GOINGS ON : Avocado Festival Offers a Taste of the Exotic : Carpinteria's annual celebration will feature new twists on pizza and ice cream, as well as the 'world's largest bowl of guacamole.'

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It wasn't long ago that Carpinteria's California Avocado Festival was a simple, small-town celebration of just another one of those green fruits. But now, in its eighth year, the festival has become a major attraction, bringing in food-fest lovers from all over.

This year's festival will be held along the city's downtown Linden Avenue, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

As it has been in past years, the "world's largest bowl of guacamole" (200 gallons of the stuff) will be one of the more eye-catching highlights of the celebration of this tropical fruit native to the New World.

Of course, the avocado will be an ingredient in many dishes served over the weekend. Keep an eye out for avocado ice cream, avocado pizza, avocado and chocolate brownies and avocado sushi. As for entertainment of the inedible variety there will be music, street entertainers and an arts and crafts show.

The Magical Moonshine theater company will present a family puppet and mask show, at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. both days, at the Guacamole Bowl on 8th Street. And the 27th Annual Carpinteria Flower and Plant Show, featuring entries from 25 growers and local florists, will be held under the festival's big top throughout the festival.

Admission to all this and more is free. Call 684-0038 for more information.

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Before the Avocado Festival actually gets under way, the Carpinteria Poetry Workshop will pay tribute to it with the fifth annual Poetry Harvest, Friday at The Deli House in Carpinteria.

Readings will be given by about a dozen poets from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties--including Ventura's Shelly Sevren, winner of Poet Magazine's 1994 John David Johnson Memorial Award, and Joseph Gallo, first prize winner at the 1994 Santa Barbara Poetry Festival. The readings will run from 7-9 p.m. Admission is free. The Deli House is located at 666 Linden Ave. For more information, call 684-3479 or 684-5808.

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Speaking of festivals, the Season of Festivals at Santa Barbara's Oak Park will come to a close this weekend with the 13th annual German Oktoberfest. The theme this year is the 1819 wedding of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and his bride, Theresa. There will be German food, merchandise, dancing and an oom-pah-pah band playing all weekend. The festival will run from noon to sundown Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. The park is located off the Mission Street exit of U.S. 101. For more information, call 967-6422.

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Here's a toad-ally cool event.

The Santa Barbara Zoo will host its 23rd Annual Zoo-B-Que on Sunday, with proceeds going toward an Arroyo toad conservation project. Zoo folks are working with state and federal officials to save the toad, an endangered species native to Los Padres National Forest.

As for the fun and games, there will be camel rides, music, clowns, and of course a barbecue--tri-tip or vegetarian.

Festivities will go from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for anyone older than 8, free for everyone else. The zoo is located at 500 Ninos Drive. Call 963-5339 for more information.

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The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History will kick off a series of events focusing on Native American culture and tradition, Sunday, with a presentation by the "Traditional Cahuilla Bird Singers.

Led by master singer Alvino Siva, the ensemble will share the legends of how the Cahuilla ancestors arrived in Southern California.

The program will begin at 2 p.m. with a Chumash welcome, sung by Julie Tumamait. Admission is free. The museum is located at 2559 Puesta del Sol Road. Call 682-4711.

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