While most of the country gears up for chilly weather in the fall, Californians can enjoy the outdoors for months after Labor Day. From beachside festivals to wine galas under the stars, Ventura coaxes visitors and residents into taking an extended summer vacation. Here are some fantastic upcoming events to enjoy the Central Coast of California:
Paint Ventura invites people of all artistic abilities to tap into their creativity and support the arts. Highlights include exhibits by local artists and workshops focusing on a variety of media, open to adults and youth for free or for a small fee. The event itself is free and takes place on September 9-11; times and venues vary daily. More information is available at http://www.paintventura.com.
The Aloha Beach Festival returns to Ventura’s newly restored Promenade Park to share the spirit of Aloha (think oneness with nature and brotherly love) through Polynesian and hula dance, music, delicious Hawaiian and Thai food, a beer garden, and beach activities that are thrilling for both spectators and participants. Highlights include the Aloha Longboard Classic, in which competitors have fun while demonstrating their unique style; a “Frisbee Disc Dogs” demo in which dogs and their trainers wow the crowds with creative tricks; a paddle board race; and Hawaiian arts and crafts vendors. The festival takes place the weekend of September 10 and 11, beginning at 9 a.m. http://www.alohabeachfestival.us/, (805) 200-8674.
The California Beer Festival returns to Ventura at beautiful Mission Park on September 17 and18. Saturday’s event, Craft Beer Heaven, encourages beer lovers to expand their horizons with over 100 brews on tap to sample from over 70 different breweries, delicious food and six live bands. Sunday is all about Blues, Brew and BBQ : along with good eats, there will be craft beer on tap for purchase and three of the biggest names in the California Blues scene are expected to take the stage: Chris Cain, Coco Montoya and Tommy Castro. Proceeds benefit the Dyslexia Awareness and Resource Center (DARC) and the Gen Giammanco Foundation, supporting student athletes. Hours are 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $45 for Saturday and $25 for Sunday and are available online or at the Ventura Visitors Center, located at 101 S California Street. http://www.californiabeerfestival.com/ventura.html.
The California Street Longboard Classic celebrates a quarter century of surf stoke, making it the longest running surfing contest in Ventura County. The contest, which is about camaraderie and fun above all, attracts some of the best surfers in the state. Vendors will sell clothing and jewelry, and on Saturday night all are welcome to a party featuring the Soul Surfers band at Yolie’s Fresh Mexican Grill. The fun happens the weekend of September 17-18 at Surfer’s Point. http://venturasurfclub.org.
Ink for a Cause is a three-day, family-friendly tattoo convention advocating generosity through body art. A portion of proceeds will go to the Best Day Foundation, helping special-needs children build confidence through safe and fun adventure activities. Aside from featuring a hundred tattoo artists and their work, the event is essentially a living, breathing art exhibition, with fine art, seminars, contests, a kids’ arts and crafts corner and live bands. The event takes place on September 16-18 at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Tickets are $10 for one day or $5 with Military ID; $25 for a Weekend Pass and $5 for Kids 12 and under; available at the gate or in advance at Toxic Apparel on Main St., Ventura. www.inkforacause.com, (805) 607-2420.
Pier Under the Stars is Ventura’s premiere annual food and wine benefit for the preservation of the historic Ventura Pier. The 18th annual event, which typically draws over 800 people to the beloved 139-year-old pier, will take place Saturday, October 1, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Over 50 local businesses provide some of the best food and spirits in the county. Guests can sip, dance to live music, and mingle for a great cause. General admission is $60 and a limited amount of VIP tickets are available for $100. Tickets are available at the Ventura Visitors Center. http://www.pierintothefuture.org/pier/puts, (805) 797-7544.
Based on an Old-World tradition dating back to 1314, The Highland Games celebrates Celtic heritage. Men in kilts demonstrate feats of strength and cunning, lads and lasses show off their best footwork in highland and country dancing, talented fiddlers compete for prizes, contemporary Scottish bands perform, and much, much more. The bagpipes come out October 7-9, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Tickets are priced at $14 to $22 for adults, $12 to $20 for seniors and military, and $3-6 for kids. http://www.seaside-games.com/, (818) 886-4968.
The Harvest Festival Original Art and Craft Show is the largest show of its kind on the West Coast. Children can enjoy arts and crafts activities and pose for photos with costumed festival participants, while adults indulge in a variety of gourmet food and enjoy live entertainment. The festival will take place October 14-16 at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Tickets are $9 for adults, $7 for seniors over 62, $4 for young adults, kids 12 and under are free. http://www.harvestfestival.com/Visitors/shows/ventura/index.aspx, (415) 447-3205.
At the Ponies by the Sea Mustang Car Show, proud Mustang owners can enter their cars for a “people’s choice” contest with a trophy award and a year’s bragging rights. Guests can participate in raffles and enjoy 50’s music while admiring the speedy cars, then stroll about the Ventura Harbor Village and get a bite to eat. The show takes place on Sunday, October 16 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the grass at Ventura Harbor Village. www.tricountymustangclub.com.
The first annual Ventura Comedy Festival features 28 comedy shows throughout seven different venues in Ventura, including The Majestic Theatre, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Ventura Comedy Club and The Greek at the Harbor. Produced by comedian Randy Lubas, guests will enjoy the comedic stylings of Louie Anderson, Jeff Garcia, and “The Lovemaster” Craig Shoemaker. Comedians will compete for the title of the “Funniest Person in Ventura” and an audition for a spot on the David Letterman Show will be held. The festival takes place November 11-13. Tickets and more information: www.venturacomedyfestival.com, (805) 644-1500.