Sometimes sipping a cold beer feels great. Sometimes sipping 18 cold beers feels better. Better than that? Joining hundreds of beer fans on the outfield of the Sacramento River Cats' home turf to sample beers from more than 50 breweries while listening to live music. A joint effort of Raley Field and the Northern California Brewer’s Guild, the 2012 Raley Field Brewfest distills the thrills of a baseball game without the baseball or rabid mascots. Now in its sixth year, the sprawling celebration covers the playing field's quarter-mile semicircle with local craft-brew vendors, including Auburn Alehouse and Rubicon Brewing Company, touting their frosty, frothy libations. Near second base, live bands bat good-time tunes into the air as hops and barley funnel into thankful gullets. VIPS gain daylight, vampire-free drinking privileges and bubbly bragging rights with early access and eight beers more than standard tickets.
Launch unites eclectic artistic forms in a dance-infused celebratory atmosphere. Guests can irrigate ear canals with a variety of musical performances. Breakout musician Neon Indian tops the bill with infectious psychedelic pop, and turntablers such as DJ Sam I Jam will spin records in reverse to unlock instructions on how to perform the Macarena during emergencies. The runway fashion show will parade eye-catching apparel and catwalk dynamics cooked up by up-and-coming designers such as Van Der Neer, who custom crafts pieces from vintage fabrics. Along the hotel's corridors, guests connect with designers, photographers, and painters and search for Where's Waldo motifs in their displayed pieces.
On August 10–11, the paths of William Land Park will come alive with all things banana for the fourth annual Sacramento Banana Festival. Taking a look at the banana’s influence as a staple food in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, the festival will incorporate activities celebrating those cultures, including reggae music and international dance performances. Banana-themed art exhibits, an open-air marketplace, and food vendors entice the other six senses near the music. Patrons can opt for the Power Soul Stroll 5K or munch on plantain chips, banana teacakes, or frozen bananas before working up a sweat in banana Zumba lessons. To close out the day, banana enthusiasts can watch kids aged 0–17 in the banana pageant or walk down the banana bread path, tasting recipe samples and raising money for local organizations.
The Little Miss Strawberry contestants excitedly primp their pink dresses and adjust their sparkling tiaras in anticipation of the pageant’s beginning. The lighthearted event—in which girls compete in five different age groupings—is one of many novel attractions at BerryFest. A Mother's Day–weekend tradition, the 2012 festival marks the year's harvest by bringing together local farmers with a host of vendors, sponsors, entertainment acts, and conciliatory deer families at the Placer County Fairgrounds.
Daytime revelers can indulge in a surplus of diverse, certified-organic berries, which can be purchased whole or in the form of inventive, strawberry-based eats such as strawberry pizza, strawberry barbecue sauce, or strawberry-flavored strawberries. The festival’s lineup of booths also includes a beer garden where Lost Coast Brewery whets patrons’ whistles with strawberry drafts. A no-hands shortcake-eating contest crowns the winner with a commemorative trophy and proceeds benefit the Boy Scouts of America. During a live cooking demonstration, TV star Michael Marks of Your Produce Man shares recipe tips as well as tips for catching runaway piecrusts. On Sunday, festival-goers can take in a car show with a gathering of shiny, classic wheels, and all weekend long, kids can kick it on the Fun Zone’s Berry-Go-Round or drop by the event’s on-site petting zoo.
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 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 regional blues artists gather to 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.
In the 74 years between the Paramount Theatre's opening night, when people used to line up to see “talkies” for 50 cents, and 2002, when it was voted Best Mainstage Theatre in a Seattle Weekly Reader's Poll, the palatial venue faded and decayed alongside its Roaring Twenties brethren throughout America. Luckily, former Microsoft Vice President Ida Cole saved it from the rubble heap in the mid-‘90s when she established the Seattle Landmark Association and vowed to render the Paramount "kissable" once again.
Over the course of seven months, the renovation crew expanded the size of the stage wings to accommodate more ambitious live productions. They also cleared decades of grime from the french baroque plaster reliefs, uncovering long-forgotten designs and causing only one long-dormant horror to snap open its eyes dramatically. They also replaced the gold leaf in the floral designs of the wall medallions, repainted all the surfaces in their original 16 colors, and scrubbed each of the 1.6 million crystal beads in the chandelier by hand with a toothbrush. The original Knabe Ampico player piano was returned to its spot on the four-tiered lobby's lush carpeting, and a 21st-century sound system now shares sonic space with the thundering, luminous sonority of the Paramount's fully restored Mighty Wurlitzer organ. Though the Paramount's calendar runs the gamut from rock concerts to standup comedy to Broadway musicals on the scale of Wicked, its decadent Beaux Arts trappings transport audiences to the days when reality was still black and white.