Summer festival season in Santa Cruz County

May 21, 2013
Strawberries will get some love at the annual strawberry fest in June.

Strawberries will get some love at the annual strawberry fest in June.

Summer time means festival time, and there’s plenty of ‘em coming up. Did we miss any? Let us know!


Santa Cruz Blues Festival: This annual music festival takes place this weekend with headliners Steve Miller Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and many more.  The festival is being held at Aptos Village Park, 100 Aptos Creek Rd., Aptos.

When: May 25-26.

For more information: Santa Cruz Blues Festival


Strawberry Festival: The Walnut Avenue Women’s Center presents its 25th annual Strawberry festival, featuring chocolate-dipped strawberries, shortcake and other strawberry foods, a barbecue, a plant sale, live music, kids’ activities and a raffle. It takes place at the center, located at 303 Walnut Ave. in Santa Cruz.

When: June 1, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Wine festival:  The Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association presents the 24th annual Vintners’ Festival “Roots that Rock.” Live music, art, food and of course, plenty of wine.  There are two weekends of fun planned, with tickets for the weekend going for $40 plus a handling fee online or $50 at the winery. That buys you four days of wine tasting at the wineries, plus 10 tasting tickets for the closing day festival and a commemorative wine glass.

When: June 1 and 2, festival takes place at wineries on the eastside of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, 12 – 5 p.m.       June 8 and 9, the festival takes place at wineries west of the Summit in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties. On Sunday, June 9, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Downtown Santa Cruz Vintners’ Street Festival will be held on Pacific Avenue between Locust and Walnut. It’s open to the public but wine tasting requires the purchase of an $8 glass and tasting tickets, which are $1 each. Each tasting costs between two and five tickets.

For more information: Visit the association’s website or call (831)685-VINE (8463).


Japanese Cultural Fair: The city of Santa Cruz hosts a celebration of all things Japanese at Mission Plaza in downtown Santa Cruz. Japanese drummers, storytellers and dancers will be joined by martial arts demonstrations and healing arts vendors, among others. Sushi, noodles, green tea and crafts will also abound. Admission is free.

When: June 8, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information: Japanese Cultural Fair


Woodies on the Wharf: The annual celebration of these wood-paneled cars returns to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf for a 19th year.

When: June 21- 24th; The festival opens with a welcome party from 4 – 7 p.m. on Friday, June 21 at the Ocean Pacific Lodge. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the public is invited to come check out the cars, enter raffles, buy merchandise and more. At 3:30 p.m., the cars will parade through the area. Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m., the woodies will cruise past the lighthouse, along West Cliff Drive and eventually to the Santa Cruz Harbor.

For more information: Santa Cruz Woodies


Shakespeare Santa Cruz:  Shakespeare Santa Cruz returns to UC Santa Cruz for another year with a full slate of plays to be performed under the redwoods. This year’s schedule includes “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Henry V,” and “Tom Jones.” Tickets range from $30 to $46 depending on when you go and where you sit. The full schedule and information is online.

When: July 23- Sept. 1

For more information:  Shakespeare Santa Cruz


Santa Cruz Music Festival: Alt-weekly Good Times Santa Cruz is sponsoring the Santa Cruz Music Festival, which features more than 60 acts playing at several local venues. The lineup includes Tater Famine, Buddy Wakefield, The Coup, Getter and many more. Tickets are $30-$40. More details about the event are still being released, so be sure to check the website or Facebook page. 

When: July 20, 10 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

For more information: Santa Cruz Music Festival

Festival del Nopal: Celebrate the cactus at the 4th annual Festival del Nopal in downtown Santa Cruz on Lincoln Street. The free event promises food, live music, traditional dancing and the crowning of the festival queen, among other activities.

When: Sunday, July 28.

For more information: Festival del Nopal


Scotts Valley Wine and Art Festival: The Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce presents its 14th annual art and wine festival with plenty of – you guessed it –wine and art. More than 100 artists from around the state will display their juried art, and microbreweries and wineries from throughout the area will be pouring up their wares in Scotts Valley’s Skypark on Kings Village Road.

When: Aug. 10 and 11, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information: Scotts Valley Art and Wine Festival


Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music: This annual summer music festival includes a full slate of performances and events beginning Aug. 2 and continuing through August 11, with most taking place at the Santa Cruz Civic Center. Open rehearsals will also be held prior to the festival’s start. The full lineup of performances is here. The festival also features a variety of workshops and lectures, as well as the annual Church Street Festival, a family-friendly event including music, food and drink.

When: Aug. 2 – Aug. 11, with the festival’s annual Church Street Fair scheduled for Aug. 3- 4, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information: Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music


Aloha Outrigger Races and Polynesian Festival: The Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf hosts the 21st annual outrigger races and Polynesian festival. The outrigger canoe races, designed for first-paddlers, begin at 9 a.m.

When: Aug. 18. Races begin at 9 a.m., festival starts at 11 a.m.

For more information: Aloha Celebrity Races and Polynesian Festival

Testicle Festival: Yes, you read that right. The Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee holds an annual testicle festival dedicated to the culinary enjoyment of what some call the prairie oyster or rocky mountain oysters. They’ll be available on an all-you-can-eat festival along with pasta, chicken, salad and more. The event takes place at Estrada’s Deer Camp in Watsonville. Tickets are $40 for adults.

When: Aug. 24, 3 – 7 p.m.

For more information: YF&R Testicle Festival


Begonia Festival: The 61st annual Begonia Festival in Capitola, featuring the begonia boat parade, a sand sculpture contest, music, art, food and kids’ activities. Free admission.

When: Aug. 30 – Sept. 2; The nautical parade takes place Sunday at 1 p.m.

For more information and full schedule of events: The 61st Begonia Festival    

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