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A Festival for Everyone in the Golden State

After more than a year of lockdowns, social distancing and little reason to celebrate, the world is returning to a bit of normalcy and the Golden State is ready to celebrate from San Diego to Sacramento. The events and festivals California is known for are back and ready to wow locals and tourists starting now!

Food & Wine

Harvest Wine Weekend
The more than 200 wineries of Paso Robles will celebrate during Harvest Wine Weekend, slated for Oct. 15-17, 2021. More than 140 activities are planned at wineries throughout the region.

San Diego Wine & Food Festival
The 17th annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival returns to the Embarcadero Nov. 11-14, 2021. Named one of USA Today’s best general food festivals, the event features celebrity chefs, master sommeliers, top wineries, brewmasters and more. The highlight of the festival is the Grand Tasting, the ultimate foodie party, on Nov. 13.

Buellton Wine & Chili Festival 2022
What’s the perfect libation with chili? Come to the Buellton Wine & Chili Festival on March 20, 2022 to find out for yourself. In the heart of the Santa Ynez wine country, this quirky festival strives to find the best chili in the area with various wineries and craft breweries like the wildly popular local Firestone Walker Brewery, pouring their best pairing options.

Beer Bash

Oktoberfest Visalia

Dig out your dirndl, layer on the lederhosen and grab your biggest stein to head to Oktoberfest in Visalia on Sept. 24, 2021. One of the most popular events in the Central Valley returns to Vossler Farms with over 40 booths featuring craft brews, German eats and live music. 

Murrieta Craft Beer Week
Temecula Valley might be known for wine, but its growing craft brewing culture will be celebrated Oct. 11-17, 2021 in Murrieta. Throughout Craft Beer Week, Temecula’s 11 artisan brewers, along with the best breweries in the region, will offer the coolest craft concoctions in California.

Music Festivals

Ohana Festival in Dana Point

The Ohana Festival in Dana Point is bringing live music back with a vengeance Sept. 24-26, 2021 with Kings of Leon, Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder leading a line-up of more than 25 indie artists. The response to this year’s event led organizers to add an Ohana Encore event in October, also featuring Pearl Jam plus Beck and Brandi Carlile headlining.

Huichica Music Festival
It’s hard to beat great indie music, amazing wine and delectable bites. The two-day Huichica Music Festival is back at the historic, family-run Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma Oct. 15-16, 2021. With no bad seat in the house, it’s a must-do for any oenophile and music lover looking to discover their next favorite artist.

Festival-Style Concerts in Downtown Napa
Downtown Napa’s Oxbow RiverStage will entertain visitors through Oct. 15. This outdoor, festival-style venue features concerts by touring artists every weekend with a mix of free and wristband-only shows. The outdoor venue is located at the Oxbow Commons, adjacent to the popular Oxbow Public Market and its many eateries.

Family Fun

Aquarium of the Pacific Cultural Festivals

Long Beach’s acclaimed Aquarium of the Pacific is bringing back in-person cultural events the weekend of Sept. 18-19, 2021 with the 17th annual Moompetam American Indian Festival. The event celebrates the indigenous California maritime cultures, including Tongva, Chumash, Acjachemen, Costanoan, Luiseno and Kumeyaay. All festivals are free with Aquarium admission.

Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
This popular theme park in the Garlic Capital of the World is scaring people with more than bad breath every weekend this October with the return of its Great Big Boo! The event showcases music, light displays and trick-or-treating throughout the park. For the holidays, the park transforms into a magical winter wonderland on select nights in December with ice skating, Santa’s village and the Charlie Brown Christmas show.

Borrego Days Desert Festival
The 55th Annual Borrego Days Desert Festival, slated for Oct. 23-24, 2021 in the dark sky community features live entertainment, a car show, food trucks, an array of vendors, kid zone, beer garden and the famous fly-over.

Note: As communities re-open after COVID-19-related closures, some parks, businesses and attractions may still be closed or have new protocols in place. Please verify local guidelines and regulations for all destinations and hours and availability of individual businesses before publishing. Check out Visit California’s Responsible Travel Hub for guidance on how visitors can travel within California safely.