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Top Annual Events in California

Top Annual Events in California

This is our BIG list of annual events selected from the most popular travel destinations in California and Western Nevada.

To search for a specific travel destination's top events such as Santa Cruz or Lake Tahoe, please select the desired location from the Destination Explorer and search away!
   

January

10th Annual Mendocino Crab and Wine Days – January 23-24, 2009  Mendocino, California

Recently listed as one of the Top 10 Seafood & Wine Festivals in Coastal Living Magazine, this fun FUNdraiser features two of Mendocino County's most highly prized commodities: Dungeness Crab and Premier Wines!   More >>

ZAP's Annual Zinfindel Festival – January 28-31, 2009  San Francisco, California

ZAP's Zinfandel Festival is an internationally recognized series of tasting events. Renown as the premier single-varietal tasting in the world, an estimated 275 wineries and over 10,000 attendees partake in the four days of Festival events. The ZAP Zinfandel Festival is held exclusively in San Francisco, and traditionally is a sell-out.  More >>

21st Annual Winter Wine and Food Fest – January 31, 2009  Sacramento, California

Benefiting Make-A-Wish Foundation — More than 60 renowned Northern California wineries, 60 local restaurants and 7 microbreweries gather at the Sacramento Convention with their finest foods and wines to taste.  More >>

Napa Valley Mustard Festival – January 31 – Mar 28, 2009  Napa Valley, California

The Mustard Season offers a full palette of food, wine, art, entertainment, and cultural activities staged throughout the world-famous grape growing region when fields, vineyards, and hillsides are vibrant with wild mustard in bloom.  More >>

February

San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival and Parade – February 27, 2010 San Francisco, CA

Over 100 units will participate in the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade. A San Francisco tradition since just after the Gold Rush, the parade continues to delight and entertain the many hundreds of thousands of people that come to watch it on the street or tune in to watch it on television.  More >>

Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook Off and Festival – February 20, 2010  Santa Cruz, California

Teams of chowder chefs come from all over the West Coast to compete for the prestigious award of “Best Clam Chowder.” Whip up your favorite recipe for red or white chowder or just come and sample the delicious variety of chowder and fun at the Boardwalk. Admission free. Tasting kits $8.00. 4th Annual International Alsace Varietals Festival – February 20-21, 2010  Boonville, California

Come join us in beautiful Anderson Valley for a weekend in celebration of your favorite aromatic white wines! This 4th annual event highlights Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Muscat, made by the world’s finest producers of Alsace-style wines. It’s the only event like it in the entire country, so make sure not to miss it!

March

St. Patrick's Day

San Francisco's St. Patrick's Day Parade – March 14, 2009

San Francisco, CA   For more than 157 years, this has been an annual event to demonstrate Irish culture

San Francisco's 157th Annual St. Patrick's Day Festival – March 13, 2010

San Francisco, California

The 158th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in San Francisco is a well established event with historic ties to the city. The parade itself is a huge draw for attendees from all different demographics and ethnicity.  A festival follows the parade.

Back to top >>

April

42nd  Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival

Japantown, San Francisco, California

Each year, over 200,000 people attend this dazzling display showcasing the color and grace of the Japanese culture and the diversity of the Japanese American Community.

Festival: Saturday and Sunday, April 11 & 12, 18 & 19, 2009 Queen Program: Saturday, April 11, 2009 Grand Parade: Sunday, April 19, 2009

26th Annual International Beer Festival – April 25, 2009

San Francisco, California

Sample over 300 incredible beers from some of the best craft brewers in the world. Taste a delicious variety of offerings from some of San Francisco’s best restaurants.

28th Annual Petaluma Butter & Egg Day – April 25, 2009

Petaluma, California

Petaluma’s Butter & Eggs Parade and Celebration is in its 28th year,and has become a tradition in Downtown Petaluma, celebrating the region’s rich agricultural history as one of the premier dairy regions in the country.

May

7th Annual Reno River Festival – May 2009

Reno, Nevada

Known for attracting top professional kayakers and amateur athletes from around the world, the weekend also includes live music each day, yoga in the park, an industry expo featuring the hottest outdoor products on the market, food and beer gardens, and plenty of nighttime activities to keep guests entertained.

San Carlos Hometown Days – May 15 – 17, 2009

San Carlos, CA

A family favorite festival in San Carlos.  More >>

Cooking for Solutions – May 15-16, 2009 

Monterey Bay Aquarium, California

Great chefs, gourmet cuisine and fine wines make this the culinary event of the year—an elegant way to discover how your healthy choices protect the health of the soil, water and ocean wildlife.  More >>

Uncorked! The San Francisco Wine Festival – May 16, 2009 

San Francisco, California

Experience the ambience of the waterfront and entertainment along Beach Street and throughout Ghirardelli Square’s courtyards while you enjoy tastings from a variety of participating Northern California wineries.   More >>

50th Artichoke  Festival – May 16-17, 2009 

Castroville, California

This event features food, music, parade, and car show.  More >>

The Watsonville Fly-in and Air Show – May 22-24, 2009  

More >>

Bay Area Kid Fest – May 23 – 25, 2009

Concord, CA

A fun and educational event for children and their families. KidFest is held annually in Todos Santos Plaza on Memorial Day Weekend.  More >>

June

Northern California Blues Festival  June 13-14, 2009 

San Francisco, California   More >>

North Beach Festival – June 14-15, 2008 

San Francisco, California

The country’s original outdoor arts & crafts festival celebrates its 54th anniversary with Juried Arts & Crafts Exhibitions and Sales, Celebrity Pizza Toss, Live Entertainment Stages with Alternative, Rhythm & Blues, Latin Rock, Pop Rock, Reggae, Salsa and Swing, Cooking Stage, and Celebrity Chefs.   More >>

Back to top >>

July

Fourth of July

South Lake Tahoe – A truly awe-inspiring display.  There are several locations to get a front row seat.

San Francisco – Fisherman's Wharf is San Francisco's premier spot to celebrate America's Independence Day holiday.  Pier 39

Port of Redwood City

San Jose's American Festival

Alameda County Fair – July 2009 

Pleasanton, California 94566

The annual fair offers a variety of activities – something for everyone!   More >>

31st Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival – July 24-26, 2009 

Gilroy, California

Three days of incredible food, arts and crafts, live entertainment, and cooking demonstrations.  More >>

Hot August Nights – July 31 – August 9, 2009

Reno, Nevada

Shine your Chevy, detail your Deuce Coupe and hustle your hot rod over to Reno and Sparks' Hot August Nights for a celebration of America's love affair with cars and rock & roll July 31 – August 9, 2009.   More >>

August

Hot August Nights – July 31 – August 9, 2009 Reno, Nevada

Shine your Chevy, detail your Deuce Coupe and hustle your hot rod over to Reno and Sparks' Hot August Nights for a celebration of America's love affair with cars and rock & roll July 31 – August 9, 2009.   More >>

San Mateo County Fair – August 15 – 23, 2009 

San Mateo, California

Whether you enjoy carnival rides, competitive exhibits or enjoy big name entertainment, the fair has something for everyone!   More >>

14th Annual Bluesapalooza & Festival of Beers – July 31 to August 2, 2009 

Mammoth Lakes, California

Great lineup of blues talent, food and microbrews.     More >>

September

Pittsburg Seafood Festival – September  2008 

Pittsburg, California  More >>

13th Annual Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival – September 12 & 13, 2009 

San Francisco, California  More >>

Art Bark Fest – Animal Art & Wine Festival – September 19-20, 2009 

The Village at Squaw Valley, California

The Art Bark Fest was created to combine the love of art & wine with the love of animals and is one of the only animal themed fine arts and wine festival in the country.  Benefit for Humane Society Truckee-Tahoe & Squaw Rescue Dogs.  More >>

October

Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival – October 18-19, 2008 Half Moon Bay, California

Half Moon Bay heralds in All Hallows Eve with rustic pumpkin patches, harvest-inspired arts and crafts, entertainment, contests, food, wine and beer, and activities. It all creates a wonderful atmosphere of fun, fun and more fun.  Admission is free.  More >>

33rd Annual Monterey Wine Festival – October 1 & 2, 2009 

Monterey, California  More >>

Halloween Festivals

Top Parades and Festivals – Going to a real pumpkin patch and selecting the perfect pumpkin create wonderful family memories and marks the beginning of the Fall festivities

•  Half Moon Bay Pumpkin and Art Festival

•  San Francisco Halloween Parade –

Top Pumpkin Patches – Going to a real pumpkin patch and selecting the perfect pumpkin create wonderful family memories and marks the beginning of the Fall festivities

•  Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Patches

•  Santa Cruz Pumpkin Patches –

•  San Joaquin Valley Pumpkin Patches –

November

December

Top Christmas Celebrations

Top Tree Farm Locations

Getting Your Family's Christmas Tree Can Become a Cherished Family Memory and the Beginning of a New Family Tradition!

•  Santa Cruz Mountain Tree Farms

•  Half Moon Bay Tree Farms

Top Decorated Neighborhoods

•  San Francisco –

•  South San Francisco – On 280, exit West Bourough and travel East toward the hills.  When you cross over El Camino, West Bourough becomes Chestnut Street. Continue driving to Woodside Court.  Please note that Woodside Court is not a through street, so it is recommended that you park outside the court and walk in.

•  Palo Alto – Palo Alto's "Christmas Tree Lane" is located on Fulton Street between Embarcadero Road and Seale.

•  Redwood City – Redwood City's "Candy Cane Lane" is located on Dewey Avenue between Carson Street and Roosevelt Avenue.

•  Half Moon Bay –

•  San Mateo –

•  Santa Cruz –

•  Napa Valley –

•  Monterey –

•  South Lake Tahoe –

•  Reno –

•  Las Vegas –

  
  
  

Do you know something that we should include on one of our lists? Please let us know! We just may add it! Send in a name/description by clicking here.

What’s on Tap

Events

Winter Festivals & Events:

San Francisco Fleet Week – Oct 3 – 10, 2016

Airshow, ships and much more!

Giant Pumpkin Patch at Guadalupe River Park – Oct. 8

San Jose—Fun activities and lots of pumpkins

Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Patches – October 2016

Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival Oct. 15 & 16, 2016

Santa Cruz Pumpkin Patches – October 2016

 

For more “top” events, click on our Festivals & Events page or select a specific travel destination from our City Selector.

Attractions

Top Winter Attractions:

Snow Skiing in the Sierras

Lake Tahoe is home to 15 snow ski resorts and some of the best alpine and cross county snow skiing in the world. You’re sure to find a ski resort and hotel that will meet your expectations.

Whale Watching – Dec. through May

California grey whales migrate down the coast

Elephant Seal Watching – December through March is breeding season. Año Nuevo State Reserve has a large colony of northern elephant seals that assemble there each winter. Watch 5,000 pould males fight for breeding rights!

 

Advisories

The Region’s Fall Advisories:
Yes, it’s still water, water, water! California is undergoing an extreme drought. If you are planning a lake vacation be sure to check about water levels. That rafting trip, fishing, or skiing can be impacted.

EXTREME fire danger. The drought has created a very dangerous combination of dry vegetation and no moisture in the air to help contain any fire. Please use extreme caution during your trip.

Traffic Conditions. Traffic through major cities and extremely popular travel destinations can be challenging. Plan ahead to drive before and after commute hours. Go to www.caltrans.com to learn about road conditions. As a special note, Highway 92 in to and out of Half Moon Bay can be very difficult during the pumpkin season. Plan ahead and arrive early and leave late!