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.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
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.
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.
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.