Festivals and Fairs


Alameda County Fair

4501 Pleasanton (at Valley), Pleasanton, (925) 426-7559,


With funky concerts (War and The Spinners), a tasty Cooking Academy, and the Action Zone — an expo covering sports from baseball to BMX biking — this ain't your grandfather's county fair.

JUNE 26-27

San Francisco Free Folk Festival

Roosevelt Middle School, 460 Arguello (at Geary), S.F., noon-11 p.m., www.sffolkfest.org.

Workshops and live performances are the highlights of the 28th annual celebration of folk around the world.

JUNE 26-27

San Anselmo Art and Design Festival

Along San Anselmo Avenue (from Tamalpais to Bolinas), San Anselmo, (800) 310-6563, www.artanddesignfestival.com.

San Anselmo's big annual festival turns 21 this year and brings a new home-and-garden facet to the widely attended proceedings.


San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Various venues, S.F., 703-8650, www.frameline.org.

This festival, now 28 years old, hosts several U.S. and world premieres within its 80-plus features.

JULY 1-4

Napa County Fair

1435 Oak (at Washington), Calistoga, noon-11 p.m., (707) 942-5111, www.napacountyfairgrounds.com.

While it may sound like a fancy wine-related affair, the Napa County Fair is actually known for features such as its annual destruction derby.

JULY 1-5

Marin County Fair

Marin County Fairgrounds, Civic Center Drive, Marin, 499-6800, www.marinfair.org.

This year's 59th edition includes grand tributes to old (the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright in Marin) and new (hip hop dance contests).

JULY 3-4

Fillmore Street Jazz Festival

Along Fillmore (from Jackson to Eddy), S.F., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., (510) 970-3217, www.fillmorejazzfestival.com.

This beloved festival sees in excess of 100,000 revelers each year. For this year's 20th anniversary, anything goes.

JULY 3-5

Tahiti Fête of San Jose

San Jose State Event Center Arena, 209 S. Seventh St. (at East San Salvador), San Jose, www.tahitifete.com.

The largest Tahitian cultural gathering outside of the homeland draws people from all over the map.

JULY 10-11

San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Castro Theatre, 429 Castro (at Market), S.F., 621-6120, www.silentfilm.org.

Nine films from 1919 to 1928 will be screened at the ninth annual edition of this silent giant.


Renaissance Faire

Stafford Lake Park, Novato Blvd., Novato, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., 897-4555, www.forestfaire.com.

Hearken back to ye olden days at this traditional time warp, which draws a curious crowd mix of utterly innocent and totally deviant.

JULY 16-25

Solano County Fair

Solano County Fairgrounds, 900 Fairgrounds Drive (at Redwood Parkway), Vallejo, (707) 551-2000, www.scfair.org.

With Chaka Khan and Morris Day and the Time among the featured musical guests, Solano County boasts one of the funkiest fairs in the area.

JULY 23-25

Gilroy Garlic Festival

7050 Miller, Gilroy, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., (408) 842-1625, www.gilroygarlicfestival.com.

The mack daddy of all California food festivals celebrates a quarter century of stinking this year.


Sonoma County Fair & Exposition

Bennett Valley (at Brookwood), Santa Rosa, (707) 545-4200,


Between the livestock contests and the Elvis impersonators' showdown, telltale markings of Heartland America right in our own backyard.


Monterey Bay Strawberry Festival

Downtown Plaza, Main (at East Beach), Watsonville, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., www.mbsf.com.

Strawberry tamales and a gooey strawberry contest are just two of the distinctive features of this festival, which is turning 10 years old.


Berkeley Kite Festival and West Coast Kite Championships

Cesar E. Chavez Park at Berkeley Marina, Marina Blvd., Berkeley, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., (510) 235-5483, www.highlinekites.com/Berkeley_Kite_Festival/.

Kites will be made and world records will be challenged in this 19th annual spectacular.


Santa Clara County Fair

Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344 Tully (at South Seventh Street), San Jose, (408) 494-3247, www.thefair.org.

Dozens of cars smash it up at the Santa Clara County Fair's annual demolition derby, the certain highlight of the weekend.

AUGUST 11-15

Napa Town and Country Fair

Napa Valley Expo, 575 Third St. (at Bailey), Napa, (707) 253-4900, www.napavalleyexpo.com.

Here's where the real civilized wine tasting/country fair activity takes place in Napa.

AUGUST 13-22

San Mateo County Fair

San Mateo County Expo Center, 2495 South Delaware (at 25th Avenue), San Mateo, hours vary, (650) 574-0271, www.sanmateocountyfair.com.

War, Loverboy, and the Village People are among the concert performances offered in this fair's 70th year.


Tomato Festival

Texas Street (between Pennsylvania and Jefferson), Fairfield, 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m., (707) 422-0103, www.fairfielddowntown.com.

The festival's 13th year brings something beyond nearly 100 varieties of tomatoes: The West Coast Barbecue Championships.

AUGUST 14-15

Nihonmachi Street Fair

Post (between Laguna and Fillmore), S.F., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., 771-9861, www.nihonmachistreetfair.org.

The 31st annual celebration of Bay Area Asian and Pacific Islander communities features the Asian-American Bike Show, as well as street fair and food festival elements.

AUGUST 14-15


Esplanade Gardens, Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission (at Third Street), S.F., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., 543-1718, www.ybae.org.

Pistahan celebrates the Bay Area's sizeable Filipino community with traditional flair, from arts and culture to culinary temptations.

AUGUST 17-22

Monterey County Fair

Monterey County Fairgrounds, Fairground Road (at U.S. Hwy 1), Monterey, (831) 372-5863, www.montereycountyfair.com.

Horse racing, a food and wine extravaganza, and soul sensation Teena Marie performing nightly. What more could you possibly ask?

AUGUST 21-22

Hayward Zucchini Festival

Kennedy Park, 19501 Hesperian (at Bartlett), Hayward, (510) 264-9466.

Music features heavily at the Zucchini Fest, but there's still plenty of Hayward's favorite green veggie to be sampled.

AUGUST 28-29

Bodega Bay Seafood, Art & Wine Festival

Chanslor Ranch, 2660 Coast Hwy 1, Bodega Bay, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (5 p.m. on Sunday), (707) 875-2762.

Seafood and booze compete for attention here, as wineries and microbreweries offer tastings alongside the finest local ocean delights from a dozen eateries and catering companies.


Aloha Festival

Presidio Main Parade Grounds, Lincoln (at Graham), S.F., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., www.pica-org.org.

The 10th annual celebration of the Pacific Islander cultures of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia is mainly an arts and crafts and food affair.


Millbrae Art and Wine Festival

Broadway between Victoria and Meadow Glen, Millbrae, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., (650) 697-7324, www.miramarevents.com/millbrae.

Some 100,000 visitors attend this upscale Peninsula festival, which offers a diverse array of food, in addition to the art and wine.


Sausalito Art Festival

Manship Park, Sausalito, 331-3757, www.sausalitoartfestival.org.

One of the country's top outdoor art festivals turns 52 this year.

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