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August 2023 Events in California

August 2023 Events in California

Make the most of summer by experiencing these surfing festivals, fairs, and leisurely wine- and beer-tasting experiences

Posted 5 months agoby Katrina Hunt

Who says summer is almost over? There’s still plenty of time—and many compelling reasons—for a getaway to California this month. A few annual festivals, including one in Sonoma County that celebrates a rare apple, walk the line between summer fun and harvest season. Other events—celebrating surfing, wine, music, and more—provide easy excuses for a weekend getaway, and some are even geared to dog owners.

The late-summer season also offers a wealth of mellow ongoing festivities, including weekly free concerts and wine-tasting strolls. Here are 20-plus events made for a beat-the-heat summer escape.

Through Aug. 5: Eureka Street Art Festival

This North Coast town is a hotbed for public murals, and this weeklong festival (which kicks off July 30) invites you to witness new ones as they’re being created. Watch a range of international painters at work each day, take mural tours, or perhaps try your hand at creating one yourself during a street-painting workshop. On the last day, a party celebrates the new murals’ official debuts. Another option: conduct your own tour of the town’s murals any time of year.

Through Aug. 6: Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, Huntington Beach

This Huntington Beach event qualifies as the largest action-sports festival in the world. Indeed, it includes not just surfing, but also skateboarding and BMX competitions. Things get underway July 29 near the Huntington Beach Pier with family-friendly activities including surf clinics, sustainability panels, art installations, and public skate and BMX sessions. Best of all, admission is free.

Through Aug. 7: Lazy Bear Week, Guerneville

Summer’s LGBTQ+ pride parties continue at this annual event and fundraiser in western Sonoma County. This year’s festivities include pool parties, hikes, and miniature golf paired with wine tastings. Book online to get your bear tag—a donation receipt that grants you free admission to the activities.

Through Aug. 20: Music in the Vineyards, Napa

Choose from more than three weeks’ worth of chamber-music concerts—featuring works by Schubert, Stravinsky, Vivaldi, and more—paired with lush Napa Valley scenery. Check the schedule for concerts combined with wine tastings, dinners, silent movies, and opportunities to mingle with musicians. Many events are set at wineries, including Domaine CarnerosCharles Krug, and Silverado Vineyards.

Aug. 2–4: Concord Jazz Around Town, Concord

The East Bay town has one serious jazz credential: Dave Brubeck made Concord his home for many years. To honor the late legend, the town hosts special jazz performances each year at different venues. Hear acts such as guitar virtuoso Jinx Jones at venues including The Veranda and the town’s Todos Santos Plaza.

Aug. 2–6: International Surf Festival, Redondo Beach

For more high-season surfing, head to Redondo Beach for amateur surfing competitions, a pier-to-pier swim, and paddleboard races. Don’t miss the swim races and fitness contests for area lifeguards.

Aug. 2–6: Old Spanish Fiesta Days, Santa Barbara

This annual festival has been a Santa Barbara tradition since 1925 and offers nearly a week of events including a parade, livestock show, rodeo, and flamenco dancing. Be sure to peruse the market across from City Hall for Mexican-American cuisine, plus arts and crafts. This year, for the first time, the Grand Marshall will be an elder from the Chumash community.

Aug. 2–30: Solvang Music in the Park, Solvang

Head to Solvang to attend this Wednesday night music series set in Solvang Park Gazebo. While the Santa Ynez Valley town has a rich Danish heritage, the musical lineup in August skews toward jazz, funk, and cowboy rock. Bring a picnic blanket and food, wine, or beer from downtown Solvang, where bars and tasting rooms typically serve closed containers of alcoholic beverages that are allowed in the park.

Aug. 3–6: Mammoth Festival of Beers & Bluesapalooza, Mammoth Lakes

This classic music fest blends traditional blues with R&B, soul, and rock, featuring headliners such as Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band and Larkin Poe. The craft beer lineup, meanwhile, is typically more than 80 names strong, including nearby June Lake Brewing and Mammoth Brewing. While you're there, raise your glass to International Beer Day on Aug. 4.

Aug. 4–6: Tour de Big Bear, Snow Summit

This fun cycling event near Big Bear Lake starts at Snow Summit this year, a magnificent area for both mountain biking and road cycling. Choose from a wide range of distances and challenge levels: There’s a family-friendly 5K in addition to 25-, 50-, 70-, and 100-mile courses, as well as a 50-mile gravel ride. Get in a warm-up on Aug. 4 during the illuminated Glow Ride.

Aug. 4–25: Jazz & Blues by the Bay, Sausalito

Gabrielson Park in downtown Sausalito offers sweet views of Angel Island and the Bay Bridge, along with plenty of lawn space for picnics. Come on any Friday through Sept. 15 for concerts that showcase blues, jazz, and funk. Bring your own low-slung chair or a picnic blanket, or reserve a table.

Aug. 5: World Dog Surfing Championships 2023, Pacifica

Come see canine surf enthusiasts—from amateurs to veteran competitors—hang 10 (or at least four) on the waves at Linda Mar Beach, off the coast in the San Francisco Peninsula. See who wins the "Golden Surfie Medal" at this free event and browse the Surf Dog Village for pooch-friendly merch.

Aug. 5–6: Tour of Albariño, Lodi

Wineries around Lodi wine country make excellent use of the Albariño grape, traditionally grown in Spain and Portugal. In honor of Aug. 1’s Albariño Grape Day, this event invites visitors to explore Lodi wineries that feature the grape in their crisp white wines. Pick up a map at the Lodi Wine Visitor’s Center, and don’t miss wineries such as Bokisch Vineyards and Dancing Coyote Wines.

Aug. 5–6: HARD Summer, Los Angeles

Get your rave on at this three-day festival devoted to EDM and hip-hop, spread out over outdoor stages in downtown Los Angeles. The venues include the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Exposition Park, and BMO Stadium. Kaskade, John Summit, Skrillex, and Four Tet top the deep lineup, which also features special guests 21 Savage and Kid Cudi.

Aug. 11–13: Outside Lands Music and Arts Fest, San Francisco

This annual festival in Golden Gate Park mixes live music with a lot of Bay Area food and drink—like the steamed baos of The Chairman, ice cream from Humphry Slocombe, and a bevy of beverages at the Wine Lands and Beer Lands areas of the festival. This year’s headliners are Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters, and Odesza, and the lineup also includes standouts such as Janelle Monae, Lana Del Rey, and Megan Thee Stallion.

Aug. 11–13: San Jose Jazz Summerfest

Enjoy jazz in its many forms at this San Jose festival that focuses on everything from big band to Latin to standards. The lineup features W.I.T.C.H., The Bad Plus, and The Soul Rebels. As you plan your trip, be sure to check out the festival’s special hotel deals for the weekend.

Aug. 11–13, 18–20: Splash House Music Festival, Greater Palm Springs

Live music, DJ acts, and fabulous pool parties are the big draws of this house, disco, and electronica festival that spreads across three Greater Palm Springs resorts—The Saguaro Palm SpringsRenaissance Palm Springs, and Margaritaville Resort. The Palm Springs Air Museum is also a featured venue. Buy a pass to attend festivities on one of the weekends, or book a hotel package that bundles in stays at a host or nearby resort.

Aug. 11–20: Monterey Car Week, Monterey County

This annual event brings auto shows, auctions, and memorabilia to Monterey County. The celebration starts on Aug. 11 with a classic-car show in downtown Monterey, and includes events for Porsche enthusiasts, Ferrari lovers, and even fans of so-dubbed “crappy cars,” in an event known as the Concours d’Lemons. The week concludes with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, with its display of fabulous vehicles on the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links. If you just want to gape at the vehicles, check out the selection of free-admission events.

Aug. 12: Lemon Festival, Chula Vista

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the San Diego County town of Chula Vista was one of the most prolific lemon-growing areas in the world. These days, you mostly see lemon trees outside homes, but this annual event brings that citrus magic to downtown’s Third Avenue Village, with lots of lemonade, lemon-themed games, lemon-pie-eating contests, and dogs wearing their best lemon-themed outfits.

Aug. 12: Surf ’n’ Suds Craft Beer & Music Fest, Carpinteria

This one-day festival at Carpinteria State Beach in Santa Barbara County features food trucks, music, and more than 75 craft breweries, wineries, and makers of kombucha and hard seltzer. The beverage lineup includes a lot of California beermakers, including Eppig BrewingKnee Deep Brewing Co., and Balcom Canyon Hard Cider.

Aug. 12: Brews, Jazz, & Funk Fest, Palisades Tahoe

This popular music-meets-beer event features lovely scenery, live music, and beers from more than 10 different breweries, including FiftyFifty Brewing Co., Truckee Brewing Co., and Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Proceeds benefit the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe—and yes, well-behaved dogs are welcome too.

While you’re in the area, check out the live music in the Palisades Tahoe Village on Tuesdays and Fridays, courtesy of both the Bluesdays Series and the Sunsets Live Music Series.

Aug. 12–13: Gravenstein Apple Fair, Sebastopol

Apple season comes early in Sonoma County, thanks to the local Gravenstein apples which ripen in late summer. This year’s festival at Ragle Ranch Regional Park is the festival’s 50th anniversary and benefits Sonoma County Farm Trails. Come for hands-on demonstrations, live music, kids’ activities, and lots of opportunities to taste your way through the endless spread of apple-inspired treats. Check out the Agrarian Games, too, where you can take part in a corn shucking competition or watch the Ugly Produce Beauty Contest.

Aug. 12–13: 30th Pistahan Parade & Festival, San Francisco

Celebrate the Bay Area’s rich Filipino heritage during this free, two-day event at Yerba Buena Gardens, located in a part of San Francisco that has long been associated with the Filipino American community. Come for the parade on Saturday at 11 a.m. and spend the rest of the weekend enjoying dancers, food vendors, and local artisans.

Aug. 13: Benicia Peddlers Fair, Benicia

Since 1963, the Solano County town of Benicia has hosted this fair of antiques and collectibles vendors from around the nation. Stroll 11 blocks of First Street in the historic downtown to browse period furniture, vintage textiles, blue Depression glass, clocks, and more. A bonus: the fair also offers a nice view of the Carquinez Strait.

Aug. 18–19: Cruisin’ Weekend, Atascadero

Even if you don’t own a radical ride, you can enjoy cruising culture at this San Luis Obispo County party, which is free for spectators. On Friday night, about 400 cars from the 1950s and 1960s will drive up and down Atascadero’s El Camino Real. (Have a vintage vehicle? Register to join.) On Saturday night, dance to live music in the streets outside City Hall and get dinner from the food trucks.

Aug. 19: Salmon Festival, Klamath

Take part in a fun run, parade, and then an epic salmon feast at this annual event in Del Norte County, on Yurok tribal lands. August is prime season for chinook salmon around here so it’s easy to extend your stay by fishing on the Klamath River.

Aug. 19: Beneath the Desert Sky Concert, Joshua Tree

If you’ve ever wanted to check out Pappy + Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, an iconic bar and music venue, this is an excellent opportunity. See local acts Mojave Lords and Friends, Flames of Durga, and C’est Claire at this annual event that benefits Joshua Tree National Park.

Aug. 19: Placer Wine Trail Sips & Suds BBQ, Placer County

Sample the wines and ales of Gold Country—paired with barbecue, live music, and games—during this one-day event at Gold Hill Gardens, a 38-acre inn and estate. Expand your familiarity with the region’s offerings by picking up this year’s Placer Wine & Ale Trail Sips & Suds Summer Passport, good through Aug. 31 for tastings at participating wineries and breweries.

Aug. 24–27: Butte County Fair, Gridley

Come to this long-running country fair in Butte County for livestock exhibits, carnival rides, crafts, and plenty of decadent fair cuisine. Check out classic fair competitions for foods such as sourdough breads throughout the four-day event.

Aug. 26: Fulton Street Party, Fresno

Celebrate both lowrider culture and a thriving downtown scene at this one-day event along Fresno’s Fulton Street. Check out the classic and lowrider cars, 50-plus musical acts playing at indoor and outdoor venues, food trucks, beer gardens, and an aerial-arts performance in the Brewery District. On the same day, the Fresno Grizzlies will play a home game, temporarily going by the name Lowriders de Fresno.

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