Spring is around the corner, just weeks away and now is the time to mark your calendars for festival fun. There are Scottish games, a celebration of whales and, if you love cheese, there’s an entire weekend for you to get your fill.
The 48th annual Dana Point Festival of Whales
March 3, 9-10 Free. Fee for whale watching excursions.
Celebrating the annual migration of the majestic California Gray Whale the festival includes a street fair, art and craft shows and sales, classic car exhibits, paddling and sailing opportunities, Boating Extravaganza, sand sculpting, concerts on land and water, environmental activities, educational opportunities including lectures, interpretive crafts, kids’ activities, food and whale watching excursions on a variety of vessels or from Dana Point Headlands Conservation Park. Events held in a variety of locations. For information, a list of events and locations visit https://festivalofwhales.com.
L.A. Festival of Colors
March 9-10, 11 a.m. Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, 750 S. Santa Anita Ave., South El Monte Tickets: $6.50 (online), kids 12 and under free.
L.A.’s Festival of Colors brings the traditional Indian custom of Holi when revelers douse each other in colorful plumes of technicolor yellow, cobalt, magenta and green powder as a way to welcome spring to the West coast. Bhangra (group Punjabi folk dancing), live mantra bands, DJ’s, yoga teachers, food, free hugs.
Orange County Cherry Blossom Festival
March 15-17 Friday: 5-9 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Huntington Central Park, 18000 Goldenwest St., Huntington Beach, 92648. Free.
This annual spring celebration of Japanese and Japanese American culture features a variety of performers and activities. Taiko drumming, minyo, classical dance, gagaku music, origami, ikebana, cosplay contests, anime characters, electronic music and food. New this year is the Friday Sakura Night Market. Entertainment, arts and crafts, culture. Info: https://occbfest.com
Sierra Madre Wistaria Festival
March 17 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Foothill freeway (210) to Baldwin Avenue off-ramp;
Go north one mile to Sierra Madre Boulevard for festivities, shuttle buses, information and parking. Free.
The downtown festival includes live music, art & garden faire (with more than 150 crafters), Green Living Expo, car show with vintage cars, a playland for children and Food Court in Memorial Park. The highlight of the festival is the once-a-year viewing of the world’s largest blossoming plant, a Wistaria named one of the seven Horticultural Wonders of the World. Wistaria viewing (no wheelchairs or strollers): $12 shuttle to viewing are ($7 seniors and ages 6-16 years) should be pre-purchased. Info: sierramadrechamber.com. (626) 355-5111.
Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival
March 22-24 Ticket packages available.
The weekend kicks off with a James Beard Gourmet Four-Course Luncheon prepared by top culinary talents, followed by two days of grand experiences, where you can indulge in savory eats from local and regional restaurants and experience more than 60 premium wines. Beer lovers will enjoy unique craft brews, IPAs and draught ciders. Celebrity chefs and restaurateurs Scott Conant, Fabio Viviani, Brooke Williamson and many others will offer demos, tastings and “meet and greets.”
¡Latin Food Fest!
March 29-30 Los Angeles State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, 90012. Tickets: General admission $35. VIP $149.
Celebrate America’s largest annual Latin culinary celebration. The Seventh Annual ¡Latin Food Fest! Gran Tasting features food, wine, spirits and beer tasting tents, cooking demos by Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken and a music performance by La Junta LA. Includes “Chefs Night Out,” a high energy party and “Gran Tasting Los Angeles,” the festivals signature event featuring food, beverage, wine, beer, and spirits stations, cooking and wine demonstrations, chef awards, VIP Tent, and live music.
Knott’s Boysenberry Festival
March 29-April 28 Knotts Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 90620. Theme park admission.
Celebrate Knott’s historic berry each spring during Knott’s Boysenberry Festival, in the heart of the theme park, Ghost Town. The food festival features countless, one-of-a-kind boysenberry inspired dishes, drinks and more, plus live entertainment, the Wine and Craft Brew Tasting Garden. Info: www.knotts.com/play/boysenberry-festival.
Kern County Scottish Games and Gathering
April 6-7 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 South P St., Bakersfield, 93307. Admission: Age 5 and under, free with a paid adult admission; 6-11 $1, ages 12 and up one day Admission (Sat or Sun) $20, ages 12 and up two-day admission (Ends 3/15 or first 150) $30, after 3/15 two-day admission $35.
Sponsored by The Kern County Scottish Society an annual day of tradition, culture and fun. Scottish heavy athletics, genealogy, clans and family history, live music on multiple stages, sheepdog herding demos, dance shows, children’s petting zoo, food and merchandise vendors.
Lodi Wine & Food Festival
March 30 3-6 p.m. Ole Mettler Grape Pavilion at the Lodi Grape Festival Grounds, 413 E. Lockeford St., Lodi, 95240. Grand Tasting: $50 in advance, $60 at the door.
Wine tasting from more than 40 wineries, food, music and more. Grand tasting admission includes commemorative wine glass.
Annual San Francisco International Chocolate Salon
March 30 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. San Francisco County Fair Building, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park. 1199 9th Ave at Lincoln Way, San Francisco, 94122. Tickets: Adults: $20 Advance Purchase, $30 Door. Children under 6 free, Children, 6-12: $10.
The premier chocolate show on the West Coast with presentations, demos and tastings. Experience the finest in artisan, gourmet and premium chocolate in one of the world’s greatest culinary metropolitan areas.
California Artisan Cheese Festival
March 23-24, Santa Rosa. Tasting tickets $50.
A weekend long celebration brought together by experts and presenters of artisan cheese. The event features farms, creameries and producer tours, seminars and pairing demos, chef demos, educational sessions with industry experts and a monger and chef competition. Meet cheesemakers, authors and celebrity chefs. Sample and buy artisan products, taste beer, wine, cider and spirits.
The Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace will be held Sunday, March 24 noon-4 p.m., Grace Pavilion, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, Tickets: $50 per person, $25 for kids 12 and under. More than 100 artisan cheese and food producers, winemakers, brewers, cider makers, distillers and chefs will offer hand-crafted cheeses and spirits. Every guest brings home an Artisan Cheese Festival insulated cheese tote bag as well as a festive wine glass. Live entertainment. Visit the website for a list of all tours, pairings and demos. Info: www.artisancheesefestival.com.