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.

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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

Culture 101: Santa Barbara’s Quick Guide to Over 101 Cultural Pursuits

Culture 101 in Santa Barbara

Or maybe “quick” is the wrong word because, really, culture has been imbedded in Santa Barbara since long before the Spanish settlers arrived. Dating back to the Chumash Native Americans and their basket weaving, wall painting, jewelry and intricately designed canoes, it would seem that the Santa Barbara South Coast gave rise to a love of art and culture over 13,000 years ago. Continue reading

California’s Central Coast Highlight: May Events, Part 1

During the first few weeks of May, the four regions of California’s Central Coast offer so many wonderful events to enjoy. Here are just a few:

The Steinbeck Festival in Salinas looks at the life of the native-son novelist with tours of sites that played parts in his works and literary lectures (5/3 – 5/6). Ventura Music Festival features national and international performers in concert at historic and architecturally significant venues (5/3 – 5/12). Marina hosts the annual Festival of the Winds—the one time each year when hang gliders and giant kites might just outnumber raptors and songbirds along the coast (5/12). Carnival rides, two concert stages, a beer garden, music, activities and a celebration of small-town life are among the highlights of the Fillmore May Festival (5/17 – 5/20). The 30th Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival celebrates the finest in food and wine, embracing all that defines Paso Robles Wine Country (5/18 – 5/20). Renowned as “California’s Strawberry Coast,” Oxnard’s nationally recognized California Strawberry Festival draws 60,000 visitors, who come to sample strawberry foods and browse for fine arts and crafts (5/19 – 5/20).

To find more events held throughout California’s Central Coast, visit TourTheCentralCoast.com.

California’s Central Coast, Historical Missions

Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg

Between 1769 and 1823, twenty-one missions were built throughout California. Eleven are located in the Central Coast—the largest concentration of California missions—and many are still active churches. Why not take a road trip and see them all? Here is a list of California’s Central Coast missions by region: Continue reading

Santa Barbara Blooming with Events and Festivals this Spring!

It’s spring in Santa Barbara, which means the event and festival scene begins to ramp up as the days get longer and warmer! If you’re cruising through California’s Central Coast, plan your trip to coincide with one, or a few, of these classic Santa Barbara happenings:

The 24th Annual Santa Maria Strawberry Festival: April 29 – May 1, 2012
Nothing says summer like strawberry shortcake and no place produces strawberries quite as sweet as Santa Maria Valley. Head to Santa Maria Fairpark April 29th, 30th and May 1st from 11:00am – 11:00pm for some wholesome family fun, including the biggest, juiciest, freshest strawberries Santa Barbara County has to offer. A variety of culinary delights and cooking demonstrations will complement.

1st Thursday: May 3rd and June 7th, 2012
Join Santa Barbarans for an evening of art and culture, free to the public! Wander galleries and art-related venues to take in the best of the Santa Barbara arts and culture scene. 5:00pm – 8:00pm. Continue reading

Flying High in BBQ Country, Santa Maria Valley

The fine weather in the Santa Maria Valley is one reason why the region is known as California’s BBQ Capital. After all, you need pretty good weather to barbecue all year round like the locals do, right?

The valley’s moderate coastal climate is also conducive to producing world-class wines, growing some of California’s finest strawberries and…flying kites! And on April 22, in the heart of National Kite Month, the valley’s open skies and cool breezes will abound with color as the Discovery Museum hosts its annual Family Kite Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rotary Centennial Park. Continue reading