Agricultural education and the future of the community are the central focus of this year’s Artichoke Festival theme, “The Heart of the Harvest.”
The 62nd annual festival’s dates are Saturday and Sunday, June 11-12, 2022, at the historic Monterey County Fair and Event Center at 2004 Fairground Road, in Monterey. Advance tickets are now on sale on its official website, https://artichokefestival.org/tickets/, or at the gate on the days of the festival.
The festival will showcase the full range of tastes that the Monterey County farming community has to offer: artichoke cooking demonstrations by local celebrity chefs; a bountiful farmer’s market with freshly harvested produce from Monterey County and beyond; an artichoke agricultural education exhibit; live stage entertainment; family-friendly fun activities; and artichokes prepared in a variety of delicious ways, including the fan-favorite fried baby artichokes, plus artichokes steamed, grilled, and in unique forms such as lumpia, burritos, sausage, cupcakes and even ice cream.
Again this year, festival-goers will enjoy artichoke-eating and harvest contests, arts and crafts vendors, a family fun run, and the ever-popular wine tasting event, featuring the wines of small production, boutique wineries from around California.
In 2022, the festival is expecting to host at least 8,000 visitors over the course of the two-day event.
Families and festival-goers will enjoy a world-famous farmer’s market, sponsored by Ocean Mist Farms, the largest grower of artichokes in the U.S. Returning this year are an expanded ag education exhibit, and live entertainment on two stages. Other popular features returning this year are arts and crafts vendors, the artichoke harvest and artichoke-eating contests, an artichoke-themed quilt competition, and back by popular demand, wine tasting.
New this year is a family fun run, for participants age 4 to adult, who can dress up as their favorite veggie while they run for their heart’s delight — and for goodies and prizes.
Advance Festival admission tickets are available atwww.ArtichokeFestival.org, and at the door, ranging from $15 for adults; $5 for youth 6-12, $10 for active military and seniors (62+). Children under 6 are free. Wine Tasting passes are sold separately; $25 per adult (21+). Special discount ticket packages will include the “Family Pack” for two adults and two children for $30 (save $10), and the “It’s a Date” package for two adults with wine tasting tickets for $70 (save $10).
The hearts and minds of the festival organization are focused on enriching the lives of the next generation — by supporting the programs that serve them, the festival helps build a future in which they’ll have the skills and knowledge they’ll need to grow and flourish as community-minded leaders. Artichoke Festival proceeds will benefit nonprofit organizations and programs that serve the Monterey County community. Among them are Partnership for Children, the Arts Council for Monterey, and the Marina Lion’s Club, and also include local senior centers, sports, arts, and parks and recreation activities in North Monterey County schools, and community enrichment programs for youth, to name a few.
The Artichoke Festival has plenty of fun for the whole family, including:
- A world-famous farmers’ market that offers fresh artichokes, along with other seasonal produce such as asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, peas, fennel, green onions, leeks, mixed lettuce, rapini, spinach and so many other fruits and vegetables, at prices that can’t be beat.
- Daily cooking demonstrations with local chefs, who will showcase the artichoke’s versatility, and the unique techniques you can take home to prepare the vegetable in your own kitchen. Chef demos will be hosted again this year by Partnership for Children, a local nonprofit organization supporting families with children experiencing serious illness.
- Special delicious dishes from the ArtichokeFood Court, made with artichokesharvested in Monterey County, from appetizers to dessert.
The Central Coast hosts a wondrous array of local entertainment talent, and the Festival’s main stage will showcase some of the most popular bands and entertainers from the area. The family stage will showcase acts sure to please even the youngest members of the family. Live entertainment on the main stage and the family stage are free to all attendees.
Saturday the featured Main Stage band is homegrown: the Lost Boys, featuring "American Idol" alum and frontman James Durbin, have been entertaining fans on the Central Coast for the last seven-plus years with their blend of classic rock covers, mainly from the ’70s and ’80s.
Sunday, Shane Dwight brings his own mix of blues-rock, country and soul. Hailing from Morgan Hill, Dwight has crisscrossed this country and the world many times. In June he returns home for a special engagement to bring his music to his longtime fans.
The Main Stage doesn’t stop rocking, with the best local cover bands filling up the bill on both days: Saturday, the John Michael Band, an excellent rock dance band will take fans on a musical adventure from one song to another. And on Sunday, the Money Band, fronted by charismatic lead vocalist and harmonica player Zoe Alexander, performing every style from country to funk to disco to classic rock, reggae, modern rock and pop with a remarkable intensity and fire that garners new fans and critical acclaim wherever and whenever they play.
Wine tasting returns by popular demand both days of the Festival as it hosts California wineries from Santa Barbara to Grass Valley, and Santa Cruz to Lodi. Guests over 21 can stroll and sip wines, visit with the vintners, and even enter a raffle on site for a chance to win a barrel full of wine to enjoy all year long. Tasting passes are sold separately.
For the ultimate escape, Escape Room 831 of Monterey will host an escape room challenge for festival-goers of all ages. Fans can race to solve a puzzling, classic murder mystery, while sharing a thrilling, bonding activity they won’t forget. Tickets sold separately at the event.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
A Quilt Competition will feature one-of-a-kind handmade quilts made especially for the Artichoke Festival, and will be on display on Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12. Festival attendees can vote for their favorite People’s Choice Award, to be announced on Sunday.
Local treasures abound! Arts and crafts vendors will set up shop for guests to peruse everything from candy apples and artichoke hummus, to beautiful jewelry, soaps and lotions. You’ll find many fun, unique handmade items you can’t find in stores.
Join the festival for a wonderful afternoon of auctions and artichokes at the Silent Auction. Featured items will 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 nonprofit 501(c)(3) community organizations and activities supported by the Artichoke Festival.
The Family Fun Run will be held on the Monterey County & Event Center on the second day of the Festival, Sunday, June 12, starting at 8 a.m. Participants age 4 to adult are invited to come as they are or come as their favorite veg, for a full 2K course around the perimeter of the fairgrounds. Everyone gets a goodie bag, and winners get prizes and photo ops with Pete the Cat, Curious George, and some of our favorite veggie friends. Sign-up in advance through the website at artichokefestival.org.
Family members of all ages will have fun in the Festival’s Kid’s Zone area, with an obstacle course, family stage entertainment, local music and dance groups, and storytelling.
Inspiring and immersive learning activities for the young and young at heart will be provided by the Central Coast Mobile Fab Lab, with a mobile STEM learning experience, sponsored by Chevron, Monterey County Office of Education, California State University at Monterey Bay, and Hartnell College. Sunday, June 12, only.
Explore the art of the artichoke. For a truly hands-on experience, the Arts Council for Monterey County will offer art activities and a mural project where small hands can make their big ideas come to life. Enjoy kid-friendly, family fun creative activities that will stimulate the artist in everyone.
Festival guests can learn about the food they eat from farm to table, with local growers and producers at our “Meet the Grower” interactive exhibit. This crash course in artichoke husbandry by Castroville’s artichoke growing experts will be held in the Farmers Market, both days of the Festival.
The 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! Attendees can sign up at the Festival Information booth.
How many artichokes can you choke down? Find out, and win bragging rights at our Artichoke Eating Contest, both days at the Main Stage. Sign up at the Festival Information booth.
Now in its 62nd year, the Artichoke Festival celebrates the California State Vegetable and the region known as the “Artichoke Center of the World.” With this year’s theme “The Heart of the Harvest,” the festival showcases the iconic vegetable that has captured our hearts for decades — the artichoke!
Nearly 100 percent of America’s artichoke supply comes from California, with nearly two-thirds of California’s crop grown around Castroville. Ocean Mist Farms, the largest artichoke grower in the U.S. and long-time supporter of the festival, has a nearly 100 year legacy of growing fresh vegetables in California.
The artichoke was named the official vegetable of Monterey County on December 16, 1986. In 2014, the artichoke was proclaimed the official California State Vegetable by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. In 2021, the artichoke was nominated and won “best specialty crop” in Monterey County Weekly Magazine.
About the Artichoke Festival
California’s artichoke history began 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 in 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 1961 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. 1963 began with the Festival’s sole sponsorship 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.
The Artichoke Festival is produced by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose hearts and minds are focused on enriching the lives of the next generation, continuing a legacy to build a future in which our area’s youth will have the skills and knowledge they’ll need to grow and flourish as community-minded leaders.