Summer in the San Francisco Bay Area is full of activities and festivals. Trying to organize these in one place is not easy, but I will try to do this by putting special emphasis on the unique festivals and events of summer.
If you like fairs witha combination of old country feeling with modern rides and demonstrations, country fairs are for you. Entrance is usually quite cheap, and the fairs are full of things to do including horse racing and free concerts. Here is a list of the country fairs of note.
Alameda County, Pleasanton Fairgrounds. Runs from June 22 through July 10. Wednesdays are half price, and kids are free on Friday.
Napa County Fair, North Oak Street, Calistoga — Runs from July 1- July 4. This fair features horses including the Budweiser Clydesdales and chain saw sculpting.
Sonoma County Fair — Sonoma County Fair Grounds — Runs from July 27 to August 14. The demolition and motocross shows are always popular events here. Very family friendly fair.
74th Stern Grove Music Festival — Each year the Stern Grove hosts free concerts in its amphitheater at 19th Street in San Francisco. Music and performances cover a large range of the arts including a performance by the San Francisco Ballet Company. Runs from June 19 through August 21.
Fillmore Jazz Festival — Held in the Fillmore area of San Francisco this festival features three stages and two entertainment areas. Jazz is presented in all of its spectrums. Runs from July 3-July 4.
Mendocino Music Festival — Held in a big white tent by the beach this festival features classical, jazz, blue grass and American music. Runs from July 9 — 23.
Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival -Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Runs from August 12-14. This year featuring John Fogerty, Arcade Fire, Muse and more.
Oakland Arts and Soul Festival — Lake Merritt, Oakland. Runs from August 20-21. Features local talent including MC Hammer and Pete Escovedo.
SF Chefs — At various venues — featuring great food. Runs August 1 through August 7. For more information go to www.sfchefs2011.com .
Gilroy Garlic Festival — Gilroy, Ca. Featuring food, cooking demonstrations and homemade beers and ales, this festival is a treat for the palate. Runs from July 29 — July 31.
Monterey Bay Strawberry Festival — Devoted to all things strawberry. Runs from Aug 6-7 in Watsonville at Ramsey Park.
Zucchini Festival — Kennedy Park, Hayward. Always on the third weekend in August, this festival gives vegetables their proper recognition. Did I mention the car collectors exhibit?
San Jose Salsa Festival — Located Alum Rock Village in San Jose, this festival is all about salsa. August 20 only.
San Jose Italian Family Fiesta — located at North Autumn Street in San Jose, these festival is all about family and Italian food. Runs August 27-August 28.
Eat Real Fast — Jack London Square, Oakland, Ca. Runs from September 23-25 and features all sorts of healthy street food with local brews and beers. Demonstrations by the Flying Knives cooking team are featured.
Other Cool Stuff
Boardsports School of Kiteboarding and Windsurfing — Learn a new activity at the Boardsports School. Located in Alameda at Crown Beach, daily lesson are provided in the board sport of your choice.
Tilden Park — Berkeley — Located in the Berkeley Hills this park is a great place to picnic with a group. You have your choice of merry-go-rounds, train rides, animal farms, hiking, bicycling, swimming at the lake or just plain relaxing under the trees. Features a great naturalist center. Group camps are available for overnight use.
Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk — Located on the beach at Santa Cruz the boardwalk features rides and great shopping. Of course there is the beach, with evening concerts on the weekends during the summer. It is a rite of passage for all teenagers to survive riding the Great Dipper wooden roller coaster.
Roaring Camps Railroad. Located in Felton, a ride in the woods surrounding the Felton area is a great way to pass a summer day. Who doesn’t enjoy a ride on a train? If you need more than just the ride, you can ride on a Mystery Ride or Dinner Ride. Great fun all summer long.
Monterey Aquarium — Newly remodeled, the aquarium’s big tank is better than ever. With more species of fish and other animals, the aquarium has expanded some since you last saw it. The aquarium is on track to help raise a shark eating whale this August.
To sum up, the San Francisco Bay Area is loaded with unique events that herald the arrival of summer. Don’t forget the local amusement parks, sporting events and local hiking trails. Museums are also welcoming during summer and can provide relief from the day’s heat. There is plenty for everyone to during the summer in the Bay Area.