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.
Each year, the SnowBomb Ski & Snowboard Festival 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.
Now celebrating its 17th 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.
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 nearly 70 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 Knee Deep Brewing Co., 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.
Every summer, the paths of William Land Park come alive with all things banana for the annual Sacramento Banana Festival. Taking a look at the banana?s influence as a staple food in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, the festival incorporates activities that celebrate those cultures, including jazz and reggae music and international dance performances. One unique draw is the Power Soul Stroll 5K Run/Walk, and food lovers can munch on plantain chips, banana teacakes, or frozen bananas. There are also banana-themed art exhibits and an open-air marketplace, making it easy to find the right banana depiction for your home's kitchen or banana closet. To close out the day, watch kids mug for the audience in the banana pageant or spend some time walking down the banana bread path while tasting recipe samples and raising money for local organizations.
The course itself carries on that fun vibe, too. Winding through city streets and local parks, the 5K route is dotted with hydration stations that dole out hot chocolate. Holiday music, a giant Santa inflatable, and snow blowers help to set