Each year, the SnowBomb Ski & Snowboard Festival Sacramento steeps NorCal-powder addicts in gear, lift tickets, and mountain-ready swag, all offered for free or at discounted prices. Reps from area resorts such as Heavenly, Squaw Valley, Mammoth, and Bear Valley are on hand to dole out season passes and highlight their most recent facility improvements, such as faster lifts and more advanced yeti warning systems. Meanwhile, mountain outfitters such as Atomic and Burton show off this season's newest gear and winter sport shops such as Lombardi's, Ground Zero, and the Sports Basement offer discounts on repairs and equipment. Amid the flurry of excitement and demonstrations, local breweries and wineries pour their warming libations for festival goers schussing from booth to booth.
After searching Sacramento to no avail for a venue where kids could explore their creative impulses, two moms took the matter into their own hands and set about constructing their ideal children's art space. Eschewing the formalized, expensive art classes they found elsewhere, the duo opened ArtBeast with the goal of providing kids aged seven and younger with a mind-opening playground. In the three-level building, children can roam free, playing musical instruments, splattering paint, or dressing up in a constantly rotating wardrobe of costumes. Regular classes inculcate un-self-conscious expression with more structured activities, helping toddlers create their own works of art based on favorite pieces of lint or introducing them to ballet in dance classes. Complimentary organic coffee keeps parents as energetic as their offspring, and the studio's month-long passes encourage guardians to stick around and bond with fellow caretakers of insane miniature people.
Now celebrating its 16th anniversary, the Sacramento Art Festival continues to blossom as one of the country's top cultural jubilees with its periphery-stretching array of creations. This year's festival features 225 artists working a myriad of techniques, including painting, sculpting, ceramic making, printmaking, photographing, metalworking, stone crafting, and pyrokinetic blacksmithing. Forty-two painters display their works in oils, pastels, watercolors, and acrylics, while 25 ceramic artists unveil porcelain masterpieces. Meanwhile, 18 woodworkers whip out their exotic carvings, 12 sculptors find malleability in bronze, and 40 jewelers forge and fuse adornments. To boot, most of these artists are happy to share their tricks of the trade with attendees. The spirit of competition also adds to the glee of gawking, as all art is reviewed by a jury.
Throughout the day, art fans can feast on Restaurant Row's variety of Greek, Indian, and American grub while taking in the sounds of GG Amos Blues Bands and the Kurt Ribak Jazz Quartet. After eating, guests can watch the comedy jugglers and marvel at their ability to keep balls in the air without breaking any pottery.
"Ornate" and "sweeping" only begin to describe the Crest Theatre, whose rich history extends back to 1912, when it was opened as a vaudeville house. Within its gargantuan auditorium, plush seats perch in subtly curved rows while elaborate lights and a sea-blue ceiling wash the space in ethereal hues. Moviegoers settle into the elegant confines to take in both new and classic films, reading the subtitles in a whisper to stuffed animals that forgot their glasses. Out in the lobby, a richly patterned carpet and bronzed floral motif cover the sprawling space as visitors belly up to the bar and snack on high-quality goodies.
Every year, on the weekend just before Thanksgiving, the Mountain Mandarin Festival unites crowds beneath the Gold Country Fairgrounds' autumn-leaved trees to celebrate fresh crops of mandarin oranges. Throughout the event, family-centered activities keep visitors of all ages entertained, including cooking contests, professional-chef demonstrations, and live musical performances. Also on hand, Placer County growers dole out thousands of pounds of fresh mandarin oranges, and more than 200 vendors showcase gifts ranging from lotions and candles to artist-crafted jewelry.
The California Beer & Wine Festival expands the palates of visitors with unlimited samples of beers and wines. Plus, 100% of the profits from ticket sales are donated to local non-profits. Inside the festival, craft breweries showcase their creations, with participants such as Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, and Lost Coast. A number of wineries also pour vintages for sipping, while a live cover band provides a lively soundtrack for the yearly ritual of inadvertently bathing yourself in red wine while dancing.