all began as the Welburn's annual 4th of July party
at their farm in De Luz Canyon near Fallbrook, CA.
The whole canyon turned out to enjoy Polynesian-style
pork cooked in the ground, horseshoes, card games,
and just visiting with Doug & Sue Welburn.
The Welburn's gourd farm business was
starting to flourish, and as a way of promoting gourds
and bringing people out to the farm, Doug decided
to combine the annual 4th of July party with a new
event focused on gourds.
So with the support and encouragement
of Carol Rookstool and the California Gourd Society,
in June of 1997 the annual Welburn Gourd
Festival was born.
first year there were about 13 gourd artists displaying
on the front lawn of Doug and Sue’s home,
one food vendor selling kahlua pork with sides,
buffet style (see photo above), and one Hawaiian
Hula Halau for entertainment who performed for about
2 hours on Saturday. The attendance for the two-day
weekend event was approximately 1,500 people.
The Second Annual Welburn Gourd Festival was enhanced
by the addition of the first Gourd Art Competition
in California, inspired by Carol’s enthusiasm
and monitored by CGS.
The competition was such a success that after one
turn of being held in Doug’s
shed, the Competition was moved to a larger tent
set up outdoors, and it continues to be one of the
greatest attractions of the festival.
During the first two years of festival preparations,
Doug & Sue’s daughter, Phoebe Welburn, was
enjoying her service in the Peace Corps. By year three
with the festival and business growing by leaps and
bounds, Phoebe had finished her service and came home
to help her parents.
of mouth and Phoebe’s marketing campaign perpetuated
the festival even further. And after four years
on Doug & Sue’s 25-acre property, the
festival and the gourd farm business were moved
to the Garnsey Ranch, the 110-acre parcel that included
the gourd growing fields, just three miles down
With the attendance nearing five figures and the
attention of international artists and attendees,
the event was renamed the International Gourd Art
to add even more promotion for gourd art and crafts,
in October 2002, the Welburn Gourd Farm hosted its
first annual October Gourd & Pumpkin Fest. The
one-day mini festival, complete with gourd art and
crafts, gourd art classes, pumpkins, and festivities,
was a great success!
With two festivals, planting and harvesting of over
60 acre of gourds, and selling over 350,000 gourds
each year, there is always something happening at
the Welburn Gourd Farm. The best way to keep informed
with the happenings at the Welburn Gourd Farm, including
Gourd Art Classes, the June and October Gourd Festivals,
and gourd sales, is to sign up on the gourd farm
mailing list. To subscribe, click