Seniors Check Out Avenal

documentThe City of Avenal was named by Spanish soldiers and explorers. Senior students of Spanish know that “avena” means oats, and “avenal” means oatfield. This area was covered with wild oats, “waist high,” that looked like golden silk and covered the Kettleman Plains.

Avenal is known as “The Oasis in the Sun” and “The Pistachio Capital of the World.” Do you like pistachios like I do? I am addicted. Head for Avenal. Avenal is located close to the exact center of California.


A large employer of Avenal is the State Prison that employs over 1,500.  Avenal’s population runs just over 13,000. The State Prison holds over 4,000 inmates and accounts for about 32% of the total population of Avenal. Inmates are counted as city residents by both the United States Census and the California Department of Finance.

 Seniors Find Town With Rich History

In the early 1980s, “almost everyone” in the town of Avenal desired the prison to be built to improve the economic status of the town. It was reportedly “the first prison to be solicited by a local community”.

As of 1984, the plans were to build “the largest enclosed security compound in the nation.” Although today Avenal and its economy are largely reliant on the Avenal State Prison and agriculture, Avenal was once a booming oil town known as the “Oil Fields Capital.”


Love for the rich history of Avenal is evident when talking to the community members responsible for maintaining the Avenal Historical Society.  This treasure of Kings County would be one of the first places this senior would head for in Avenal.

Seniors Enjoy Avenal’s Rich Surroundings

Avenal has an annual celebration held on the first weekend in May called Avenal Old Timers Day. There are 79 Tourist attractions in or near Avenal: Wineries, Breweries, and Islay Falls and up the road a piece is the large head of John Muir in Visalia. If you happen to be a former fan of James Dean, the last place he stopped for gas, in Lost Hills, is 26 miles from Avenal.


I note that J Lohr Wineries is only 34 miles from Avenal. I’d surely want to visit there for some professional wine tasting. Check out the California For Visitors site, seniors, where you can learn about Kings County as well as California’s Central Valley.

Avenal Sand Drags is a state of the art 300′ sand drag racing facility. Avenal is also home to the Central California Soaring Club headquartered at the Avenal Gliderport, one of the few glider-only airports in the western United States, and one of only a few in the entire US that owns/operates its own airport. A soaring contest is held there every spring.

 Thanks for joining me today, seniors, and enjoy Avenal. -jeb

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