Friday, August 6, 2010

Pear Fair | Courtland, CA

Of all the food festivals that we've had the pleasure of visiting, only one holds a sentimental place in my heart: Courtland's Pear Fair. Now, there's nothing particularly unique that sets the Pear Fair apart from any other food festival. Rather, it is the only one where my grandmother had been a participant, representing the best the Sacramento Delta has to offer in terms of hospitality, knowledge, and a passion for good food. Bringing her together with the Pear Fair was a match made in heaven, and as kids growing up in her shadow, we had front row seats. As I recall, she not only shared stories of what it was like to live in the Delta, but she was also not shy to talk about one of the region's leading crops. It seemed like there wasn't a thing she didn't know ... But I'm digressing.

So, what is the
Courtland Pear Fair? For starters, it began in 1972 as a moderate celebration to welcome the Bartlett Pear harvest. Since then, it has become a long standing summer tradition reflecting both the character and lifestyle of rural life while offering a wonderful day of entrainment, festivities, food, and drink to over 8000 annual visitors. Admission is free, however, proceeds that are raised throughout the day via parking, food sales, and souvenirs go to support educational scholarships and programs as well as the Courtland Volunteer Fire Association. So, not only are you in for good time, but you're helping to sustain a community.

During our recent visit, we began the day by attending an all-you-can-eat breakfast, which featured dollar-sized pancakes and home-made pear sausage. We followed this with a walk through the arts-and-crafts
pavilion, the history museum, and the cocktail garden where one can sample pear-tinis, pear mojitos, and a selection of pear ciders.

There's a little bit of everything for everyone, including food competitions (don't miss the pie eating contests), cooking demonstrations (learn how to make a pear cooler), and a parade (check out the newly crowned Pear Queen and her court of Junior Pears). And the food? With no shortage of vendors, you're certain to find something whether its pear ice cream, pear strudel, pear crisps, pear bread, and, of course, Courtland's famous pear pie. Nothing is held back here, folks, and it's not hard to see why this is one of the most anticipated events along the Delta.

So, now you know why my grandmother never hesitated to donate her time at the
Courtland Pear Fair, and why going to the fair with my own family has special meaning. My memories of her will always be cherished.


  1. What an amazing post! How yummy it is! Thanks so much for staying with us! I'm glad that you're back, so I'll be checking your blog regularly. Thanks again and keep in touch with us by following this site! Good luck!

  2. Is there a good place to purchase a pear pie other than the fair?