Events in California
Festivals, sporting events and seasonal activities by month:
- The Pasadena Rose Parade - Los Angeles - (1st Jan)
The 125th Rose Parade presented by Honda themed -Dreams Come True- features spirited marching bands from throughout the nation, majestic floral floats, and high-stepping equestrian units. The two-hour Rose Parade travels at a steady 2.5-mile per hour pace giving the lucky spectators the chance to glimpse the magnificent floral floats.
- 24th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival - (3rd - 14th Jan)
This International film circuit celebrates and offers the stage to debuting and emerging directors as well as established filmmakers from all over the world. The 2013 Festival screened 182 films from 68 countries including 42 of the 71 foreign language entries for the Academy Awards.
- California Restaurant Month - Statewide - (Jan 2013)
Restaurant Month, created to promote business during the slow season, has given all local residents and visitors the opportunity to indulge in special priced menus at participating restaurants.
- Golden Globe Awards - Los Angeles - (13th Jan)
The Hollywood Press Association responsible for the annual Golden Globe Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles will celebrate its 70th year in 2013. The Golden Globe Awards recognises outstanding achievements in 25 categories; 14 in motion pictures and 11 in television.
- 21st Annual Winter WINEland - Sonoma - (19th - 20th Jan)
A great opportunity to meet winemakers, taste limited production wines, new releases or library wines.
- Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Santa Barbara - (24th Jan - 3rd Feb)
The 28th edition presented by Lynda.com announces a stellar line-up for 2013 including 13 Academy Award nominees. A vast array of films representing 49 countries will delight audiences from all over the world.
January is one of the best times of year to visit Yosemite National Park. The waterfalls are in full swing and visitors can even get a spot of skiing in at Badger Pass.
- Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp - San Diego - (12th Feb)
San Diego-s longest running Mardi Gras Street festival is starting from scratch to debut an all new Fat Tuesday extravaganza unlike any that came before it. The nineteenth Annual Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp taking place from 5:00pm to 11:00pm will feature an electrifying line-up of local, regional and national zydeco, blues and rock bands, electronic and house music DJs, dance crews, acrobats and visual artists on four stages.
- Santa Cruz Migration Festival - Santa Cruz - (9th Feb)
Celebrating the migration of whales, butterflies, birds and more. Talks, games and music will also be enjoyed.
- Palm Springs Modernism Week - Palm Springs - (14th - 24th Feb)
This is an exciting 11-day celebration of mid-century modern design, architecture and culture in Palm Springs. This design aesthetic originated in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and was typified by clean, simple lines which came to define desert modernism.
- Photographing the -Firefall- - Yosemite National Park - (22nd - 23rd Feb)
February contains a short magical window when Horsetail Fall in Yosemite Valley catches a few moments of light from the fading sunset to become a startling natural phenomenon.
- 85th Oscar Academy Awards - Los Angeles - (24th Feb)
Rewarding the previous year-s greatest cinematic achievements, and honouring individuals and cinematic teams in a glittering ceremony watched by hundreds of millions worldwide, the Oscar is the highest honour that can be won in the entertainment industry.
February is a very busy time in Hollywood as the awards season plays homage to some of the world-s most famous movie stars, producers and directors. It is a glittering time to be in town, but do book your accommodation early as hotels sell out very quickly.
- Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon - San Francisco - (3rd Mar)
World Champion triathletes, Olympic Medalists and the best amateur triathletes from 50 states and over 40 countries are drawn to this incredible race, and they descend on San Francisco for one chance to attempt to ESCAPE from Alcatraz. The 2013 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon features an icy 1.5-mile swim, a grueling 18-mile bike ride followed by a demanding 8-mile run through the trails of the Golden Gate Recreational Area.
- Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon - Napa Valley - (3rd Mar)
Recently named one of -Top 10 Marathons Worth Traveling For- by Forbes Travel, the Napa Valley Marathon is dedicated to fostering and promoting quality racing in an inspiring setting. This 35th Annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon celebrates -Women in Marathoning- on 3rd March.
- Indian Wells Tennis Tournament - Indian Wells - (4th - 17th Mar)
The BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is not only the largest ATP World Tour and WTA combined event, but is also the most-attended tennis tournament in the world.
- Santa Barbara International Orchid Show and Festival - Santa Barbara - (8-10th Mar)
One of the largest and oldest orchid shows in the United States, this 68th annual show delights visitors with exuberant displays of blooming orchids with exhibits designed to each year resonate with the show theme.
- Fort Bragg Whale Festival - Fort Bragg - (16th - 17th Mar)
2013 sees the 31st year of this annual festival which celebrates the arrival of 20,000 gray whales. With local microbreweries and the area-s top chefs offering their wares including a selection of chowders, live music and of course whale watching at Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, the festival is a fun way to see this incredible spectacle.
- Nature Valley U.S Alpine Championships - North Lake Tahoe - (17th - 23rd Mar)
Squaw Valley will play host to the 2013 Nature Valley U.S Alpine Championships, challenging competitors to perform on their world class terrain. All US big name skiers will be in attendance experiencing Squaw Valley-s 3,600 skiable acres. The U.S Championships are a culmination of the ski racing year which brings together the U.S Ski Team and hundreds of young athletes from the U.S Ski and Snowboard Association.
- California-s Annual Artisan Cheese Festival - Sonoma County - (22nd - 24th Mar)
The festival is a weekend of All Things Cheese! Visitors will have the opportunity to meet cheesemakers, celebrity chefs, educators, cheesemongers, authors, farmers and even the four-legged friends that produce the milk needed for cheese.
- Food and Wine Festival - Palm Desert - (22nd - 24th Mar)
Enjoy three days filled with an exciting four-course gourmet luncheon created by James Beard award-winning chefs, new wine seminars, book signings, over 20 celebrity chefs, over 80 premium wines, champagnes, cognacs and spirits, and tastings from more than 50 fine restaurants and culinary brands.
- Sprint U.S Freestyle Championships - South Lake Tahoe - (28th - 31st Mar)
Heavenly Mountain Resort will host the U.S Freestyle Championships featuring women-s and men-s moguls, dual moguls and aerials. Enjoy the nation-s top skiers as they compete for the U.S Freestyle National title.
- White Party Palm Springs - Palm Springs - (29th Mar - 1st Apr)
The largest Gay Dance Music Festival presented by the legendary Jeffrey Sanker known as -the sultan of soirees.- White Party Palm Springs has evolved into the nation-s largest gay dance music festival attracting more than 30,000 attendees from every corner of the globe. World-class DJs reign supreme over Sanker-s packed dance floors, which feature talented performers and mind-blowing productions.
- Down the Earth Month - Statewide - (Apr)
An ideal time to check out earth-friendly California wines made with sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices. Workshops, eco-tours, green-themed events as well as special offers and tastings of eco-friendly wines will be available in participating destinations.
- Pebble Beach Food and Wine - (4th - 7th Apr)
This sixth annual explosion of culinary delights involves 75 celebrity chefs and 250 acclaimed wineries making the Pebble Beach Food and Wine the premier epicurean lifestyle event. Enjoy wine tastings, cooking demos and some of the most exclusive dining opportunities set to a back drop of outstanding natural beauty.
- San Luis Obispo Marathon - San Luis Obispo - (7th Apr)
The 2nd annual San Luis Obispo marathon showcases the city as the course winds through charming turn-of-the-century downtown, the vineyards of the San Luis Obispo Vintners, and the iconic Madonna Inn.
- Mammoth Invitational MI5 - Mammoth Mountain - (11th - 14th Apr)
This invitational provides the opportunity to ski or ride Mammoth Mountain-s incredible terrain, race gates, or work on radical turns under the great expert guidance of well-known US national and Olympic ski, snowboard and free ride team athletes and professionals - all while helping kids.
- Pismo Beach KiteXpo - Pismo Beach - (12th - 14th Apr)
Sponsored by Kiteboarder Magazine and XtremeBigAir.com, this event offers the opportunity to test all the latest 2013 gear for FREE! The 8 miles of beautiful California coastline is enough for manufacturers to showcase their full 2013 line and allows plenty of space for riders and enthusiasts to test out equipment safely.
- Coachella Valley Music Festival - Palm Springs - (12th - 21st Apr)
Split over two consecutive weekends, this festival features many genres of music including alternative rock, hip hop and electronic music as well as big name musicians and stars. The event is home to a number of stages and tents that are set-up across the grounds with each venue continuously playing live music.
- Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival - Santa Clarita - (18th - 21st Apr)
This 20th annual event that attracts more than 10,000 visitors each year is a celebration of Santa Clarita-s Western history - from art and music to film and television. To be held at the Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio, visitors can enjoy the sights and sounds of cowboy life as performers serenade, vendors serve up Dutch Over treats, and merchandise that celebrates the past with the flair of today can be purchased.
- 9th Annual Fresno Film Festival - Fresno - (19th - 21st Apr)
The festival will feature eight programs with 17 movies from 11 different countries, including six feature-length films and 11 shorts. The 2013 festival which will run at the historic Tower Theatre, is presented by Fresno Fireworks, a non-profit dedicated to bringing first-run independent, experimental, and international movies to the central San Joaquin Valley.
- Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival - Santa Barbara - (20th - 21st Apr)
Hosted by Community Environmental Council since 1970, Alameda Park in Santa Barbara transforms offering all visitors the chance to talk with hundreds of exhibitors in attendance. All resources that are needed to live a sustainable life in Santa Barbara can be found at the festival.
- Stagecoach Festival - Indio - (26th - 28th Apr)
California-s biggest country music festival sees a hearty line-up of the best artists and musicians in the country music industry. An admission ticket gives access to not only the main stage, but to all stages with each supporting a different act throughout the weekend. A ferris wheel will be in operation as well as other craft areas and a good number of food and beverage options.
- Pacific Coast Dream Machine Festival - Half Moon Bay Airport - (27th - 28th Apr)
The 23rd annual celebration of mechanical ingenuity, power and style, this -coolest show on earth- features 2,000 magnificent driving, flying, and working machines from the 20th and 21st centuries.
April is a perfect time of year to visit California if you are a winter sports enthusiast, the mountain resorts of Lake Tahoe and Mammoth offer some of the best terrain and snow conditions in North America, and at this time can be enjoyed under a blue sky. April also sees some of the highest profile music festivals in the State - look out for impromptu performances by bands in California for Coachella and Stagecoach.
- Temecula Wine & Music Festival - Temecula - (4th May)
The festival brings a rich mix of pop, smooth jazz, rhythm-n-blues, and a unique wine tasting experience to beautiful Vail Lake Resort. The relaxed, oak-studded setting is an ideal escape for enjoying a full day of musical entertainment and masterful creations of local wineries. This annual celebration is one of California-s largest wine and music events.
- Avenue of the Giants Marathon - Humboldt Redwoods State Park - (5th May)
The course known as -The Ave- has been cited as one of the most scenic courses in the country. The paved course winds through giant old growth redwoods and follows a natural creek and the Eel River.
- AMGEN Tour of California - Statewide - (12th - 19th May)
For the first time ever, the 2013 Amgen Tour of California will race from the South to the North. Riders will depart from Escondido, San Diego and race to finish in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County. The course will give riders and spectators a glimpse of California-s diverse landscape from deserts and unparelled ocean beauty to mountain peaks and urban cities.
- San Diego Gaslamp Music & Art Festival - San Diego - (25th May)
From smooth beats to funky scats, the 2nd Gaslamp Music and Art Festival returns to downtown San Diego to celebrate live music and art.
- Arcata Kinetic Sculpture Race - Humboldt County - (25th - 27th May)
Wild and crazy people-powered sculptures traverse land, sand, and water to travel from the Arcata Plaza to the finish line in the Victorian Village of Ferndale.
- Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival - San Diego County - (31st May - 2nd June)
This event attracts 40,000 attendees over three days at Lake Skinner. The festival features dramatic, evening hot air balloon glows as well as awe-inspiring morning balloon ascensions, tastings of the valley-s award winning wines, hot air balloon rides, plus an impressive line-up of live music and entertainment.
If you-re into cycling this is a great time of year to get out on the roads. In fact, you may find yourself alongside some of the world-s best as the AMGEN Tour of California snakes its way around the State.
- Corona Del Mar Scenic 5K - Newport Beach - (1st June)
The Corona del Mar scenic 5k winds its way through the ocean view streets of this beautiful area. The 3,000 finishers will celebrate with a feast at the finish line hosted by Newport Beach-s finest restaurants, along with unique vendor and sponsor presentations and award ceremony.
- 20th Annual Taste of Gaslamp - San Diego - (8th - 9th June)
San Diego-s original urban culinary walking tour and epicurean adventure returns to the historic Gaslamp Quarter.
- Santa Cruz Movies on the Beach - Santa Cruz - (18th June - 14th Aug)
A great FREE night out in this California surf town; adopt your position on the beach in-front of the huge screen and twinkling lights of the boardwalk, and let the ocean air wash over you.
- Monster Energy Mammoth Motocross - Mammoth - (21st - 30th June)
Motocross returns to the dirt in Mammoth. It is the oldest continuous running motocross event in the U.S. The track has changed a little over the years but the fun hasn-t. It-s the summers best spectator sport where the energy and adrenaline are contagious.
- San Francisco Pride - San Francisco - (29th - 30th June)
San Francisco Pride has been said to be -one of the last remaining pride events that can truly be called a rite of passage.- This 43rd annual celebration will be located in downtown SF, and will enjoy a chosen theme - Embrace, Encourage, Empower. With over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and more than 20 stages and venues, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest LGBT gathering in the U.S.
- San Diego LGBT Pride - San Diego - (12th - 14th July)
Located in historic Balboa Park, this two day festival has become a premier PRIDE event in California. The festival will include multiple stages of entertainment, more than 80 musicians, bands, comedy and dance performers, 300 participating vendor booths, an art exhibit, cultural presentations, and great food. All ages are welcome to the San Diego LGBT Pride Festival.
- Napa Valley Festival Del Sole - Napa Valley - (12th - 21st July)
Returning for the seventh year, Napa Valley-s world-class festival features concerts by some of the world-s most celebrated musical artists fiv-star cuisine, art exhibits, and wines from Napa-s top vintners.
- Wanderlust Festival - Squaw Valley - (18th - 21st July)
Set in locations of outstanding natural beauty across the globe, Wanderlust is a one-of-a-kind festival bringing together the world-s leading yoga teachers, top musical acts and DJs, renowned speakers, top chefs and winemakers, and more.
- Gilroy Garlic Festival - Gilroy - (26th - 28th July)
Gilroy is one of the biggest producers and processers of Garlic in the world, and it was news of the French claiming that they were, -the Garlic Capital of the World- that sparked Melone, an Italian local raised with lots of garlic to persuade, organise and develop this annual charitable festival which started in 1979. The three day -Ultimate Summer Food Fair- celebrates its 35th year with incredible food, beverages, arts and crafts and live entertainment.
The weather across the state is really starting to heat up making July a great time to visit California for those who enjoy the warmth. The warm days give way to welcome cooler evenings with the bonus of no humidity.
- Lassen Dark Sky Festival - Lassen Volcanic National Park - (9th - 11th Aug)
The second annual Dark Sky Festival celebrates all that is out-of-this-world in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Park rangers, astronomers, and planetary geologists are in attendance to give and listen to special programs, presentations and hikes during this time.
- Pebble Beach Concours d-Elegance - Pebble Beach - (18th Aug)
Situated on the famed eighteenth fairway at Pebble Beach, turf meets tire transforming what is often called the best finishing hole in golf into a grand car show showcasing 200 of the most prized collector cars and motorcycles in the world.
- Gold Rush Days - Sacramento - (31st August - 03rd Sept)
200 tons of dirt will pave the streets of Old Sacramento for the 13th annual Gold Rush Days. Hundreds of costumed performers will take on the roles of celebrities, personalities and just plain folks, bringing history to life while bluegrass pickers and old-timey musicians perform on several stages, evoking the vivid tunes of the times.
- The 2013 Sunset Strip Music Festival - West Hollywood - (Date TBC)
SSMF has proven to be a success over the past few years, and it is scheduled to return in August 2013. Enjoy some of the world-s biggest rock bands kick it on live stages in the heart of West Hollywood, as well as experiencing some of the most iconic venues in town!
- Ta-hoe Nalu Stand-Up Paddle Festival - Lake Tahoe - (Date TBC)
The Ta-hoe Nalu SUP Festival is designed to introduce individuals to the world of stand-up paddling by offering equipment, guidance, and instruction by qualified SUP athletes. The events have always been fun race venues for all age, ability and gender. It is about people having fun while enjoying eco-friendly, healthy sport of paddling. The two day festival features races for paddle boarders as well as Lakeside entertainment including food, luaus, live music and prizes.
- California Wine Month - Statewide - (Sept)
California Wine Month is the 9th annual statewide celebration of the Golden State-s rich wine history during the high energy of the annual harvest season. Wineries and destinations around the state host events ranging from special tastings and harvest tours to hands-on wine immersion experiences and festivals, creating dozens of dun ways to celebrate throughout California-s diverse regions.
- America-s Cup Finals - San Francisco - (7th - 21st Sept)
Having seen the America-s Cup World Series earlier on in the year, the finals will see the teams race to win the pinnacle of sailing and the oldest trophy in international sport. With near-shore race courses for those on site, television coverage is set to be revolutionised for those further afield. Through new graphics technology, enhanced on board footage, over a dozen on board microphones as well as informed and exciting commentary, watching the 34th America-s Cup unfold on TV will be as exciting as being there in person.
- Stockton Restaurant Week - Stockton - (20th - 29th Sept)
This 5th Annual, now 10-day dining extravaganza is returning to Stockton. This celebration will give ALL local foodies and families an opportunity to enjoy special prix fixe and special value menus from many participating restaurants.
- Surf City Surf Dog - Huntington Beach - (28th - 30th Sept)
A surfing competition with a twist! Watch surfers and their pooches ride the waves and compete to win this event. Divided into heats and weight classes, dogs have the opportunity to strut their stuff and showcase their surfing skills to a mass audience. Great family fun!
September is a one of the best times to visit San Francisco as the fog is often less prevalent than at other times of year. Elsewhere in the winelands its harvest time when visitors can become involved in the -crush- and celebrate Wine Month.
- Mission District Food Tour - San Francisco - (1st Oct)
Go behind-the-scenes on Avital Tours Mission District Food Tour to meet restaurant owners, chefs and industry experts. The culinary walking tour visits 4-5 restaurants in three hours as you sample the best of the San Francisco food scene. Stroll through the historic Latin neighbourhood learning about its history and visit the famous Clarion Alley - a Mural covered street. The progressive meal in SF-s trendy Mission District concludes with desserts near Dolores Park.
- Cambria Scarecrow Festival - Cambria - (1st - 31st Oct)
Last year over 370 scarecrows lined the streets of Cambria and were true works of art. And this year, there will be more! Many participants in the 2012 event are already planning their 2013 entries, so pack your camera for the most unique event anywhere around.
- Santa Monica 5000 - Los Angeles - (6th Oct)
The Santa Monica 5000 is returning for its eighth year, offering friendly competition and family fun, and the only race to raise money for local student athletes and school sports programs with the Santa Monica - Malibu Education Foundation. Distances include 5k, 10k and a 3k dash for kids.
- Heritage Harvest Festival - Santa Cruz - (19th Oct)
Come and watch draft horse demonstrations, take a wagon ride, harvest and decorate pumpkins all while enjoying live music at a historic ranch.
- Ventura Kinetic Sculpture Race - Ventura - (Date TBC)
This is an opportunity to sample one of the more quirky sides to West Coast culture! This Ventura race travels along Ventura-s beach, through the town and across the harbour, and showcases original designs and fantastic costumes in a bizarre and hilarious spectacle.
- Newport Beach Triathlon - Newport Beach - (Oct)
The course in Newport Beach is a mostly flat course with one tough hill. This out and back course runs over the Newport Dunes Bridge before a flat section on roads and a bike path. Just before the half way point of the run there is a short but tough uphill. After climbing the hill runners will turn around and run downhill and then leave the flat and fast last mile to the finish line
- West Hollywood Costume Carnaval - West Hollywood - (Date TBC)
The largest Halloween street party in the world happens in West Hollywood. Each year, several hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets of Santa Monica Boulevard to enjoy the craziest, most eccentric costume creations ever. Admission is free, and participants can enjoy musical entertainment from big name DJs and performers, and enjoy street food by visiting the many food trucks and vendors waiting to satisfy late-night cravings.
Halloween is widely celebrated in the U.S, and many destinations in California offer an array of locally based activities as well as fun and festive parades. It is an excellent time to visit with a family and enjoy the celebrations.
- San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival - San Diego - (Nov)
2013 will celebrate the 34th annual festival that will present a variety of music from ragtime to swing at the Town & Country Resort and Hotel Circle. Jazz bands and musicians from across the U.S and Canada will perform over 180 hours of music in seven venues over five days.
- Palm Springs Leather Pride - Palm Springs - (7th - 10th Nov)
A festive 4-day event filled with vendor markets, leather education seminars, dance parties and the annual Mr. Palm Springs Leather Contest.
- Vintners- Vacations at the Ahwahnee - Yosemite National Park - (11th Nov - 6th Dec)
The Ahwahnee brings together 32 of California's best winemakers for its annual Vintners- Vacations. From terroir to table, participants in each session will have personal access to meet the winemakers, learn about the latest trends in viticulture, taste the wines and enjoy a five-course finale candlelit dinner in The Ahwahnee-s grand Dining Room.
- Vacation of Lights Del Mar - San Diego - (weekends throughout December)
Enjoy a spectacular drive-through light show and exhibit themed for the vacation season, with more than 400 crowd-pleasing, family orientated displays. The displays can be viewed from the comfort of your vehicle as you drive along a 1.5 mile route through Fairgrounds while enjoying festive vacation music.
- Get Outside Festival - Squaw Valley - (22nd Dec)
In celebration of Squaw Valley's #1 Ski Resort ranking by Outside Magazine, Squaw Valley will host a day of grand openings, including the Big Blue Express, Parallel Mountain Sports and The Ledge Board Shop. Music by Gin Blossom and additional festivities will be benefitting the Tahoe Fund and the American Himalayan Foundation.
Southern California offers sunshine all year round, so why not head to the Golden State for a festive season with a difference!
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