Hand-thrown ceramic vases, custom-stained glass lamps, blown glass, and textiles. The Craft Festival's 200 booths boast the handcrafted bounty of artisans from seven western states. The festival, which takes place semi-annually in Reno and Las Vegas, sources strictly local work—you won't see anything imported or mass produced along its aisles. Instead, you'll find artists who are passionate about their craft, whether it's creating unique jewelry, custom painting T-shirts, or painting works of art.
If you're looking for a deep connection with nature, you could strap on hiking boots and head for the hills. Alternatively, you could head to Wildling Museum to catch glimpses of the wilderness as seen through the eyes of artists. Since opening in 2000, the museum has hosted more than 40 exhibitions such as the Santa Ynez River Watershed or Irish artist Patrick O?Hara?s Art of California Native Plants. Now located in modern, spacious quarters in Solvang, the museum also hosts workshops, lectures, and family events.
For one afternoon, more than 100 Santa Barbara vintners, restaurants, and purveyors of food showcase their wares across the green expanse of Buellton's River View Park. The festival also features attractions ranging from a farmers' market and botanical garden to an art show, as well as live music on outdoor stages. A range of events, such as cooking and barrel-coopering demonstrations, add to the festivities.
The food and photo tours of Eat This, Shoot That! ensure guests leave with their memory cards full and their bellies fuller. Each walking tour covers about 1.5 miles in the Funk Zone, where guests sip, munch, and click their way through seven local eateries. Along the way, they'll pick up tips on how to perfectly frame a wood-fired pizza at Lucky Penny or capture the good side of a glass of chardonnay at Deep Sea Winery. Guests need only bring their smart phone or camera and a healthy appetite. Read more about the tour here.
Named for the famed German soprano, Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall pays homage to a wealth of musicians during its slate of concerts. Throughout the year, the USBC music venue welcomes gospel choirs and symphonies to its stage, as well as wind ensembles that double as the venue?s air conditioning system.
Fresh Fest 2012 treats hip-hop and electro fans to a night full of funky beats and throbbing lasers fit for all ages. Master mixers and mash-up maestros DJ Eon and DJ Flamezz keep strobe lights stoked and frisky feet dancing with a surplus of pulsating club beats. Grab some glow sticks at the door ($5, not included in today's Groupon) and dance to the laser lightshow before preventing sweat droughts with available water, pop, or energy drinks. Unlike most dance parties, no alcohol is allowed at Fresh Fest 2012, allowing crowds to have fun without the threat of an intervening Eliot Ness.