Discover Story Ideas Details Back to Story Ideas

Explore California's Diversity and Culture Firsthand

Jul. 7, 2017

The Golden State shines year-round with a cornucopia of events throughout California that pay tribute to the state’s past, present, diversity and rich agricultural history. These annual celebrations are the perfect way for visitors to get the flavor for our diverse state and interact in authentically local experiences.

Tantalize Your Taste Buds

Annual Organic Stone Fruit Jubilee: Fresno County
Enjoy a lazy but fruit-ful day in Fresno County sampling over 60 types of peaches, plums and other stone fruit during the Annual Organic Stone Fruit Jubilee held every June. During the day visitors can enjoy fruit pies, a Japanese Tea Ceremony, local food vendors, a kid’s craft area and informative presentations. Tours of the unique Oasis Garden, which uses natural farming methods, are offered. The exclusive garden has five sister locations worldwide.

Butter & Egg Days Parade and Festival: Petaluma
Small town pride and personality are on display in Petaluma as it celebrates its title as the “World’s Egg Basket” on April 28, 2018 with the Butter & Egg Days Parade and Festival. Now in its 38th year, the parade has more than 130 acts and draws over 25,000 people to town. A highlight of the festival is the adorable “Cutest Little Chick Contest” where toddlers dressed in yellow onesies and feathers ham it up for the camera to be crowned the “cutest,” while local celebrities and city officials compete in the Cow Chip Tossing Contest.

See Diversity on Display

Chinese New Year Celebration: San Francisco
Celebrate the Year of the Dog beginning Feb. 16, 2018 at San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Festival and Parade, the oldest and largest of its kind outside of Asia, and North America’s biggest Asian cultural event. The party lasts for two weeks starting the day after Chinese New Year and includes a traditional Chinese Lantern Festival and American-style parade. The event was first held in 1858 along modern day Grant Avenue and Kearney Street. The parade is the main event and incorporates the Chinese New Year Flower Fair and the Chinatown Community Street Fair. Over 100 acts, a 201-foot Golden Dragon and 600,000 firecrackers make the spectacle one of the top parades of the year.

Fort Ross Festival: Sonoma Coast
Sonoma may be known for its Russian River wines, but the Fort Ross area is known for its Russian roots. The Fort Ross Festival at the Fort Ross State Historic Park – held on July 29, 2017 this year – celebrates the history of Russian emigration to California. Since the 1800s the Fort Ross area has been home to Russians, Alaskan natives and the local Kashia tribe. The day-long festival features Russian balalaika music, native tribal dancing, elaborate costumes, crafts, international food and beer, and more. At the park, festival goers can also visit a historic colony that still has one original structure, historically correct reconstructed buildings, a Russian chapel and even a stockade.

Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo: San Diego
Located a mere 17 miles from Mexico, it’s no surprise that San Diego throws the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration north of the border. In 2018 the Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo bash celebrates its 35th anniversary with a weekend extravaganza expected to draw over 100,000 people. Held in Old Town, San Diego’s oldest neighborhood, the festival features a bustling Mercado, over 40 bands, lucha libre wrestling, a huge display of lowriders and a margarita and beer garden.  

LA Pride: West Hollywood
In 1970 the Los Angeles Pride parade became the first permitted parade in the world advocating for gay rights and since 1979 the parade has called WeHo home. The annual parade held every June offers diverse events and entertainment for everyone interested in supporting the LGBTQ community and the pursuit of equal rights for all. True to its social justice roots, LA Pride 2017 peacefully marched rather than paraded, as it stood in solidarity with other cities for the nationwide #ResistMarch for human rights.

Old Spanish Days Fiesta: Santa Barbara
Now in its 93rd year, Old Spanish Days Fiesta is five days of divertido! Break out the cascarones (confetti-filled eggs) and raise your margarita to toast Santa Barbara’s rich Spanish history with colorful music, dance and culinary traditions at a variety of festivals and open-air Mercados. Visitors will delight in flamenco performances and a professional bull riding rodeo, or simply strolling the streets enjoying food, fun and hospitality.


Join the Culture Club

Modernism Week: Palm Springs
Midcentury architecture is all the rage and Palm Springs is ground zero to see the masters of the movement, from Richard Neutra to William Krisel, during the city’s Modernism Week held Feb. 15-25, 2018. During the week there are over 250 events including signature home tours, double decker bus tours, lectures, walking and biking tours, nightly parties, live music and more. Modernism Week is designed to celebrate and create appreciation of midcentury design and architecture and is committed to helping preserve the buildings and design legacy of Palm Springs.

Moompetam Festival: Aquarium of the Pacific – Long Beach
Moompetam means “People of the Ocean,” so there is no better place to celebrate the culture of California’s Native American coastal tribes than at the 13th Annual Moompetam Festival at the famous Aquarium of the Pacific. The festival is slated for Sept. 16-17 2017 and is included with admission to the aquarium. The weekend celebration highlights traditional cultural crafts, storytelling, educational programs, live demonstrations, music and dance from the Tongva, Chumash, Acjachemen, Costanoan, Luiseno and Kumeyaay tribes.

Step into History

Bodie Day: Bodie
California is known for the Gold Rush and today the ghost town of Bodie stands as the country’s best-preserved mining town. The entire town is a National Historic Landmark and Bodie Day, on Aug. 12, 2017 this year, was designed to provide visitors a glimpse into the town’s heyday during the height of gold fever in the state. There will be special historical presentations and tours along with an evening BBQ and cemetery tour. Everyone is welcome, but you must become a member of the Bodie Foundation to attend the evening events.

Loggers Jamboree: North Fork
For 59 years North Fork has paid tribute to its past and present logging tradition with the Annual Logger Jamboree. The two-day event slated for July, 2018 offers spectators a chance to watch both amateur and professionals compete in traditional logging competition events like wood chopping, axe throwing and more. The festival also features a parade, local food and craft vendors, a swimming hole and the Wood Chopper’s Ball.

Sacramento Gold Rush Days: Sacramento
This Labor Day weekend, party like it’s 1850 as Sacramento’s 28-acre historic district is transformed into a scene from a Western to celebrate the Gold Rush. Costumed performers stroll the streets and musicians play tunes of a bygone era, bringing the Old West to life in this free family-friendly celebration. Enjoy wagon or stagecoach rides, or pony up to the Embarcadero Tent City to indulge in some historic food and libations like sarsaparilla.