Good Things Come in Pears at Kelseyville Pear Festival
September 20, 2016
The sweet spot of the season is coming up in the small town of Kelseyville, California, a little-known agricultural capital about 85 miles north of San Francisco. Kelseyville owns the distinct title of “Pear Capital of the World” and, as it does every year, celebrates its “pear-itage” with an adorable rural celebration on Sept. 24 called the Kelseyville Pear Festival.
This one-day jubilee of all things pear-related features a parade, concerts, contests, activities and, naturally, delicious pear dishes and culinary creations your taste buds will savor.
You better believe that Kelseyville knows how to prepare its pears into all manner of delicious culinary delights. The town is located in the California wine country region of Lake County—an area that produces nearly half of the fresh pears sold in California. Next to winegrapes, pears are Lake County’s biggest cash crop, and will take center stage when the Kelseyville Pear Festival brings 10,000 pear lovers together from across the country.
But the Kelseyville Pear Festival also serves up restaurant “pearings” where the region’s top chefs feature their finest pear concepts. The region’s best vintners and mixologists also show off their small-batch pear wines and pear cocktails. Here are a few of the annual favorites you can expect at the Kelseyville Pear Festival.
This year’s festival premieres the Wine Tasting Pavilion, sponsored by the Lake County Wine Association. Wine “pearings” will feature Lake County’s most prestigious award-winning wineries—including Mt. Konocti Winery, the inventors of the Lady of the Lake Sparkling Pear Wine that combines Lake County’s two biggest agricultural assets into one delicious drink. You’ll also find tasting tables from Rosa d’Oro Vineyards, Smiling Dogs Ranch and Wildhurst Vineyards.
Pears pack a punch when served as pear margaritas, the pear festival’s longtime unofficial favorite beverage. Enjoy as many pear margaritas as you want, but don’t drive home while im-pear-ed.
If you like apple pie, wait until you try the sweeter and softer magic of a Kelseyville-grown pear pie. Or if you think you can make a better one, consider signing up for the Kelseyville Pear Festival Dessert Contest, which gives you a chance at gift certificates to local restaurants and a spot in the parade.
You’ll see pear floats in the 9:30 a.m. Kelseyville Pear Festival parade, but your sweet tooth will want one of the famous, smooth and cool pear shakes afterward. Served in the air-conditioned confines of Kelseyville Presbyterian Church, all proceeds from the pear shake sales go to the church’s youth programs.
Pear Ice Cream
You may have tried a hundred different ice cream flavors, but have you tried pear ice cream? It comes in cones and bowls at the Kelseyville Pear Festival and is an annual fair favorite for both kids and pear-ents.
Lake County’s famous Bartlett pears are enjoyed all over California and get their due at this charming, small-town Americana fair. Peel over to Lake County, and maybe even make a stay of it for the following weekend’s Oktoberfest Lakeport.
It’s a great way to support Lake County’s fire recovery efforts and a great celebration of the small-town agriculture that puts food on a big number of tables.