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California Current Events (Spring)

Below you’ll find a sampling of California current events for Spring 2012, and you can learn more about a specific event by visiting the site noted in parenthesis after the listing. If you’re looking for California current events in a different season, please see:

California Culinary Events – Summer Food Festivals

California Current Events – Fall

California Current Events – Holiday

California Current Events – Winter

North Coast

The Anderson Valley, renowned as one of the world’s finest pinot-growing regions, hosts the 15th Annual Pinot Noir Festival on May 18-20, 2012. Many area wineries will also host an open house event on Sunday, May 20; check with individual venues for details. (

While there’s never a bad time to travel to Mendocino (from our perspective), the Taste of Mendocino event on June 11, 2012, makes that an especially auspicious time for visit. Come enjoy this gathering of the area’s best wine, food, beer and activities. (

Shasta & Cascades

Redding Sundial Bridge

The enticing “Chocolate: The Exhibition” opens at Redding’s Turtle Bay Exploration Park on May 3, 2012, and it’s sure to hold surprises even for folks who think they KNOW chocolate. To explore the sweet substance thoroughly, the bilingual exhibition will include over 200 items and interactive media. The exhibit runs through September 9, 2012. (

Wine Country

The good folks at Napa’s V. Sattui winery certainly know how to welcome the season — with a Wine and Lobster Party! (They know how to do a lot of things right, actually and were named the 2011 “Best Winery” in the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s 37th annual Best of the Bay Readers Poll.) The event takes place on Saturday, April 21, 2012, and in addition to fresh Maine lobster, the menu includes large prawns, Italian sausage, artichokes, corn on the cob, red potatoes and a surprise dessert. I don’t know about you, but I could plan a whole Napa vacation around an event like this and work in stops at some of my other favorite Napa Valley tourist attractions and wineries at the same time. (

San Francisco Bay Area

Chocolate lovers may also want to mark their calendars for the 6th Annual San Francisco International Chocolate Salon at fabulous Fort Mason on Sunday, March 4, 2012. (Follow the preceding link for more details.) The festival runs from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and promises “30,000 square feet of Chocolate, Wine and Confections.” (

If you’re 21 and older, come enjoy Sake San Jose on May 24, 2012 — a fundraiser that combines sake tasting with a walk through the city’s historic Japantown, one of the last three remaining in California. The event benefits the neighborhood’s non-profit senior center. (

Also, if you’re planning a San Francisco visit over the June 8-10, 2012 weekend, you may want to cheer on this year’s Escape From Alcatraz triathlon contestants. (

Central Coast

Santa Barbara celebrates Cinco de Mayo in a big way, and this year’s celebration is scheduled for May 5, 2012, in Plaza de la Guerra and at the Casa de la Guerra. This marks the 21st year for the festival, and it’s fun for the whole family! (

And, head to Castroville for the annual Artichoke Festival on May 19 & 20, 2012. You can enjoy field tours, cooking demonstrations, a parade, live entertainment and, of course, LOTS of artichokes! (

Central Valley

Plan a trip to Sacramento (actually the Yolo County Fairgrounds in Woodland) on April 18 & 29, 2012, and you can be part of the 136th Anniversary Sacramento Valley Scottish Games & Festival. This is the third oldest event of this genre in the U.S., as well as one of the largest. It’s a BIG deal and TONS of fun, to boot! (

In Selma (near Fresno), the “Raisin Capital of the World,” the city’s 31st annual Raisin Festival will be held May 2-6 this year. Come celebrate the raisin and agriculture industry and enjoy the community’s baking, art, floriculture, photography and poetry competitions, as well as entertainment, carnival rides, craft booths and delicious food. (

Sierras & Gold Country

For over 50 years, the Chowchilla Western Stampede has celebrated the long-ago traditions of western life. The 2012 Stampede festivities kick off on April 11 with a historic cattle drive right through downtown Chowchilla. (

Orange County

You’ll want to be in Garden Grove over the Memorial Day Weekend (May 25-28, 2012) for the annual Strawberry Festival. It’s making my mouth water just thinking about it! (

Los Angeles

The 75th anniversary of the Queen Mary’s maiden voyage is May 27, 2011, and she had many years of seafaring service before retiring to her current home in Long Beach in 1967. To celebrate the occasion, the anniversary weekend (May 26-29) will be filled with pomp and ceremony, including distinguished guests, Big Band music, war stories, historic tours and elegant culinary creations. (

If you’ve never been to Ojai, you should definitely check it out (it’s one of our favorite California cities, actually), and on Saturday, June 23, 2012, you could enjoy the Ojai Valley Lavender Festival during your visit. (

Inland Empire & Deserts

You can be Fishing for $50K at Big Bear Lake on June 9 & 10, 2012, when this California gem hosts a Trout Derby. If you’re an angler, it sure sounds like a fine time to plan a Big Bear getaway to me. There are a total of ten tagged trout just out there waiting for you, including one that will be worth $50K to some lucky fisherman who will have a tale to tell for years to come. (

And, over Father’s Day Weekend (June 15-17), you’ll find music and more family fun at the annual Huck Finn Jubilee in Victorville. (

San Diego

If you like Zydeco, Blues and Crawfish, you’ll want to check out Gator By the Bay, May 11-13 (Mother’s Day Weekend), at San Diego’s Spanish Landing Park at Harbor Island, which is directly across from the airport, about three miles from downtown. How can you go wrong with rocking music and a Louisiana Food Court? (

For something completely different, though, be on hand May 19 & 20, 2012 for Old Town Temecula Western Days, which features music, gun fighting skits, gold panning, Civil War exhibits and more. (

You may want to send an email to the visitor’s bureau where you plan to spend your California vacation, holiday or weekend getaway. Here is a list of various California convention and visitor’s bureaus. This is a great way to learn what local California current events might be occurring during your visit.

Photo of the Redding Sundial Bridge (which links the north and south campuses of Turtle Bay Exploration Park) by Nathan Jongewaard via flickr (Creative Commons)

Related posts:

California Current Events – Fall

California Culinary Events – Summer Food Festivals

California Current Events – Holiday Edition

Misc. Travel Resources

Note: Information in this article was accurate
when it was published, but hours, prices, etc.
change constantly. Please confirm details
with local contacts before traveling.

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