Santa Barbara—Your Summer Festival Destination

It isn’t without good reason that Santa Barbara likes to celebrate year-round. There’s plenty to be happy about when one happens upon such an iconic aspect of California’s Central Coast, including over 300 days of sun per year, rolling waves that roll into rolling hills that provide a variety of coveted wines and fresh produce, not to mention a downtown that is just as much hopping with excitement and activity as it is an epicenter of inviting, leisurely patios and decks.

With so much to enjoy, it’s no wonder that the community wanted to share the bounty and encourage others to join in the fun as far back as 1924 when Old Spanish Days Fiesta was founded. Today, the festival is one of many Santa Barbara summer soirees that has grown to include a variety of live performances, food, community celebration and more. Here is your list of not-to-be-missed summer festivals in Santa Barbara:

Santa Barbara makes the invitation even more enticing with its special offers on arts and culture, dining, hotels and hideaways, shopping, sports and recreation, tours and wineries! Don’t miss out on the unbeatable summer lineup of celebration in Santa Barbara.

Feast of Lanterns in Pismo Beach

Images: Feast-of-lanterns.org

If you’re looking for a dose of culture along California’s Central Coast you’ll find it in Pismo Beach from July 25-29. Based on a long tradition, the Feast of Lanterns is an affair that was born from the area’s Chautauqua Assemblies (a movement focused on cultural and educational activities including speakers, music and art).

Pismo Beach’s event history runs deep, but the event welcomes all types of visitors who love fun new experiences. Join in on the festivities, including delicious food banquets, parades and dancing.

Check out the Feast of Lanterns Schedule for more information.

Agritourism is a Summer Must-Do in Paso Robles

By Caroline Beteta, President & CEO, Visit California

Barbeques, pool parties, fun in the sun. To many Americans these are iconic summertime experiences.  And while summer in California is filled with lazy days on the beach and fun splashing poolside, the Golden State holds so much more for summer travelers. As visitors learn more about California and its diverse offerings, more and more choose to head out of the cities to explore many expressions of the California lifestyle. This hunger for all things California forecasts a big boom for agritourism in Paso Robles this summer.

Californians are free-spirits, trend setters and innovators, but are also in touch with their roots. The curiosity about how food is grown and the desire for new experiences attract visitors to enjoy farmers’ and ranchers’ lands and livelihoods. Visit California, the state’s official tourism marketing board, sees agritourism as a valuable sector that supports the local and state economy by providing jobs and revenue. Continue reading

AgriTourism Adventures at The Abalone Farm

by Tina Swithin

For the past 28 years, I have been in awe of the many wonders of the Central Baby AbaloneCoast.  San Luis Obispo County never ceases to amaze me as there are hidden gems waiting to be discovered at every turn.

This week I was invited to tour The Abalone Farm in Cayucos and to be perfectly honest, I went into the experience wondering, “What exactly is an abalone?”  I’ve tasted this delicacy in restaurants but didn’t really think past the delicious morsels dancing on my palate.

I arrived at The Abalone Farm to the site of hundreds of raised abalone tanks overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Morro Rock.  I am thoroughly convinced that these little sea snails have one of the most stunning views around. We were quickly greeted by Brad Buckley, Sales and Marketing IMG_3387Manager, who, as it turns out, is somewhat of a legend in the abalone world.  He was delightful from start to finish and nothing short of a walking encyclopedia on abalones.

We were told that The Abalone Farm happens to be the largest aquaculture facility (18 acres) of its kind in the country and it produces over 100 TONS of California Red Abalone each year. Continue reading

Shakespeare Under the Stars in Beautiful Paso Robles Wine Country

by Sasha Irving

Summer memories are made at the Central Coast Shakespeare Festival! This annual festival is the perfect way for all ages to experience classic Shakespeare plays and our warm Paso Robles nights!

The 2012 season featuring The Tempest runs from July 12 to July 28 at the beautiful River Oaks Amphitheatre. Considered by many to be Shakespeare’s final and finest play as well as his farewell to the art of theatre, The Tempest has magic, mayhem, comedy, romance and more!

The exiled magician Prospero, aided by her feisty sprite Ariel, casts spells, commands the elements, and conspires for vengeance. Meanwhile, drunken sailors, beautiful young lovers and strange creatures of the land lead everyone to an unexpected resolution – full of laughter and grace and forgiveness. Continue reading