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.
Drivers who have sped around the track at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca would be hard pressed to forget about its most distinctive feature: the Corkscrew. Located at turns 8 and 8a, this hard-left, hard-right combination takes vehicles on a thrilling zig-zag that drops a total of 59 feet in elevation over a scant 450 feet of track length. The 11-turn road course currently measures in at just over 2.2 miles total?courtesy of an extension long after the track originally opened in 1957?and has hosted numerous races over the decades, including rounds for events such as the American Le Mans Series, Superbike World Championship, and Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. When the sounds of roaring engines, squealing tires, and lost drivers asking for directions aren't filling the air, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca allows visitors to tour the facilities and take in its sweeping ocean views.
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.
Seasoned boat captains and crustacean prospectors Sig Hansen, Johnathan Hillstrand, and Andy Hillstrand gather to share with audience members their tales of struggle and survival during crab season on the high seas, as partly documented by the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch. Fishing the Bering Sea in the middle of winter demands strong wills—which can come together in times of treacherous weather and 100-foot waves or come to blows about who performs better in the three-legged crabwalk race. Selected audience members will also have the chance to don the survival suits from the Time Bandit. Following the story-swapping and previously unreleased video footage, greenhorns and avid fans will have the opportunity to launch questions at the captains, wave giant foam claws, and learn how to communicate in claw-snap Morse code.