Saturday, August 13, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 24

Santa Maria Sun / Eats

Blooming fun


A weekend of petals
Food, fun, and live entertainment mark the 57th annual Lompoc Valley Flower Festival.
About a century ago, a group of dynamic ladies formed the Alpha Literary and Improvement Club of Lompoc, dedicated to the discussion of culture, literature, music, and history. In 1922, they staged their first flower show, an event that now lies at the heart of the Lompoc Valley Flower Festival.

Slated for June 24 through 28, this year’s Lompoc Valley Flower Festival marks the 57th festival to be held in conjunction with the Flower Show, now in its 87th year. In addition to prize-winning floral arrangements, the festival boasts five days of fun, food, and live entertainment.

The festival takes place in Ryon Park, while the Flower Show unfolds at the Anderson Recreation Center. Both events offer locals a chance to mingle with friends and neighbors, while enjoying some of the best entertainment and floral displays the county has to offer.

Even before opening ceremonies on Wednesday evening, look for the park to be jumping with a noon karaoke showcase, followed by the Lompoc Filipino-American Club Dancers. After the festival’s official launch, Wild Wild West Express fills the air with country and golden oldies, and then the Ian Franklin Band belts out pop/rock originals.

Wednesday through Sunday, the festival’s popular Beer Garden offers imbibers a refreshing selection of beverages. At tables under a tent or in the sunshine, visitors can choose between Chablis, blush, and Burgundy, or select from freshly tapped kegs of Budweiser, Coors, Fosters, and Michelob, as well as from a variety of craft brewers.

Fans of Firestone Walker Brewery can sip cool cups of Firestone Walker Pale 31, a British-style ale seasoned with northwest American hops to give it a crisp, floral aroma. Since its introduction in 2002, this golden quaff has triumphed as among the most award-winning American-style pale ales in the country.

Also on tap is the Firestone Walker Reserve. Dark brown, malty, and slightly sweet, this porter-stout hybrid emits an aroma of roasted malts and subtle hops, and makes a tasty dessert float when combined with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Ride on
The Lompoc Valley Flower Festival is held at Ryon Park, 800 W. Ocean Ave. (at the corner of South O Street and West Ocean Avenue), June 24 through 28. The parade rolls on Saturday promptly at 10 a.m. Admission to the park is free. The carnival’s one-day, unlimited ride wristbands cost $25. Riders can also get 24 ride coupons for $20, or single tickets for $1 each. For more information, call 735-8511 or visit
From Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing comes an amber ale called Fat Tire. Named for the company founder’s ramble through Belgium on a bicycle, Fat Tire boasts a fine balance, hoppy freshness, and malt flavors.

Blue Moon Brewing Company weighs in with another ale, while Sierra Nevada Brewing Company pours its most popular beer, the full-bodied Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Rounding out the selection are Shock Top, a Belgian white Witbier-style beer from Anheuser-Busch, and Windermere Hefeweizen, an American-style wheat beer.

Available at the door, tickets for domestic beer cost $4 each, while those for premium beer and wine are $5. In the past, any profits generated by the Beer Garden have gone to worthy organizations, but this year, due to a recent and devastating theft, the funds will go to the Lompoc Valley Festival Association to help support future festivals.

On Saturday morning, the festival’s celebrated parade—featuring bands, flower-covered floats, equestrian units, drill teams, and clowns—rolls promptly at 10. Entries this year include Lompoc’s mayor, contingents from Vandenberg Air Force Base, the Pasadena Cowgirls, and Garcia Dance Studio, as well as Cabrillo
High School Cheer and Marching Band.

Live entertainment reigns every day and into the night, with headliners ranging from Cobalt Blue, playing classic rock and funk, to Kacey Cubero and her new country music. Friday’s roster features the “old school blues” of La Jones Band, classic rock from Smoking Gunz, and the Latin-flavored R&B of Soulamente.

On Saturday, the Lompoc Dance Studio takes the stage, followed by Hart Party, The Fossils, and Desperado, an Eagles tribute band. Sunday’s lineup includes Gymnastics North, Garcia Dance Studio, the indie-rock of Stereo Blue, and Shoobie, an R&B solo act.

The festival carnival features more than 20 amusements, including major attractions, like Cyclone and Whirlwind, as well as family and kiddie rides. Food runs the gamut from tacos and corn dogs, to funnel cakes and strawberry pie, with a mix of ethnic dishes to provide something for everyone.

Open for the duration of the festival, the Commercial Center offers toys, plants, jewelry, and household goods from more than 100 vendors. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, check out the arts and crafts show, where artists and handiworkers show off their paintings, jewelry, ceramics, woodwork, and metal crafts.

In 1952, when Lompoc’s civic organizers realized their annual rodeo duplicated 200 other similar events statewide, they decided to shift gears. Taking note of the region’s impressive flower fields, they joined forces with the ladies of the Alpha Club to create the Lompoc Valley Flower Festival, a city-wide extravaganza of music, food, and dynamic family fun.

K. Reka Badger wants to pin a rose on your nose. Send comments to

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