With a diverse population and an economy built on everything from cinema to citrus, Southern California is a place where festivals of every type take place year round — like Little Tokyo's Nisei Week celebrating Japanese culture, the Coachella Valley Music Festival held in the High Desert, or wacky one-of-a-kind events like Santa Barbara's Solstice Parade down State Street each June. Among the festivals students enjoyed this fall was the nearby Carpinteria's annual Avocado Festival, boasting the world's largest vat of guacamole.

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BRANDY GETS A LESSON in all things avocado from one of the festival's dozens of vendors.

IS THE CONE MADE OF CORN CHIPS? Stephen Shirk '12 and Lizzy Schmitter '12 slurp down avocado ice cream.

AVO FEST FANATICS: Students brace for an avocado adventure at this three-day festival in October.

GUACAMOLE ANYONE? Katie Nichols '11 and Brandy Newton '09 delve into the wonders of the California Avocado Festival in Carpinteria, home to the world's largest vat of guacamole.

WITH SANTA BARBARA next door and L.A. a short drive away, bands of all stripes added to the festivities.

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