulate the artist in everyone.

Festival guests can learn about the food they eat from farm to table, with local growers and producers.

The artichoke-harvesting competition using the same authentic “canasta” baskets used in the artichoke harvesting process, is a race against fellow festival-goers. It's not as easy as it looks! Attendees can sign up at the Festival Information booth.

How many artichokes can you choke down? Find out, and win bragging rights at our Artichoke Eating Contest, both days at the Main Stage. Sign up at the Festival Information booth.

Artichoke Festival celebrates the California State Vegetable and the region known as the Artichoke Center of the World. The festival showcases the iconic vegetable that has captured our hearts for decades!

Nearly 100 percent of America's artichoke supply comes from California, with nearly two-thirds of California's crop grown around Castroville. Ocean Mist Farms, the largest artichoke grower in the U.S. and long-time supporter of the festival, has a nearly 100 year legacy of growing fresh vegetables in California.

The artichoke was named the official vegetable of Monterey County on December 16, 1986. In 2014, the artichoke was proclaimed the official California State Vegetable.

Artichoke Festival is one of Castroville, California's largest annual events. The artichoke is king in Castroville. It offers one of the best climates in the world for growing this thistle-plant with a heart of gold.

Saturday & Sunday Tours

Artichoke Field Tours Partnering with Artichoke growers of Castroville host artichoke field tours throughout the day. Learn first hand what it is like to grow and harvest fresh artichokes. Bus departs from the Monterey Fairgrounds GATE 4 and takes groups to a near by artichoke ranch in the Castroville growing region. All tours are approximately 1.5 hours long. Space is limited on each bus.

The Castroville Artichoke Festival is held annually in the Spring/Summer, usually around Memorial Day. The event used to include one of the most colorful and unique parades.  The date changed in 2014 and was held on a separate weekend from the festival.

The event includes chefs demonstrations, showing how to cook delicious and colorful appetizers and meals using artichokes. In addition, there's often a car show, food & vendor booths, and lots of live music ranging from Country Western to rock & roll, and some band with Hispanic roots to reflect the local audience tastes.

Artichoke Festival History

In 1922 when the first artichoke shoots were planted in Castroville. Today, nearly 100% of America's fresh artichoke supply is grown in California and nearly two-thirds grown in the small town of Castroville.

1959 - The first Artichoke Festival was held in 1959 under the sponsorship of the Marinovich Marching Units, with the assistance of the Castroville Rod and Gun Club.

1961 - The festival was a joint venture of the Marinovich Marching Units and the Castroville Chamber of Commerce to produce a larger event, and Sally DeSante was chosen as the first Artichoke Queen.

1963, 1964 and 1965 - Castroville Chamber of Commerce under the direction of the Artichoke Festival Board with Bill Price (one of the originators of the festival idea,) was sole sponsor.

About the Artichoke Festival
California's artichoke history began in 1922 when the first artichoke shoots were planted in Castroville. Today, more than nine decades later, nearly 100 percent of America's fresh artichoke supply is grown in California and nearly two-thirds is grown in the small town of Castroville.

Where to stay? The event has moved and you'll find a variety of hotel options throughout the Monterey peninsula from Monterey to Carmel, Seaside to Marina.

Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.

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