The Artichoke Festival introduces an expanded non-profit partnership program, and new theme for 2020, “Field to Festival,” featuring an increased focus on farming and agricultural education.

CASTROVILLE, California (Jan. 27, 2020) — The Artichoke Festival, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, celebrates its 61st year honoring the California State vegetable on May 30 and 31, 2020, at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center in Monterey. This year’s festival introduces an expanded non-profit partnership program, which includes Hartnell College Foundation and Salinas Valley Arts and Innovation Hub, Salinas Steinbeck Rotary, Partnership for Children, the Marina Lion’s Club, and Monterey Surf Soccer Club. The Festival’s theme, “Field to Festival,” features an increased focus on farming and agricultural education. Artichoke lovers of all ages will enjoy masterful artichoke cooking demos and tasting opportunities, beautiful artichoke-themed art, and plenty of entertainment for a fun-filled weekend. Doors open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 30, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 31.  Festival admission tickets and more info are available at www.ArtichokeFestival.org.

COMMUNITY GROWTH AND EMPOWERMENT

Through expanded partnerships with non-profit organizations on the Central Coast, festival attendees will enjoy more of what the community has to offer while helping the festival provide vital funding support for local charities and non-profit organizations.

Festival proceeds will be shared with non-profit organizations and programs that serve the greater Castroville and Central Coast communities. This year’s lineup of non-profit partners includes Hartnell College Foundation and Salinas Valley Arts and Innovation Hub, Salinas Steinbeck Rotary, Partnership for Children, the Marina Lion’s Club, and Monterey Surf Soccer Club. In addition, proceeds will directly benefit sports and parks and recreation activities in North Monterey County schools, to name a few.

ENTERTAINMENT, ACTIVITIES, AND EVENTS

ARTICHOKES GALORE

Want to get a little more creative with your artichoke recipes? Monterey County’s finest chefs will showcase the versatility of the artichoke and share their own preparation techniques at our Chef Demos. Our current chefs include Daniel Elinan the Executive Chef at The Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa; Pat Hopper, former Manager of the Artichoke Advisory Board, who shares the ABC’s of Artichokes; and Pitmaster Hondo Hernandez with Stonies Taphouse & Bistro. All chef demos will be held on the Chef Demo Stage at the festival and are free with admission to the festival. Visit our website for chef demo updates.

Attendees can get hands-on experience by participating in Field Tours, hosted by Ocean Mist Farms. Artichoke experts will take you on a guided tour of Castroville’s Artichoke fields for a personalized educational experience about what it takes to grow this unique vegetable.

The Canasta Race — the festival’s 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! Contestants get to go home with their harvested Artichokes!

Who can choke down the most chokes? The Artichoke Eating contest is a great way to test your eating skills, or just cheer on your favorite contestant. Winner gets a certificate and a place in the halls of Artichoke Infamy.

WINE, BEER, AND SPIRITS GARDEN

Hosted by the Salinas Steinbeck Rotary, Guests over 21 can visit the Wine and Beer Tasting Garden to enjoy wine tasting, micro brews and spirits from some of the best vintners and brewers in the state. Sunday will be a special day set aside for brewers and enthusiasts of home brewed beer. The Wine & Beer Garden is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

ART

The Ocean Mist Farms AGRO Art Competition on Saturday, May 30, will challenge local artists, culinary whizzes, and kids of all ages to sculpt colorful and 3-dimensional artwork using only fresh produce. Each piece is created that day at the festival to the enjoyment and amazement of festival attendees. Over $6,500 in cash prizes will be awarded in the Ocean Mist Farms AGRO Art competition. Entries are free and judging begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 30 with the announcement of winners at 2 p.m. in the Farmer’s Market.

The Quilt Challenge will feature one-of-a-kind handmade quilts made especially for the Artichoke Festival, and will be on display on Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31. Festival attendees can vote for their favorite artichoke-themed designs, to be announced on Sunday, May 31.

Attendees can experience the many talents of local and budding photographers and artists at the first annual Artichoke Festival Photography and Art Exhibition. Hosted by the Hartnell College Foundation and Salinas Valley Arts and Innovation Hub, the event is free to all festival attendees, and will be located in the Monterey Room. Artist are encouraged to submit their art in support of this local cause. Visit our website’s new arts page to learn more.

CHILDREN AND FAMILY ACTIVITIES

Younger children along with family members of all ages will have fun in the designated Kids Zone, which includes a variety of educational STEM-based activities and hands-on presentations presented by Imagination Gallery.

Arti the Artichoke from Ocean Mist Farms, voted the Salinas-area fan favorite mascot, will be visiting the Kids Zone, farmer’s market, and throughout the festival for high-fives, hugs, and photo opportunities.

Farm and agricultural education is the focus of this year’s festival theme, “Field to Festival.” Festival guests can learn about the food they eat from farm to table, with local growers and producers in our Meet the Farmer interactive exhibition.

PHILANTHROPY

Something very special happening this year is the extension of the festival by one hour on Saturday, May 30th. This gives festival goers more time to enjoy an expanded musical entertainment schedule on the Main Stage, and a brand-new event — The Artichoke Cup Soccer Tournament. Monterey Surf Soccer Club will hold its first inaugural Artichoke Festival invitational soccer tournament in the Pattee Arena on both days of the Festival. 12 corporate teams of 10 adults each will compete in a two-day, 7-on-7 tournament to win the first ever “Artichoke Cup.” A portion of proceeds will benefit this local non-profit youth soccer organization. Admission is free to all festival admission ticket holders. The winning team will be announced on Sunday afternoon, May 31.

Guests are invited to a wonderful afternoon of auctions and artichokes at the festival’s Silent Auction. Featured items include exquisite, limited edition artwork, signed sports and entertainment collectibles, unique home décor, exotic getaways, and much more. Proceeds from the silent auction will benefit the non-profit 501(c)(3) community organizations and activities supported by the Artichoke Festival.

FESTIVAL 5K BEACH RUN

The 2nd Annual Artichoke Festival 5K Beach Run, returns to the Monterey Tides Hotel waterfront in Monterey on May 2, 2020. Runners and walkers alike can run on the beach with the festival’s favorite mascot, Arti the Artichoke, of Ocean Mist Farms. Our 5k beach run is exactly how it sounds, a fun run 100 percent on the sand with the sea breeze blowing in your face. Our first year was a hit and this year should be just as incredible. Come out and join us!

A complete schedule of entertainment events can be found at: https://artichokefestival.org/entertainment-events/

Festival admission tickets are available at www.ArtichokeFestival.org and at the door, ranging from $15 for adults; $5 for youth under 6-12; $10 for active military and seniors (62+). Children 5 and under are free. Field Tours can be reserved for $10 each for adults and youth. Special limited discount ticket packages will include an Arti-Family Pack for two adults and two children for $30 (save $10), and the It’s a Date package for two adults with wine and beer garden tasting tickets for $60 (save $20).

About the Annual Artichoke Festival

The Artichoke Festival began in 1959 and has since developed to become a harvest festival to celebrate the iconic artichoke and region known as the “Artichoke Center of the World.” The festival is produced by a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and features family-fun events for all ages. It has been a primary source of funding for local non-profit groups for many years. For more information, visit http://artichokefestival.org/.

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