You can learn a lot about a place at its local festivals. Consider the Kinetic Grand Championship, a cosmically silly three-day battle between human-powered works of art (imagine a speeding dragon made out of hubcaps) that race from Arcata to Ferndale. In fall, early rains usher in the Mendocino Mushroom Festival; don’t miss this opportunity to sample the elusive candy cap mushroom, the sweetest of locally foraged fungi. Wash down fresh-from-the-sea crab with local brews and wines during the annual Crab, Wine & Beer Festival, held in January. Come springtime, celebrate the annual migration of gray whales as they swim and spout along the North Coast on their way to Alaska.