Acorn Soupe Tree of Life Gala
Coming up on its tenth year, this annual St. Helena benefit raises funds for environmental education and youth development programs. Collectable vintages are among the wines offered at auction, alongside getaways for food and wine lovers.
Annual Puppet Festival and Workshop
Held at the Jarvis Conservatory in Napa City, this family-friendly event is pretty much just as advertised in its name. Tickets are usually $20 for adults and $10 for kids. For more information, call (707) 255-5445 or visit
Autumn Moon Festival Street Fair
San Francisco's Chinatown section has been hosting this event for nearly two decades. Live entertainers, food vendors, craft merchants, and more fill the streets for a weekend of cultural family fun.
Big Foot Days
The town of Willow Creek is the self-proclaimed entrance to Big Foot Country, where people have reported sightings of the man-monster creature for generations. Labor Day weekend in Willow Creek includes a celebration of Big Foot with a parade, games, and more.
Blues by the River
The Shasta Blues Society is instrumental in this annual Sacramento River event at Lake Redding Park. It's a lawn chair affair, so don't forget to bring yours if you think you'll need a break from boogying to the music onstage.
This annual event is held at the Chico Municipal Airport in Butte County. It features military and civilian aerial demonstrations and displays, along with kids' activities.
Coast Guard City Celebration
The town of Eureka celebrates its designation as a U.S. Coast Guard city with baseball, golf, a reception, a search and rescue demonstration, and tours of patrol boats, buoy tenders, and helicopters.
Cruisin' Calistoga Beer and Wine Festival and Car Show
The name of this event is a mouthful, and so are the chili, pasta, beer, and wine that are available for tasting as live music plays in the background at the Napa County Fairgrounds.
Cruz'n Eureka Car Show
Hundreds of classic cars take part in this cruising car show on the streets of Eureka, which has hosted the event since its inception in 1993. A swap meet, a raffle, and a silent auction are also part of the fun.
Gold Rush Days
Held every Labor Day weekend since 1999, this event features period artifacts, dancing, crafts, horse-drawn carriages, period musicians, wagon and pony rides, gold panning, and more.
The Kiwanis Club of Napa sponsors this event, which is a quarter-century old. Wines and gourmet treats are available from local wineries and restaurants, plus there's live music, art for sale and exhibition, a silent auction, and more. The venue is typically Yount-ville Lincoln Theatre, about nine miles north of the city of Napa.
How Berkeley Can You Be?
This festival in the city of Berkeley, just outside of San Francisco, has been held annually since 1996. The parade typically draws more than 20,000 spectators, and the festival includes live music, craft vendors, food, and more.
Kaiser Permanente San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival
For more than a dozen years, this two-day event has welcomed more than 100 dragon boat teams and more than 2,500 dragon boat paddlers from the novice to competitive levels. Live music, food, crafts, and children's activities round out the weekend.
Monterey Bay Birding Festival
Based in Watsonville, this event includes trips all around the Pajaro Valley, which is well known as the heart of Monterey Bay's world-class birding area. Trips are organized to places like Big Sur, Santa Cruz beach, and the Carmel River.
Monterey Bay Reggaefest
Held during Labor Day weekend at the Monterey County fairgrounds, this festival carries on for two days with two stages full of well-known and upcoming acts alike. Island-style cooking, arts, and crafts are also part of the fun.
Monterey Jazz Festival
First presented in 1958, the Monterey Jazz Festival is one of the best known events of its kind in the United States. It features not just music, but also presentations, workshops, exhibitions, food, and more spread out across a twenty-acre fairground.
Oakley Almond Festival
This three-day event is held in the town of Oakley, in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta about an hour's drive east of San Francisco Bay. It includes live music, a fun run, carnival rides and games, a parade, a car show, a cooking contest, and more.
Oroville Salmon Festival
Held the fourth Saturday in September, this Feather River event includes tours of a fish hatchery, educational events, salmon tasting, a craft fair, and a farmer's market. The idea is to celebrate the thousands of salmon that make their way up the river each year from the ocean to spawn.
Paddlefest Started in 2003, this
Started in 2003, this annual two-day event takes place at the Aquatic Center on Humboldt Bay in the town of Eureka. Canoe and kayak races and events are scheduled for adults and children alike. There's also live music, vendors, and refreshments.
Paul Bunyan Days
Held every Labor Day Weekend at Fort Bragg on the Mendocino Coast, this long-weekend event includes a horseshoe tournament; a craft fair; a gem, mineral, and fossil show; a classic car show; an ugly dog contest; a Frisbee dog contest; and a logging show that features axe throwing, hand sawing, pole climbing, and more.
San Jose International Mariachi Festival
This two-day festival showcases the Mexican-American heritage of the city of San Jose. It includes live music, dance, food, drinks, and more.
Sebastopol Celtic Festival
This four-day event features artists from North America and Europe. Celtic crafts are on display and for sale, as are fine foods and microbrewery ales. There are children's activities, singing, and dancing galore.
Street Rod Extravaganza
Held in the town of Chester near Lake Almanor, this annual weekend-long event includes a poker run, a poker walk, music, dancing, food, and more.
Trinidad is the town that hosts this day-long surfing competition, featuring separate classes for long boards, short boards, men, women, and children younger than eighteen. Proceeds benefit the Humboldt Surfriders and the Redwoods Peace and Justice Center.
Tapestry Arts Festival
Held in San Jose every Labor Day weekend, this event has run for more than three decades and features visual and performing arts with proceeds benefiting local arts programs. The event previously was known as Tapestry in Talent. Activities include hands-on art projects, rock-wall climbing, a hang-gliding simulator, food, music, and more.
Taste of Lodi This San Joaquin County
This San Joaquin County event features as many as forty award-winning local wineries along with local foods, wine seminars, chef's demonstrations, and live music. If you want to pair your wine with another gourmet item, you can also visit the Port, Cigar, and Chocolate Pavilion.
Tulelake Butte Valley Fair
This five-day celebration begins the Wednesday after Labor Day in Tulelake, just four miles south of the Oregon-California border. More than 60,000 people typically attend, and the fair takes great pride in its family-friendly, no-alcohol policies. As county fairs go, this one is big, attracting main-stage talent like American Idol contestant Kelly Pickler.
Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival
Held in Sonoma County, this century-old event is one of the longest running in all of California, second only to the Rose Parade. It includes music, comedy, food, and more.
Wings of the Warners Festival
The town of Alturas hosts this annual bird-watching festival in conjunction with a hot-air balloon festival. The site is the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge, and guided tours are available if you want to look around instead of up for a few hours.
The Sequoia Humane Society raises funds through this annual event in Eureka. There are dog contests, canine demonstrations, a “Mutt Strut” through Old Town Eureka, pet-related vendors, food, and more. Live music in the past has included headliners like Iron Butterfly.