The annual Avocado and Margarita Festival will be larger and better than ever next month in Morro Bay.

Along with its popularity the past few years, the fest has been growing in the number of attractions it offers.

Last year was the first time my husband, Dan Hardesty, and I attended, and we will always be fans.

What’s better than a wine, brew, cocktail, food, music and arts and crafts event where your children are welcome, and kids under 10 get in free? There is a new “GromZone,” an entertainment section with games so your children are happy and joining the fun. Also for kids will be face painting, a mini avocado toss and Dr. Nicks’s Magic Show. 

Which means you can indulge (safely, of course) in a couple of adult privileges like great Central Coast wines and brews, plus those amazing margaritas. There are plenty of great local chefs, caterers local farms providing delicious eats, and new recipes featuring avocados, the stars of the show. That’s my idea of one yummy celebration.

The food specialists provide delicious treats made with California avocados, such as crunchy avocado toast, citrusy guacamole with warm, crispy corn tortilla chips, peak of the season avocado-based salads and warm tostadas with melty cheese and guacamole, not to mention decadent desserts. Until sampling the delicious wares at this event, I never imagined I would ever say I love avocado-chocolate mousse or avocado-lemon tartlets, yet those dishes were fantastic. It may even be difficult to eat just one dessert.

Our favorite of the two major events last year was the lovely Taste of the Grove on Friday evening at the Packing Shed, which is a short drive from the Morro Bay Harbor. It was a beautiful night at the historic farm, where the treats were unending.

As we followed the circle of tables winding around the grassy lawn, we were offered refined tastes of avocado-based dishes, fines wines, craft brews and killer guacamole. Believe it or not, avocado tastes delicious whether you are drinking, red, white or Rose wine.

This year, Taste of the Grove, takes place Sept. 8 from 5 until 8 p.m. at the Packing Shed. Along with fine wines, brews, cocktails and music, a local chef will demonstrate cooking with avocados. Among the food specialists you’ll find will be Fig Good Food, Flora and Fauna, Olea Farm (an olive oil specialist), Trumpet Vine Catering, Thomas Hill Organics and Two Cooks Catering.

The main event takes place Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The $5 entry fee ($7 at the door) is a good value and includes the live music but you must purchase your food and beverages at the many booths throughout the site. Bands throughout the day include the Mighty Croon Dogs, Force “Em, Ricky Montijo, the Dork Band and Lulu & the Cowtippers. There will also be a raffle for a year's supply of avocados and other prizes.

For more information, such as the time schedule and deals on motels, visit www avomargfest.com.

Bon appetit!

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Kathy Marcks Hardesty can be reached at kathy@centralcoastcritic.com.