Festivals in Monterey

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Presenter of the San Francisco International Film Festival—the longest-running film festival in the Americas—San Francisco Film Society feeds the cinematic passions of fans, filmmakers, and students, showcasing more than 300 films every year. The Film Enthusiast membership entitles movie mavens to a plethora of perks worth rubbing in the noses of adversarial cinephiles who won’t stop boasting about how much popcorn they can eat in one sitting. Members also get the skinny on San Francisco International Film Festival special events and screenings, running April 21-May 5.

39 Mesa St
San Francisco,
CA
US

The first Carmel Bach Festival, held in 1935, was a modest, four-day affair held partially in a school auditorium. Today, the event stretches across two weeks, hosting not only concerts, but also classes, lectures, galas, and even open rehearsals. At heart, however, the festival hasn't changed—it's still a celebration of the music and legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach. As with his 1706 reality show, Bach is the star here, but performers also pay tribute to his influence with works by other composers. The musicians themselves are an equal draw for audiences, showcasing press-lauded and award-winning skills during each symphonic masterwork.

P. O. BOX 575
Carmel,
CA
US

The López family owns three local liquor stores and a restaurant; Francisco Jacobo manages a local radio station. Together, they join forces for a common interest: tequila. Beginning this year, they are hosting their annual Salinas Tequila and Mezcal Grand Tasting, an event that gathers a variety of aged agaves for the tasting.

500 Del Monte Avenue
Monterey,
CA
US

At 2,600 feet up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, one might expect to find sprawling views of the ocean and surrounding forest and not flourishing vineyards. Yet there are more than 70 wineries dappling the hills at various altitudes, privy to the dewy, cooling breezes of the sea and the richness of the rocky soil. The San Francisco Chronicle speaks to their scattered presence, deeming them "less a cohesive wine region than a patchwork of vineyards." Still, this characteristic isolation has resulted in "a perfect laboratory for winemaking not held hostage to fashion"—no one style dominates in this rustic setting.

Pinot noirs and chardonnays populate the western front, and the east yields cabernets, merlots, and zinfandels. The majority of the vineyards are small and family owned—a fact reflected in their meticulously bottled libations and the matching sweaters of their holiday photos—but though they exist in chosen hermitage, many of them welcome visitors to their scenic sites. They host weddings, festivals, and open events such as Pathway to Pinot Paradise, a self-guided tour of the pinot noir hotspots.

7605 Old Dominion Ct
Aptos,
CA
US

The show features low prices on a plethora of name-brand golfing clubs, equipment, and accessories, as well as a free indoor driving range, goody bags and free giveaways, skills contests, and free lessons from NCPGA pros. Socialize with fellow ball-floggers as you witness new-product demonstrations and improve your skills by trying out brand-new discounted clubs at the indoor driving range. The first 1,000 customers each day receive a free round of golf at Spring Valley Golf Course and a sleeve of balls from Bridgestone Golf.

435 South Market Street
San Jose,
CA
US

If you?ve ever wanted to go back in time, but didn?t have access to a wormhole, Valhalla Renaissance Faire is your next best bet. This annual festival showcases a reimagined Renaissance, complete with Queen Elizabeth I and her court, Master Shakespeare, princesses, fairies, a hard-hitting armored joust, and a town full of colorful characters. To experience every nook and cranny of this vast fair, guests can eat ye olde turkey legs and shop for leather wears and carved tankards. Live shows take place on three stages and feature the Naughty Minstrels, Captain Jack, and the Universe According to Galileo. And no visit to Elizabethan England is complete without seeing the queen, who may also make the occasional appearance to knight a brave warrior or banish a dragon from the realm.

342 West Saint John Street
San Jose,
CA
US