CASTROVILLE — In 1959, the Central Coast community gathered to celebrate the harvest of the iconic vegetable and the region that became known as the “Artichoke Center of the World.”
Soon festival goers will gather again, this time to celebrate the 60th anniversary of what is now known as the Castroville Artichoke Food & Wine Festival, set for June 1-2 at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center in Monterey.
California’s artichoke history begins in 1922 when the first artichoke shoots were planted in Castroville. Today, more than nine decades later, nearly 100 percent of America’s fresh artichoke supply is grown in California and nearly two-thirds is grown near the small town of Castroville.
The first Artichoke Festival was held in 1959 under the sponsorship of the Marinovich Marching Units, with the assistance of the Castroville Rod and Gun Club.
In ’61 it was a joint venture of the Marinovich Marching Units and the Castroville Chamber of Commerce to produce a larger festival, and Sally DeSante was chosen as the first Artichoke Queen.
From ’63-65 it was solely sponsored by the Castroville Chamber of Commerce under the direction of the Artichoke Festival Board with Bill Price, one of the originators of the festival idea.
Advance tickets and discounted ticket packages for this year’s event are available online at artichokefestival.org.
General admission is $15 for those 13 and older; seniors 62 and older and military personnel with ID are $10; children ages 6-12 are $5; general admission for one adult, including a wine tasting pass is $40 (must be 21 years or older); wine tasting alone is $30.
Field tours are $10, good for any adult or child 5-12. Daily tour schedules will be announced at the festival.
Online purchases are available through 9 a.m. June 2. No refunds.
Two discounted packages are also available, the Arti-Family Pack and the It’s A Date package. The former is $30, a $10 saving over the regular price. It includes two adult tickets and two children’s tickets, good for Saturday or Sunday. This early bird discount ends May 18, 2019, at 12 a.m. No refunds.
The It’s A Date package for 21 and older, $60, a savings of $20, includes two adult tickets and two wine and beer tasting tickets, good for Saturday or Sunday. This early bird discount also ends May 18, 2019, at 12 a.m. No refunds.
The festival’s live entertainment lineup is free with festival admission and will be held on the Main Stage.
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. Guests must be 21 to enter.