The blues can spawn from many different things. A life full of regrets. A failed relationship with a former sweetheart. A favorite Cheers episode interrupted by the Public Broadcasting System. With the blues, there's always a story in between the notes of every chord progression. At some point, however, all of that melancholy comes full circle, and the music transforms into a raucous celebration of life. That's certainly the case at the Blues and Bones Festival, where crowds gather to hear regional blues artists, from soulful singers to lightening-fast guitarists, share their euphonious stories to cheering crowds.
Though the expressive performances of these artists certainly shake attendees right down to their bones, the "bones" in the event title actually refers to the remnants of slow-smoked BBQ. In addition to the music, the outdoor festival culls a melange of food vendors who add their own signature seasonings to pork, chicken, and beef in hopes of taking home prizes.
At each of several one-day festivals held throughout the country, thousands of revelers unite in an epic clash of pulp, beer, and live music. Armed with a cache of 300,000 tomatoes, participants don protective bathing suits and goggles and hurl the fruit at one another during a two-hour battle. Throughout the afternoon, live music and costume contests offer an entertaining respite from the front lines, as bartenders dispense drafts of beer to attendees older than 21, refueling soldiers' morale before they resign to writing goodbye letters to their produce vendors back home. All tomatoes used during the event are past ripe and already fated for disposal, making the battle an efficient means of tossing them before their cursed transformation into singing Muppets.
The Alameda County Fair Association provides entertainment through daily horse races, live music concerts, food, kids' attractions, competitive exhibits, livestock awards, and more. Bring family, friends, and ribbon-worthy swine to enjoy activities like pig races, tractor races, dog races, food-eating races, and an anticlimactic petting-zoo race. This year's fair boasts an eclectic lineup of performers, such as the renowned Beatles cover band BeatleMajesty, Grand Funk Railroad, Lonestar, and War. The range of activities at the fastest-growing fair in America is so vast, it makes the great plains seem like the plain plains.
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.
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.
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.