Pear season in Lake County, California, is fast approaching, and the store shelves will soon be stocked with delicious sweet pears that are ripe and ready to relish. And just 120 miles north of San Francisco—in the small town of Kelseyville, dubbed the “Pear Capital of the World” by USA Today—the annual Kelseyville Pear Festival will celebrate the region’s prolific pear production and rich agricultural heritage on Sept. 29 for the 25th consecutive year.
The Kelseyville Pear Festival is one of those charming and classic small-town Americana feasts that offers its own lineup of parades, performances and of course the finest pears and edible pear-themed creations in the region. No other festival even “com-pears.”
“It’s a festival that’s truly put on by the whole village,” said festival co-chair Sharron Zoller, noting it is an all-volunteer event. And it is spectacular, attracting 10,000 visitors each year and providing a feast for your senses as well as your sweet tooth.
The high point of the festival is the Saturday morning parade at 9:30 a.m., with floats, antique cars, horse-drawn wagons and more. All of the floats are pear-themed, including a welded pear sculpture that breathes fire. “You’ll see how clever folks are with the theme,” Zoller said.
Prior to the parade, the seaplanes from the nearby Clear Lake Splash In will do a flyby above the Pear Festival. “I don’t want to say it’s better than the Blue Angels,” Zoller said, “but it’s pretty cool.”
Right after the parade, the pear party kicks into high gear and gets serious with more than 100 food vendors and three stages featuring live music. You’ll also see the Kelseyville Pear Festival prince and princess pear holding court, an adorable tradition adapted from the essays of local fifth-graders.
“The fifth-grade classes at the elementary school in Kelseyville are offered the opportunity to write an essay about pears and what pears mean to them,” Zoller said. “From those essays, a prince and a princess are selected via their best essays.”
The 25th Annual Kelseyville Pear Festival kicks off with a farm to fork dinner and street dance on Friday night, Sept. 29, in the middle of Main Street. The Funky Dozen will perform live under the stars to get you in a Pear Festival state of mind.
For those aspiring dessert chefs looking to try their hand at a custom-made dessert, the Pear Dessert Contest is open to the public and anyone with a recipe involving fresh, canned, frozen or dried pears. Submit an online application, and may the best pear preparer win. You can also put your stomach to the test with the “Pear Pie” eating contest on September, 30th.
Take a trip to “pear-adise” for the Kelseyville Pear Festival, Saturday, Sept. 26 in Lake County, California. It’s a magical small-town American food festival that captures the agricultural history and spirit of Kelseyville—the town that makes a great pear.