California Festivals are enjoyed by millions
of people each year as a way to celebrate
some special food, cause, sport, culture or
even an era. The festivals provide
entertainment, learning, nourishment for the
soul & mind, and they bring people together
for common enjoyment and causes. Ranging from wacky & weird in events such as
the Poison Ivy Contest, Bed Races and Golf
Cart Parade, to tasty in Gourmet Chocolate
Festivals, Olive Fests, Almonds & Wine, the
festivals take months to plan and execute,
and they create a fan-base when they offer
something that locals and visitors can sink
their teeth into.
Often there is an element of a festival that also contains a California fair. One example is the Indio Date Festival & Riverside County Fair, for instance. Such events can combine the county fair with the county food crop that people celebrate, making for extra dimensions to the themes and celebrations.
Annual Festivals by Month
For those seeking a season to travel and celebrate, we've created this month-by-month festival list.
Festivals Alphabetical List by City
For the festivals that may or may not report (we saw many annual events come to their end in 2009 - 2011), we've created the simple directory of festivals. It's basically a listed alphabetically by city.
Best festivals in California include:
Food Festivals - An effort to
create a state-wide food dining event in
January has built on the individual
celebrations that have proven extremely
successful in San Francisco, San Diego,
Santa Barbara, Solvang, Napa Valley,
Temecula, Paso Robles and other such
cities where festivals have celebrated
food, music and liquor beverages for
Fruit & Produce Festivals - Nothing beats the Strawberry Shortcake, Guacamole Dip or Roasted Garlic Entrees served at festivals showcasing California's abundance of artichokes, garlic, strawberries, avocados, apples, almonds, butter & eggs and farm fresh foods that California serves to the world.
Christmas - The biggest holiday of all is Christmas. The economic impact of shopping for gifts, the air quality improvement when businesses shut down for the day, and the surrounding industries that have blossomed--ornaments, lights, trees, boat decorating, ice rinks, civic gatherings, and helping those in need all have become a large part of this holiday. Few other such holidays have such an impact as does Dec. 25. Even the economic forecasts are based on the sales of this one holiday event.
Valentine's Day - Held each year on Feb. 14, this is an important holiday to the florists, candy manufacturers, hotels, spas, bakeries and restaurants. All increase revenue when the event falls on a weekend versus a week day. The primary festivals for this holiday combine chocolate with wine, other items, or feature chocolate as a major component. There aren't many festivals for Valentine's Day.
Easter - This holiday is celebrated by most cities in the form of an event they call either a community Easter Hunt or Bunny Hunt. While the economic impact of Easter is not as great as other religious holidays, cities embrace the traditions and rites of spring through their community services departments. Festivals surrounding Easter include local attractions such as parks with kids train rides, and Mardi Gras, celebrated by a few cities in California. Easter is always on a Sunday.
Halloween - Always on Oct. 31, Halloween is the biggest holiday for the costume industry, make-up artists, and specialty companies selling items for costumes and decorating. The candy industries haven't joined forces to sell a single message about eating candy, but they do quite well selling their chocolate bars, crunchy and sweet treats. The festivals that surround Halloween in California involve corn mazes, hayrides, pumpkin patches and carnivals for kids.
4th of July - This holiday that celebrates America's independence is not a huge sales event for stores. Hot dogs, beer, sodas, BBQ, and clothing and decorations in red, white & blue are the top sellers. Most cities in California celebrate July 4 with a community fireworks show, and some host parades and free concerts.
St. Patrick's Day - Mar. 17 each year is a day in which Californians wear something green. Important to bars and places that serve beer & cocktails, this holiday is about drinking and food. Most restaurants all shift gears and offer corned beef & cabbage on this one day.
Thanksgiving - The November
holiday is about food & football
primarily. The turkey industry, pumpkin
manufacturers and cranberry producers
all gear their production to meet the
one-day demand from Americans cooking in
their homes or eating out at
restaurants. Thanksgiving is always on a
Thursday and is crucial to the hype
surrounding Christmas which follows it.
The day after Thanksgiving is important
to retailers who roll out their sales to
lure shoppers to buy items for Christmas
Carpinteria California Avocado Festival in
Castroville California Artichoke Festival in
Crescent City's World Famous Crab Race Annual CA Event
Fair Oaks Chicken Festival
Garden Grove, California Tet Festival
Irvine Park Railroad Easter Eggstravaganza in Orange, CA
Long Beach Scottish Festival at Queen Mary
Long Beach Rancho Los Alamitos Harvest Festival
Long Beach Lobster Festival, California Events
Los Angeles County Fair
Mariposa Art and Wine Festival, California
Mariposa Butterfly Festival, California
Mendocino Crab & Wine Days Festival
Orange, CA Irvine Park Railroad Easter Eggstravaganza
Palm Springs The Art of Food and Wine Palm Springs Festival
Redondo Beach Riviera Summer Festival, California
San Diego Mardi Gras Gaslamp Quarter
San Diego St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Festival Gaslamp Quarter
San Francisco Tulipmania Tulip Festival at Pier 39
Torrance Alpine Village Celebrates Oktoberfest
Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.