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Thread: Fall Festivals in California?

  1. #1
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    Fall Festivals in California?

    Does anyone know of any Fall/Autumn type festivals in California? I am sure there are some, but I don't know how to find out about them. I live in Southern CA, but am willing to drive North and make a weekend of it if there is more of that type of thing in Northern CA. Having moved here from Ohio 10 months ago, I am jonesing for some Fall! Even finding pumpkin patch would be nice.
    TIA,
    Jen

  2. #2
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    Hmm, the only one I can think of off hand is in Half Moon Bay (just south of SF, along scenic Highway 1) - though there must be something going on in the wine country, which is delightful in the fall. Here's a link to Half Moon Bay:
    http://www.miramarevents.com/

  3. #3
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    Half Moon Bay (located south of SF) has a HUGE pumpkin festival every year. I personally haven't been...but I want to go. Maybe this year I'll brave the traffic and go

    Tyra
    Democrats are Sexy. Who has ever heard of a good piece of elephant?

  4. #4
    First off, don't laugh when the pumpkin patches start popping up on PCH. They are later used as Christmas tree lots, and may feature jumpers or animals for kids.

    I remember, but cannot tell you for sure where, a pumpkin patch in the middle of a field if you drive Highway 5 North, just after you come down the steep grade into the Central Valley (north of Gorman.) I have no idea if it's there or not.

    If we've got Fall Festivals here, I really have no idea. There's a pumpkin festival in Calabasas (which after all, MEANS pumpkins) Here's the site: http://www.pumpkin-festival.com/home.html

    If I think of festivals, I think first of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in the spring, and of Gilroy's Garlic Festival in the Summer. Where you're living right now doesn't really HAVE much in the way of seasonal change (in fact, we haven't even gotten to the time of year when it's typically at its hottest here) ergo you don't find much locally in the way of fall festivals. Farmers markets, yes. The Fall Crush in wine country, yes. (Not sure what sorts of things are done in the closer-to-home wine regions this time of year-- I'm thinking of Temecula at your south, or San Luis Obispo, a few hours north of here.) If you want to travel far, go up to Sonoma County for a place which has all different festivals throughout the year. Check out their web site. I'd imagine somewhere inland higher north where there's considerable seasonal change might have festivals too (I'm thinking maybe Bishop, Sonora... )

  5. #5
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    Jen:

    Another place to check for festivals is the CSAA magazine Via. Here is the link to the home page http://www.csaa.com/home/
    On the lower right corner is a link to the magazine and from there you can see what they have listed in way of festivals and events.

    Tyra
    Democrats are Sexy. Who has ever heard of a good piece of elephant?

  6. #6
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    Thanks so much, gals, for the links and info...I am looking them up now. I am on a mission now!

    Yes, I moved from Ohio partly due to the crappy weather most of the year.....but there were those fews picture-perfect Autumn days that sure make me miss it this time of year!

  7. #7
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    These aren't festivals, but you can go apple picking in Julian or San Bernardino.

    I've never been to Julian, but it is supposed to be a really cute little town in the mountains east of San Diego.

    Riley's Farm http://www.rileysfarm.com/ is in Oak Glen (maybe 1 1/2 hour drive?). They have U-pick apples, cherries, and peaches depending on the month. I've been during apple picking. You can make cider there, too.

    They also have civil war reenactments complete with dances. I think they do other reenactments, too. It's not really a festival, but it is a mini-fair.

    Another CA festival that Gail didn't mention is the Strawberry Festival in Oxnard, which I think is in May.

    And, of course, there are a lot of little (not fall) street fairs in all the towns around where you live: Hermosa, El Segundo, and Manhattan Beach all have them.

  8. #8
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    Ooooh, apple picking......

    colleency: I can't figure out how to "quote" yet, but, you mentioned festivals in the beach communities....in fact, Redondo Beach has it's LobsterFest this weekend...but I want pumpkins and maize, darn it!
    I suppose I'm getting carried away a bit early....

  9. #9
    Originally posted by colleency
    These aren't festivals, but you can go apple picking in Julian or San Bernardino.

    I've never been to Julian, but it is supposed to be a really cute little town in the mountains east of San Diego.

    Riley's Farm http://www.rileysfarm.com/ is in Oak Glen (maybe 1 1/2 hour drive?). They have U-pick apples, cherries, and peaches depending on the month. I've been during apple picking. You can make cider there, too.

    They also have civil war reenactments complete with dances. I think they do other reenactments, too. It's not really a festival, but it is a mini-fair.

    Another CA festival that Gail didn't mention is the Strawberry Festival in Oxnard, which I think is in May.

    And, of course, there are a lot of little (not fall) street fairs in all the towns around where you live: Hermosa, El Segundo, and Manhattan Beach all have them.
    Now, see... I learned something. Had NO IDEA there was a strawberry festival in Oxnard...

    Just as an informational thing, Jen-- as you get into October, the quaking aspen which grow up Highway 395 around the Mammoth Lakes area is really quite striking. (Yeah, yeah... I know it's not as if you haven't had your fair share of fall colors in your life. I'm just a sucker for quaking aspen.) There are quite a few lakes up that way (lots of geologic activity up that way due to volcanic and other seismic activity) and it's definitely worthwhile if nothing else to check out Mono Lake with its otherworldly tufa pinnacles.

    There goes that travel agent instinct again. Sorry.

  10. #10
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    Cool, Gail, thanks! No worries about the travel tips, I appreciate them...I love taking weekend trips or even just a daytrip. Plus, I don't know what a quaking aspen is so I can learn something, and what are tufa pinnacles?? Ah, I know how to work the internet, I'll look it up.

    And that Calabasas Pumpkin festival looks great, and is not that far (but my husband drives there every day for work...do ya think I can get him to drive there on the weekend? hmmm...eh, I'll drive).

  11. #11
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    There is a fairly large farm in Petaluma that has a pumpkin patch each fall. It usually opens the first of October and goes all month. They have tractor pulled hay wagons take you down into the field to pick your own pumpkins, a hay maize, a haunted house (or barn, as the case may be). We used to go each fall, usually starting with a pancake breakfast early Sat or Sunday morning in the nippy fall air. We found out about the breakfasts from a flier for a volunteer fire department benefit, but apparently each weekend morning has a different benefit -- schools, VFD, that sort of thing. I'm not sure if I'd drive up there just for that, but I sure wish I could go again.

    When we were living up there, it seemed like there was a festival of some sort almost every weekend through the fall, and much of the spring and summer too. There is an apple festival in Sebastapol. If you time it right, you could get 2 or 3 in a weekend.

  12. #12
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    Beth, that pumpkin patch in Petaluma is just what I'm looking for. I've been to Sonoma County twice now, and still have not been to Petaluma. Now I am really in the mood to go North for a weekend...like a ever need an excuse to go anywhere near wine country! Must start planning...

    Thanks so much, guys!

  13. #13
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    If you go to Petaluma, think of me while you are there. I miss it every October. I love driving over the crest of the hill and seeing the fields below when you come in.

  14. #14
    Julian and Oak Glen are wonderful towns to visit.
    Don't miss Manhattan Beach's Hometown Fair the weekend after the LobsterFest. The most food they have is the beer garden
    Christie

  15. #15
    Originally posted by ChristieinMB
    Julian and Oak Glen are wonderful towns to visit.
    Don't miss Manhattan Beach's Hometown Fair the weekend after the LobsterFest. The most food they have is the beer garden
    Christie
    Where's Oak Glen?

    And on the subject of Sonoma/Petuluma/Santa Rosa/Sebastopol/Graton/Forestville/Bodega/Occidental... I just wanted to put in that I don't think it's actually the city of Petaluma which is that terribly noteworthy, rather an entire area of stuff around there to do. You've got that whole area of country roads on the Sonoma Farm Trails map with festivals, craft fairs, little farms, country stores, antique shops. Great area. I don't blame Beth for missing it...

  16. #16
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    You're right -- it's more the "suburbs" of Petaluma to enjoy. The town itself has some antique shops, Chicago Pizza and a microbrewery (Dempsey's Ale House). There are a couple of small places to buy cheese on the way out to the coast, farms, rose gardens -- lots of things to discover all around Petaluma and Sonoma. The Farm Trails map is a great suggestion.

  17. #17
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    Beth (OT here) -I had no idea that when you lived in California you were in the Petaluma area! For some reason I thought Southern California. My mom moved to Petaluma in 1988 and liked it there so much. It was so nice to go up for day visits because there was so much to do -as Gail said, throughout the area. Plus, she hasn't been highly ambulatory for quite some time, but you could take a lovely drive out to Bodega for lunch or such. <siiiiiiigh> I miss that.

  18. #18
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    Originally posted by Canice
    Beth (OT here) -I had no idea that when you lived in California you were in the Petaluma area! For some reason I thought Southern California.
    Was it cuz I'm blonde?

    I was trying to think of Bodega Bay when I was posting about the cheese places. There is one we stopped at on the way out there that I loved -- not the variety of the Sonoma Cheese Factory, but a fun stop with very fresh breakfast cheese -- part of the reason I got interested in trying to make it some day.

  19. #19
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    You've got that whole area of country roads on the Sonoma Farm Trails map with festivals, craft fairs, little farms, country stores, antique shops. Great area.
    What is the Sonoma Farm Trails map? Is this something that I can pick up at AAA? I've got a couple winery maps for Sonoma, but that's it.

    What is it about the Fall that makes me just want to hop in the car and DRIVE? Stopping wherever I please along the way...

  20. #20
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    A late reply, but just wanted to mention Apple Hill outside of Placerville. It is very busy this time of year. From September to November there are activities at the different apple orchards. There are also wineries here. I have an article about the yearly apple festivals in this area. If you are interested, PM your address to me and I can mail a copy to you.

    Peggy

  21. #21
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    Originally posted by jennkristy
    What is the Sonoma Farm Trails map? Is this something that I can pick up at AAA?
    The Farm Trails map is a map listing and giving directions to a number of farms, orchards and other growers and producers of farm goods in the county, with information on what products they have, the seasons and hours they are open, phone numbers to call, etc. Not all the places you might want to stop will be members, but it has a lot of good ones -- from berries and veggies to pumpkins and apples to cheeses and honey, Christmas tree farms, and if I'm not mistaken, hand-dyed wool.

    We used to pick them up at the Farmer's Markets and at some of the shops around the area, usually members of the Fam Trails. But, living in this high-tech world, I found this for you -- try www.farmtrails.org

    Sorry to say I also learned the Gravenstien Apple Fair was held in August. Can't work that one into a fall trip this year.

  22. #22
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    Beth, thanks for the link....another thing I learned today...Farm Trails Map!

    Gosh, now I wish I had a week to take off in October just going up and down the state stopping at all these places that everyone mentioned. I really appreciate all of your help, gals.
    I'll keep my weekends busy over the next few months.

  23. #23
    Originally posted by Gail


    Where's Oak Glen?

    Gail it is northeast of us. Beyond Riverside, out that way. I haven't been back there since my children grew up but it is a nice day trip.
    Christie

  24. #24
    As long as we're putting in plugs for Sonoma County, let us not forget the Harvest Fair, which should be in less than two weeks. (That's normally the first weekend of October, held in the Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa-- basically a county fair, with a lot of nice wine tasting.) I haven't gone since like 1992, but I'm assuming it's still the same...

    There's also a cookbook of sorts, which I have natch, called New Cook's Tour of Sonoma, which has got a lot of information about local businesses.

  25. #25
    Originally posted by ChristieinMB

    Gail it is northeast of us. Beyond Riverside, out that way. I haven't been back there since my children grew up but it is a nice day trip.
    Christie
    Thanks. Will pull out my trusty map.

  26. #26
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    I love Julian, but it seems to take forever to get there. Here is some information on their Apple Days. Big Bear also has an October fest on the weekends.


    http://www.julianmerchants.org/attractions/
    Life is all about a$$; you're either covering it, laughing it off, kicking it, kissing it, busting it, trying to get a piece of it, behaving like one, or you live with one.

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  27. #27
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    Hadn't heard of the Harvest Fair, (I love autumn stuff, so I'm picking up ideas here myself) so I looked for this:
    http://www.harvestfair.org/

  28. #28
    Originally posted by Beth
    Sorry to say I also learned the Gravenstien Apple Fair was held in August. Can't work that one into a fall trip this year.
    Uh huh. DH and I were there for it (quite by accident) when we were in Bodega Bay for vacation just last month. Wonderful apple that, unfortunately, we can't get here in Michigan.

    Sebastopol is just a cool town.

  29. #29

    Cool

    (Clutching chest, staggering forward)

    $65.00 a ticket?? Yipes.

    No wonder there was all that wine...

  30. #30
    Originally posted by SandyM


    Uh huh. DH and I were there for it (quite by accident) when we were in Bodega Bay for vacation just last month. Wonderful apple that, unfortunately, we can't get here in Michigan.

    Sebastopol is just a cool town.
    Hmph. The Administrator has just informed me that apparently I type too fast. Will try this again...

    Sandy,

    I very nearly mentioned that I thought you'd been there this year...

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