Let the Festivals BEGIN!
Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties love their festivals — especially in the spring. The hills are still green and the weather’s warm, but the sea breezes keep things from getting too sweltering. After a wet and chilly winter, this spring’s festivals are sure to be even livelier. So whether you’re looking for something to do with your college buddies (beer and wine festivals), your grandparents (Art in the Park), or your kids (Kite Festivals), there’s tons of festivals to suit your tastes. Way more, in fact, than we can begin to list here! So get off the 101 and get to exploring these tastes of the region.
Story by Misty Hall
April 6 to 7 – 44th Scandinavian Festival
When and where: 10 am to 5 pm each day, at California Lutheran University,
60 W Olsen Rd, Thousand Oaks
Cost: $5 and up
Tickets and more: scandinavianfest.org
The largest Nordic festival in Southern California is back to celebrate all things Scandinavian: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the Sami people. Enjoy cultural music, food, crafts, demonstrations, vendors, and lectures, then check out the authentic Viking village. Try your hand at traditional games, get a reading from a rune reader, and get some dance lessons, too. Whether or not your family hails from Scandinavia, this is an original festival you’ll be talking about for weeks afterward
April 5 to 7 – Skull & Roses II
When and where: April 5 to 7 at Ventura County Fairgrounds, 10 W Harbor Blvd, Ventura
Cost: $34 to $899.95
Tickets and more: skullandroses.com
Love the Grateful Dead? Then this is the festival for you! Grateful Dead-inspired bands — dozens of them throughout the 3 days! — will rock the stages all weekend long, from 10 am to midnight most days. Different themes each day encourage attendees to dress up and get into the groove. You can even camp onsite the whole weekend. Drum circles often open and close each day. (Important: as festival organizers note, this is a GD-style camping experience, with no hookups — just dirt and rocks— so come prepared, and check the website for restrictions.)
Spring Wine Walk & Street Fair
When and where: 10:30 am to 6 pm, Downtown Ventura
More info: springwinewalk.com
If you’ve never been to downtown Ventura, it’s well worth the 5-minute detour from the 101. And there’s no better time to visit than in the spring when the ocean air mingles with the smell of growing things in the hills. If you happen to be around on April 6, it’s a no-brainer: get yourself downtown. The fun starts with a free Egg Hunt in Mission Park, with hunts for different age groups starting at 11 am.
As soon as the egg hunt starts, so too does the street fair — something downtown Ventura does spectacularly well. Check out the offerings from artists, local organizations, and commercial vendors, and don’t forget to visit the downtown shops.
Live music will be pumping all the while. The wine walk kicks off at 3 pm and takes you through the downtown shops for wine, beer, and champagne tastings (not to mention some seriously great sales!).
A VIP area (dubbed the Bunny Lounge) will be open at the same time as the wine walk, 3 to 6 pm, and kicks it up a notch with mimosas, chocolates, snacks, and special VIP-only tastings. VIP tickets include both the regular wine walk and VIP experience.
April 6 and 7 – Wine 4 Paws
When and where: All day, various Paso Robles locations
For more: wine4paws.com
Love wine and dogs? Have we got an event for you! Wine 4 Paws brings together dozens of wineries for a weekend of tasting some of the region’s most distinctive varietals. There will also be beer tasting, courtesy of Earth and Fire Brewing Company, as well as olive oil tasting from Olivas de Oro.
Different area wineries will host live music and tastings. Many — including AronHill Vineyards, Calcareous, Cass Winery, Grey Wolf Cellars, and Barton Family Wines, Justin Winery, Niner Wine Estates, Oso Libre Winery, Villa San-Juliette — will offer food at their tasting rooms, so you can bring a picnic or make your own when you get there. Some require reservations, so be sure to check the website and plan ahead.
Other spots to hit: Asuncion Ridge and HammerSky Vineyards have music planned throughout the weekend; Brecon Estate will host a paint and sip Saturday at 11:30 am, where you’ll learn to paint your pet; Chateau Lettau will have a doggy costume contest and picture booth; Parrish Family Vineyard will host pet photographer Monique Snow to capture you and your pooch from noon to 3 pm each day, and more are being added all the time. If you’re in town the night before, join the Bark After Dark in downtown Paso Robles.
A portion of the tasting fees will go to benefit homeless pets at the Woods Humane Society and Woods Humane Society-North County.
April 13 – Tequila, Sal y Limón
When and where: 11 am to 6 pm at the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Grounds, 113 S College Dr, Santa Maria
Cost: $25 to $100
Celebrate Banda and Mariachi music — along with tequila, of course — at this Santa Maria event. Proceeds will benefit the Welcome Home Soldier Foundation, providing sleeping bags to homeless Veterans. Note: This event is for those ages 21 and older only.
April 13 - Oxnard Earth Day Festival
When and where: 11 am to 3 pm at Plaza Park, on the corner of Fifth and C Streets in downtown Oxnard
The city of Oxnard is again hosting an Earth Day celebration, complete with children’s activities, information booths, food , and drink vendors, and myriad opportunities to take action to preserve and protect the Earth.
April 14 – Santa Barbara Kite Festival
When and where: 11 am to 5 pm, Santa Barbara City College,
721 Cliff Dr, Santa Barbara
Let’s go fly a kite! Santa Barbara City College is the ideal venue to let loose with some colorful flying machines at this annual family-friendly event. Pack a picnic and your favorite kite, or buy one on-site!
April 20 – Buckles ’n’ Brews Invitational
When and where: 12:30 to 4:30 pm, Santa Barbara Carriage Museum, 129 Castillo St, Santa Barbara
Cost: $15 (non-alcohol tickets) to $65
For tickets and more: bucklesandbrews.com
This year marks the fourth Buckles ’n’ Brews, and it’s the biggest one yet. Sample from more than 30 craft breweries and wineries, then get your dance on with The Dusty Jugs and The Brambles. VIP entry gets you in an hour early and includes special tastings not available with general admission tickets. The Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara will be grilling up barbecue goodness on-site.
Breweries will include Ballast Point, SLO Brew, Lagunitas, Rincon, Firestone, and dozens more!
Proceeds will benefit the Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara to continue their support of the Santa Barbara community and children’s causes worldwide. Notes: no pets allowed; ticket holders must be at least 21 years old to enter.
April 20 and 21 – Santa Paula Easter Festival
When and where: noon to 4 pm, 364 Main St, Fillmore
Cost: $12 to $26
Tickets and more: fwry.com
Hop on the train with the Fillmore and Western Railway Co. for an adventure to the Santa Paula Easter Celebration. The train departs Fillmore at noon and drops off passengers in downtown Santa Paula to experience the Easter festivities. Spend two hours in town then catch the train back to Fillmore. Food and beverages are available on the train.
April 26 to 28 – Morro Bay Kite Festival
When and where: 10 am to 4 pm (3 pm Sunday) at Morro Bay Beach, 200 Coleman Dr, Morro Bay
There’s just something mesmerizing about kites. No matter how old you are, watching them flutter in the breeze holds a certain kind of magic. At the Morro Bay Kite Festival, you’ll see kites of all sizes: tiny kites, huge kites (and we mean giant), trick kites, wind surfing kites, sand surfing kites (yeah, that’s a thing!), aquatic kites (also a thing!). Check out demonstrations of all these and more throughout the weekend in one of the best places to fly kites anywhere. All kids get a free kite while supplies last.
April 27 – Charles Paddock Zoo’s Brew at the Zoo
When and where: 5:30 to 9 pm at the Charles Paddock Zoo, 9100 Morro Rd, Atascadero
Cost: $35 to $45
Tickets and more: VisitAtascadero.com
The fifth annual Brew at the Zoo is a groovin’ good time featuring craft beer, wine, cider tasting, and live music — all within the zoo grounds. This event raises funds for the zoo, which is home to hundreds of animal species and helps preserve their natural habitats around the world. Must be 21 years and over to purchase tickets.
April 27 – Earth Day SLO
When and where: 11 am to 5 pm at Laguna Lake Park, 504 Madonna Rd, San Luis Obispo
The Earth Day Alliance will again host its San Luis Obispo County Earth Day Fair & Music Festival on April 27. Earth Day Alliance’s goal is to bring the community together for eco-awareness, present environmental concerns, and solutions, and to inspire action.
There will be a kid’s zone, bike/transportation hub, food, drink, and environmentally-conscious vendors and information booths, as well as a beer garden. More information and excellent resources are available on the Earth Day Alliance website earthdayalliance.com.
May 2 to 5 – Cruisin’ Morro Bay Car Show
When and where: Times and locations vary, 695 Harbor St, Morro Bay More: morrobaycarshow.org
The Cruisin’ Morro Bay Car Show returns for the 23rd year with cars of all kinds: new, classic, and everything in between. Register to cruise throughout the weekend with various activities, or just come check out the goods.
May 4 – Buellton Brew Fest
When and where: 11:30 am to 4:30 pm at Riverview Park,
151 Sycamore Dr, Buellton
Cost: $20 (non-alcohol ticket) to $55
For tickets and more: buelltonbrewfest.com
Buellton Brew Fest returns for the seventh time to Riverview Park. More than 50 brews, wines, ciders, and spirits will be available. We’re talkin’ Figueroa Mountain, Golden Road, Island Brewing Co., Topa Topa Brewing Co., Stone, Green Flash, Anchor Steam, Elysian, Kona, and tons more.
Live entertainment will be provided by DJ Hecktik, Richie Rey, Tony Balbinot and the Cadillac Angels. Take a break from dancing to try your hand at some lawn games, like mega sized beer pong and cornhole. When you’re hungry, head over to the huge assortment of regional food trucks. Make a day of it and bring lawn chairs and blankets. A VIP ticket gets you in an hour early and gives you access to special beers not available to general admission ticket holders.
Want to participate but don’t want to drive? Buy a bus ticket! Stops include Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, and Goleta. Tickets ($10 to $25) must be purchased ahead of time. Note: Ticket holders must be 21 and older to enter.
May 16 to 19 – 37th annual Paso Robles Wine Festival
When and where: Times and locations vary
Cost: $25 and up
For tickets and more: pasowine.com/events/winefest/
A four-day celebration of all things Paso wine country, the 37th annual festival encompasses several events in several locations: Winemaker dinners at local restaurants; the Reserve event, showcasing library, reserve, futures, and white/rosés paired with local gourmet food tastings; seminars; and the big party, the Grand Tasting. The latter will feature more than 70 wineries in Paso Robles Downtown City Park. This year they’ll be brilliantly arranged by region to give you a true sense of what Paso wineries have been able to do with the likes of Bordeaux-style, Zinfandel, Italian varieties, and more.
May 18 – Atascadero Car Show
When and where: 10 am to 3 pm at 6500 Palma Ave, Atascadero
The Zs are coming! Not the sleeping kind — the Datsun/Nissan Zs. The fifth annual event is hosted by Fast Intentions and will include Z cars from all generations from across the state. Also on hand will be music, entertainment, racing simulators, a mobile dyno machine, trophies, models, raffles, food trucks, vendors, a beer island, and more.
May 18 – LakeFest & Cardboard Boat Regatta
When and where: 10 am to 5 pm at Atascadero Lake Park, 9305 Pismo Ave, Atascadero
For more: visitatascadero.com
Ahh, duct tape, is there anything it can’t do? Come find out at the LakeFest & Cardboard Boat Regatta at Atascadero Lake. Watch as competitors try out their cardboard and duct tape boats. There’ll also be rubber ducky races and lots of fun activities for the kids. Food, drinks, and more are available on-site. All proceeds benefit special projects for the lake.
May 18 – Ventura Surf ’n’ Suds Beer Festival
When and where: 12:30 to 5 pm at San Buenaventura State Beach, 901 San Pedro St, Ventura
Cost: $20 (designated driver ticket) to $65
For tickets and more: surfbeerfest.com
There’s a good reason — well, lots of good reasons — the Surf ’n’ Suds Beer Festival has been rated one of beeryeti.com’s top 10 festivals in the U.S.
The setting is ideal, just steps away from the Pacific Ocean, for gorgeous views and fresh ocean breezes. The beverages are plentiful — there are more than 75 breweries, ciders, kombucha, and wine, for a total of 200+ different drinks (including gluten free beers). There are choice tunes. Soul Majestic, Flogging Seagulls, and DJ Hecktik are all on the bill. And there’s a surf twist. Surfboard shapers, local nonprofit groups, awesome surf-inspired vendors, and plenty of food trucks and restrooms make Surf ‘n’ Suds the top beer festival in the area! VIP ticket holders enter an hour early at 11:30 am and get to sample special booze not available to general admission ticket holders.
The festival organizers are big on quality of experience, so they cap ticket sales to ensure you’re not standing in line for tastings all day. There are also free water stations and plenty of shade and bathrooms. Safety is also important, so check the website for a list of transportation opportunities. Bus transportation available from Goleta, Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, and Oxnard (advanced ticket purchase is required), and if you want to ride your bike, a free bike valet will keep them safe.
Proceeds benefit the Young and Brave Foundation, a nonprofit that helps children and young adults diagnosed with cancer.
May 18 and 19 – California Strawberry Festival
When and where: 10 am to 6:30 pm, Strawberry Meadows of College Park, 3250 South Rose Ave, Oxnard
Cost: $5 to $12; kids under 4 free
Tickets and more: castrawberryfestival.org
If you live in Southern California, chances are you know that some of the world’s best strawberries are grown in the Oxnard plain. It makes sense, then, that the 36th annual festival would be held in the heart of the strawberry country.
Get your berry bliss on with dozens of food and drink booths. Sample fresh-from-the-farm whole berries, margaritas, and chocolate-dipped treats. Or, get adventurous and try something a little different, like strawberry pizza, strawberry tacos, even deep-fried strawberries! There’s even a build-your-own strawberry shortcake (in case you’re wondering where you’ll find us all day).
But there’s more than just berry-themed food and drink. You’ll find plenty more to do with live music from well-known groups, hundreds of vendors, attractions, and rides. And if you’re feeling a little competitive, why not join the strawberry shortcake eating contest or pie someone in the face in the strawberry tart toss? There are also contests for best berry hat and kids’ costumes. The culinary-inclined will want to keep an eye on the Berry Blast Off Recipe Contest, where locals submit their berry best berry-themed dishes.
The local community benefits in a big way, with 100 percent of proceeds going to dozens of local charities and youth groups — more than $4.5 million has been raised to-date!
May 19 – State Street Nationals Premier Car Show
When and where: 9 am to 4 pm on State Street, Santa Barbara
Cars and car lovers will take over 10 blocks of Santa Barbara’s State Street for this fun family event. On display will be some of history’s most notable driving machines. Vendors, food, drinks, and live bands make this an all-day event worth stopping for.
May 25 and 26 – Art in the Park Ojai
When and where: 10 am to 5 pm each day, at Libbey Park in downtown Ojai
For more: ojaiartcenter.org
Meander through dozens of booths under the beautiful oak trees of Libbey Park this Memorial Day weekend for Ojai’s Art in the Park. Ojai is known as an artist community, and the Ojai Art Center — the festival organizer — is California’s oldest multipurpose nonprofit art center. So it’s safe to say these folks can put on a good art festival. This 42nd event attracts local and regional artists with their sculptures, kitchen ware, lawn art, jewelry, photography, furniture, clothing, bags, upcycled art, hand-blown glass … you get the idea.
Along with working artists, there are also display areas for teens, an educational pavilion for kids (make your own art!), food booths, and live music.
It is also a juried fine arts show with prize money — which, naturally, attracts some high caliber artists. Awards are given to both professional and high school artists. But perhaps the best part is getting to spend time with the artists themselves, whose passion for their work and eagerness to share it make for an educational — and memorable — experience.
May 25 to 27 – Morro Bay Art in the Park
When and where: 10 am to 5 pm (Sunday, till 4 pm), Morro Bay City Park, at the corner of Morro Bay Blvd and Harbor Dr, Morro Bay
For more: morrobayartinthepark.com
For almost 65 years, Morro Bay artists have gathered annually for a celebration of all things creative. More than 125 artists and crafters exhibit and sell their wares, with everything from ceramics to paintings, clothing to wind chimes.
Can’t make it this time of year? The Morro Bay Art Association has you covered, with additional festivals on July 4 and Labor Day weekend. Proceeds for all three festivals help fund children’s art classes, scholarships, and other art programs.
May 26 – Avila Beach Blues Festival
When and where: 12:00 to 11:30 pm at Avila Beach Resort, 6464 Ana Bay Rd, Avila Beach
Cost: $55 to $110
Tickets and more: slochamber.org/event/26th-annual-avila-beach-blues-festival/
The longest running blues festival on the Central Coast is back at the beach, this year with Eric Burdon and The Animals, Little Feat, and Charlie Musselwhite. The blues begin at 2 pm and will groove on until sunset. Different seating options are available, from lawn to a VIP balcony, at this stunningly beautiful venue.
Notes: No pets and no umbrellas (so bring a hat). Only low-backed chairs allowed in the lawn seating. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Rossi Foundation, which serves multiple family and community charities.
May 25 – Beer Fest at Madonna Meadows
When and where: Noon to 5 pm at 100 Madonna Rd,
San Luis Obispo
Cost: $10 (non-alcohol ticket) to $40
Tickets and more: memorialdaybeerfest.com
Come enjoy dozens of regionals beers and foods, at the annual Beer Fest at Madonna Meadows. Live music, giant beer pong, cornhole, an obstacle course, sumo, and joust will add to the fun (and make for some seriously amazing photo ops). Free shuttles and bike parking are available (see the website for details).
June 1 – Ojai Blues Fest #4
When and where: 2 to 9:30 pm at the Ojai Art Center, 113 S Montgomery St, Ojai Tickets: $25 advanced / $30 at the door For more: eventbrite.com/e/ojai-blues-fest-4-tickets-57345502943
Find a seat on the oak-lined patio of the historic Ojai Art Center for the fourth Ojai Blues Fest. On the lineup this year are Crooked Eye Tommy featuring Rae Gordon, Orphan Jon & The Abandoned, Kelly’s Lot, Laurie Morvan Band, and more. Drinks are available on-site. All proceeds go to benefit the Ojai Art Center, the oldest nonprofit multipurpose art center in California.
June 1 – Santa Barbara Zoo Brew
When and where: 3 to 6 pm, Santa Barbara Zoo, 500 Ninos Dr, Santa Barbara
Cost: $65 to $105 (Parking $11)
Tickets and details: sbzoo.org/zoobrew/
Sample tasty brews from more than 30 breweries at this Santa Barbara Zoo benefit. Enjoy beautiful views and support the amazing work the SB Zoo folks do to preserve and protect some of the world’s most incredible creatures. VIP tickets will get you in early and include appetizers and other perks. Tickets go on sale May 1 and sell out fast every year, so set a reminder on your calendar!
June 1 – OakHeart Country Music Festival
When and where: 1 to 10 pm, at Conejo Creek Park South, 1300 E Janss Rd, Thousand Oaks
Cost: $49.95 to $109.95
Tickets and more: oakheartcmf.com
Featuring country music favorites as well as up-and-comers, the OakHeart Country Music Festival is a guaranteed rockin’ good time. Eat, drink, and line dance the day away at Conejo Creek Park in Thousand Oaks. Bonus: proceeds go to the Westlake Village Rotary Club!
June 1 – Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival
When and where: noon to 5 pm at the Paso Robles Event Center Frontier Town, 2198 Riverside Ave, Paso Robles
Cost: $90 to $200
For tickets and more: firestonebeer.com/brewery/invitational-beer-fest.php
Now in its eighth year, this is a beer drinker’s paradise. Featuring more than 50 leading brewers from all over the world, this is a celebration of craft beer — and some of the yummiest foods to go with them. There’s even an official app to plan your adventure and keep track of your tastings. Notes: Tickets are limited and sell out fast, so get ‘em while you can. No pets or children; no one under 21 admitted. With lots of transportation options — shuttles, cabs, Uber, Lyft, etc — there’s no excuse to drink and drive.
June 2 – Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival
When and where: 1 to 5 pm at California State University, Channel Islands, Camarillo
Cost: $135 to $275
Tickets and more: cpwineandfoodfestival.com
Get a taste — and sip! — of the region at the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival. This all-inclusive festival highlights some of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties’ top restaurants, caterers, and specialty shops. Eat and drink to your heart’s delight: sweet treats, savory snacks, local wines, craft beers … too many to list! In between tastings, get your groove on with live music. A VIP lounge gets you in an hour early and features champagne, spirits, hors d’oeuvres, and entertainment in a luxe setting.
If you’re in town May 31, get tickets for the Yummie Top Chef Dinner, a seven course feast prepared by past culinary competition winners.
Proceeds benefit Casa Pacifica, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.
June 2 – Paso Pinot & Paella Festival
When and where: 2 to 5 pm, Templeton Community Park, Crocker, and 6th Streets, Templeton
For tickets and more: pinotandpaella.com
Pinot and paella, the name says it all — and really, how can you say no to this perfect pairing? The uninitiated might think it surprising to find pinot noir in Paso wine country. But, festival organizers explain, the area boasts diverse microclimates that actually make for ideal growing conditions, with warm mountain mornings giving way to afternoon ocean breezes that make their way into the vineyards.
But don’t take our word for it, come see for yourself! Check out the best from local chefs, who pair their offerings with different Paso region pinot noirs. All afternoon, enjoy live (and very danceable!) music from local legends Casey Biggs and the Paso Wine Man Band.
June 6 to 9 – Ojai Music Festival
When and where: Time and locations vary in the Ojai Valley
For tickets and more: ojaifestival.org
For more than 70 years, the Ojai Music Festival has been the place to be for the musically curious. It’s billed as a classical and contemporary music festival, but it encompasses much more than that. Legendary names have performed on the Libbey Bowl stage — Pierre Boulez, Aaron Copland, Lou Harrison, Igor Stravinsky — as well as up-and-comers, like Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Kent Nagano. From ground-breaking works by John Luther Adams to the timeless sounds of Stravinsky, this year’s festival promises more of the same boundary-pushing performances to thrill even the casual listener.
The brilliance behind the Ojai Music Festival is not just the names who perform there, but rather, the freedom is given to the directors to craft a program that is a true reflection of their tastes and personalities. This year, Barbara Hannigan is at the helm as music director, working with Thomas W. Morris as artistic director. With this being Morris’s last year as AD, you can be sure he’ll be pulling out all the stops.
Daytime and evening concerts are held in multiple locations throughout the Ojai Valley, but the big ones are all held in one of the jewels of the valley, Libbey Bowl. Along with the concerts themselves are Ojai Talks panels, Concert Insights events, and free community performances.
June 9 – Ojai Wine Festival
When and where: 11 am to 4 pm, Lake Casitas Recreation Area, 11311 Santa Ana Rd, Ventura
Cost: $55 – $110; discounted group rates available
Tickets and more: ojaiwinefestival.com
Trust us when we say the Rotary Club of Ojai-West knows how to throw a party. Set at scenic Lake Casitas between Ojai and Ventura, the 33rd annual Ojai Wine Festival brings more than 60 wineries and breweries from all over California. Enjoy lakeside tastings of beer, wine, ciders, and other treats on the large lawn while enjoying lake and mountain views. Live music, a huge dance floor, tons of vendors, and excellent food from local restaurants and caterers make this one of the area’s most popular springtime events. The growing beer garden features regional beers from across the tri-county area and beyond.
The VIP lounge with spirits, exclusive foods, upscale bathrooms, special gifts, and more is worth the ticket upgrade.
And hey, have we mentioned the setting? Views of the Ojai Valley’s iconic Topa Topa Mountains to the shining lake, plenty of space, shade, and picnic tables make this an ideal place to spend a late spring day. And if you’re lucky, you might spot some of the bald eagles who nest just south of the venue site.
Proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of Ojai-West, which provides grants for youth and family causes both locally and internationally.
June 8 and 9 – A Taste of Tuscany
When and where: 11 am to 5 pm; various locations on the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail
Cost: Free; individual wineries may have tasting fees
For tickets and more: pleasantvalleywinetrail.com
Take your taste buds on a trip to Italy along the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail. These are serious vintners — trail members have collectively won more than 200 wine awards over the last year, and more than 50 of their wines have been rated at 90 to 98 points.
Each member along the wine trail — and there are more than a dozen! — will have an Italian bite paired with one of their wines. Blaze a trail through the Paso area wine country, sipping and tasting your way through the beautiful countryside. The Pleasant Valley Wine Trail website features some handy tasting tools, like a checklist to help you plan your trip by varietal, from Albariño to Zinfandel.
Among the bites will be: charcuterie platters, wood-fired gourmet pizzas, meatballs, and garlic bread, bruschetta, cannoli, spicy sausages, polenta, biscotti, Italian cheeses, arancini, pesto bites, and lots more. Note: While Tuscan food tastings are complimentary, wine tasting fees may apply at each winery.
June 21 to 23 - Central Coast Reserve
formerly Atascadero Wine Festival)
When and where: 4 to 8 pm at Atascadero Lake Park, on Lago Ave in Atascadero
Cost: $16.99 (designated driver) to $124.99 (VIP)
Tickets and more: centralcoastreserve.com
Replacing the much-loved Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival, this year’s event is dubbed Central Coast Reserve. Come experience wineries, breweries, ciders, and distilleries lakeside. Food and art vendors will also be on-hand, on an even bigger scale than the last 23 years’ worth of wine festivals. Check the website for details on the Mayor’s Winemaker Dinner June 21, a golf tournament June 22, and a free yoga-and-mimosas session June 22.
June 29 – Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival
When and where: 2 to 5 pm at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta Del Sol, Santa Barbara
Cost: $80 to $155
Tickets and more: sbnature.org
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is a must-see spot of its own with a wealth of local natural history (they even have a full-sized whale skeleton out front!). Add wine and food, and you have an ideal afternoon. More than 100 Central Coast wineries and eateries will be on-hand in the meandering, oak-studded backyard area of the museum. You’ll get a chance to explore the backyard and the Butterfly Pavilion, as well.
VIP tickets get you in at 1 pm and give you access to a private lounge (twice the size it was in 2018!) with exclusive food and wine tastings.
June 29 – Ojai Valley Lavender Festival
When and where: 10 am to 5 pm in Libbey Park, Downtown Ojai
June is officially lavender month in Ojai! And it’s no wonder — the smell, the look, the taste … lavender has it all. And Ojai’s climate is ideal for growing this hardy and beautiful plant. Visit the heart of Ojai for a celebration of all things lavender. Buy bunches of fresh-cut lavender as well as lavender plants, soaps, drinks, foods, beauty products, and lavender-inspired jewelry, clothing, and more. Make time for live entertainment and speakers as well.