It is cold outside — at least, by California standards! Luckily, the Central Coast has a calendar full of fun activities and events to keep you toasty.
Downtown Ventura Tasting Tour
Whether you’re new to Ventura or have lived there your whole life, whether you’re a foodie or just like to eat, do yourself a favor and book a Downtown Ventura Tasting Tour. Go in-depth and behind the scenes with local chefs, winemakers, and shop owners, and get a taste of the true flavor of this historic and scenic area. Plan for about three hours for each tour. Ventura Food Tours also offers various eating and drinking tours in Ojai and Santa Barbara; see the website for more on each location.
Where: Various locations Tickets and more: venturafoodtours.com or (805) 295-TOUR(8687)
Egypt’s Lost Cities
Now through April 12, 2020
California is just about as far as you can get from Egypt — a 7,500-mile, 16-plus hour flight. But to see the wonders of this incredible place, you need only to travel to Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley.
Now on display are almost 300 artifacts, remnants of Cairo, Alexandria, and two ancient cities that vanished under the waves of the Mediterranean. The cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus were centers of commerce and culture 1,200 years ago — that is, until an earthquake and tsunami wiped them off the map. They remained submerged and largely forgotten until mathematician-turned-underwater archeologist Franck Goddio made the discovery of a lifetime … not of a shipwreck, but an entire civilization. Through mid-April, 2020, visitors to the Reagan Library can explore exhibitions of 16-foot stone sculptures, bronze vessels, jewelry, gold coins, plaques bearing inscriptions in Greek and hieroglyphics, and lots more. It’s the first and only time all of these artifacts have been on display on the West Coast, and after April 12, they’ll be returned to Egypt. Tickets to Egypt’s Lost Cities also include admission to the main Reagan Library Museum and the Air Force One Pavilion, so be sure to plan on spending extra time to see it all!
Where: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, 40 Presidential Dr, Simi Valley Tickets and more: reaganfoundation.org
Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival
Jan. 17 to 20, 2020
When you’re in the midst of a long road trip, signs for a rest stop offer a welcome respite from the highway. If your trip happens to take you from Alaska to Central America — and you happen to be a migrating bird — Morro Bay is a sight for sore eyes. The area’s estuaries, lakes, and reservoirs lie halfway along the migratory paths of hundreds of species of birds, making it an ideal place for birds to rest, and humans to catch a close-up view of them. The annual Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival provides dozens of activities, field trips, and events to give veteran birders and novices alike the chance to explore the region and nerd out, bird-style. Along the lineup of activities: sunset cruises, wine tasting, talks with experts, an all-things-bird bazaar, and guided trips to regional hotspots, among many other activities. Learn about how woodpeckers can save the world, how to identify birds by their calls, and what brought California condors back from the brink of extinction — all in some of the most scenic locations on the Central Coast.
Where: Various locations in and around Morro Bay Tickets and more: morrobaybirdfestival.org
Jan. 17 and 18, 2020
Do you love tamales? Of course you do, and Atascadero knows it. Their fifth annual Tamale Festival is back and bigger than ever this year with dozens of vendors selling every conceivable type of tamale. Seek out old favorites and expand your palate with unusual flavor combinations, all while enjoying live music and entertainment. There’s something for everyone: dancing horses, Folkloric Dancers, specialty adult drinks, a tamale-eating contest, locally-made gifts, bounce houses, and yes, fireworks!
Where: Downtown Atascadero For more: visitatascadero.com/events
Spanish Hills Country Club Bridal Show
Jan. 19, 2020
Statistically speaking, more people get engaged during the holiday season than at any other time of year. Spanish Hills Country Club will get you get started on the daunting planning process with its annual Bridal Show. More than 30 vendors will fill Spanish Hills’ stunning space. From 11 am to 6 pm, sample hors d’oeuvres, cakes, and drinks, meet wedding planners, find the perfect ring, and lots more.
Where: Spanish Hills Country Club, 999 Crestview Ave, Camarillo For more: spanishhillscc.com; (805) 388-5000
Celebrating the National Lands of California
Jan. 19, 2020 – Closing Weekend:
Artist Panel Discussion, Sunday, January 19, 2020, 3 – 4:30 p.m.
Where: Wildling Museum, 1511-B Mission Drive, Solvang, CA 93463 Tickets available at wildlingmuseum.org/programs-events or call
Cambria Art & Wine Festival
Jan. 24 to 26, 2020
Art and wine — the perfect pairing. Come up to Cambria Jan. 24 – 26, 2020, for the annual Cambria Art & Wine Festival. Art shows and demonstrations are scheduled throughout the event, as are wine tastings, of course! Peruse vendors and sip regional delights at several locations across this charming beachside community. You’re going to want to keep Friday evening open for the five-course dinner and wine pairing.
Where: Various locations in Cambria Tickets and more: cambriaartwine.org; (805) 927-3624
Starry Nights: Visions of the Night Sky
Saturday, February 1, 2020, 3 – 5 p.m.
Artist Panel Discussion, Sunday, January 19, 2020, 3 – 4:30 p.m.
Where: Wildling Museum, 1511-B Mission Drive, Solvang, CA 93463 RSVP to email@example.com or call (805) 686-8315
Camarillo Ranch Wedding Showcase
February TBA , 2020, 1 – 4 pm
Be inspired by the latest trends in rentals, florals, photography, décor and more to help you wow your guests. Chance to win fabulous prizes from all participating vendors.
Where: 201 Camarillo Ranch Rd, Camarillo, CA 93012
Lucas & Lewellen Valentine’s Day Winemaker Dinner
Feb. 14, 2020
Great food, fantastic wine, and your Valentine — what could be better than that? Lucas & Lewellen Winery is bringing its popular Valentine’s Day Winemaker Dinner back to Solvang’s Alisal River Grill on Feb. 14. Set on the stunning River Course at the Alisal, this romantic dinner will pair Lucas & Lewellen wines with an impressive culinary lineup. Both Royce Lewellen and Louis Lucas will be in attendance (as will their Valentines!) to personally share the story of the wines with attendees. This dinner sells out quickly, so get your tickets soon!
Where: Alisal River Grill,150 Alisal Rd, Solvang Tickets and more: llwine.com/events or (805) 686-9336
BlendFest on the Coast
Feb. 20 to 23, 2020
Merlot, cab, chard … they’re all amazing on their own but let a winemaker blend, and the possibilities explode. The fourth annual BlendFest on the Coast celebrates the rule-breaking blend-happiness with some of the Paso Robles region’s top winemakers. From tastings to winemaker dinners, blending seminars to brunches, this is sure to expand your palate.
Where: Various locations in Cambria Tickets and more: pasowine.com/events; (805) 239-8463
VCCAA Chinese New Year Celebration
February 29, 2020
The festival includes Chinese dancing, music, lion dance, booths, children’s activities and more.
Where: 4101 E. Las Posas Rd. Camarillo CA, 93010
Ventura Gem and Mineral Show
March 7 and 8, 2020
The 57th annual Gem, Mineral, Fossil & Jewelry Show brings together dozens of vendors and educators for a fascinating weekend to celebrate — well, a lot more than just rocks. Do you know what a mineral actually is? How do fossils form? How did that amethyst get found, shaped, and transformed into a beautiful ring? Or do you just really like making jewelry? This show has you covered. You’ll also find kids’ activities, silent auctions, raffles, plant sales, and a lot more, so bring the whole family to this free event sponsored by the Ventura Gem & Mineral Society.
Side note: there is a small charge for parking.
Where: Ventura County Fairgrounds, 10 W Harbor Blvd, Ventura For more: vgms.org/category/gem-show
Camarillo Beer March
March 14, 2020, 1 to 4 pm
Why go on another pub crawl when you can go on a beer march? Get to stepping through Camarillo’s charming Old Town on Mar. 14, 2020, at the fifth annual Beer March! Explore the area’s vibrant and growing craft beer, wine, and spirits scene, with more than 20 stops along the way — live music included! Upgrade to the VIP experience for more exclusive tastings.
Where: Old Town Camarillo Tickets and more: camarillooldtown.org/events
Cheers to Zinfandel
March 20 to 22, 2020
If it’s a sin to love zin, we’re in trouble. Celebrate Paso Robles’ heritage varietal for three days at this event hosted by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. More than 100 wineries are scheduled to participate so far, and they’re all creating zin-fully delicious special tastings and events. The list of activities keeps growing, so check out the website below to plan your itinerary!
Where: Various locations in and around Paso Robles Tickets and more: pasowine.com/events; (805) 239-8463
17th Annual Spring Barbeque
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Where: Firestone Vineyard in Los Olivos Tickets coming soon to wildlingmuseum.org