May might offer some of the best festivals of the year. My personal favorite is the Strawberry Festival. Yes, it’s hot, yes, it’s crowded, but if you love strawberries, and I do, you have to visit this festival at least once.
Long Beach Seafood Festival
May 4, 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Shoreline Aquatic Park, 200 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, 90802.
This popular event often sells out in advance, so it is important to buy tickets online. Seafood lovers from all over California eagerly await this festival that celebrates the region’s delicious seafood with unique recipes from local chefs to the finest restaurants throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. Family-friendly outdoor event held alongside the Light House in Long Beach with a stunning view of the ocean and the Queen Mary. Features: Food demonstration by Celebrity Chef Shaun O’Neale, Season 7 winner of “Master Chef,” $5 seafood samples from all food vendors, Louisiana live boiled crawfish, eating competitions for adults and kids, mechanical bull, face painting, dances, live music and DJs. Info: https://www.lbseafoodfest.com.
Paso Robles Olive Festival
May 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Downtown City Park, Spring Street and 12th Street, Paso Robles, 93446.
The 16th annual olive-inspired event. Olive oil and olive product sampling from producers all over California, culinary row with great food, wine and beer tasting, cooking contest and free olive oil ice cream. Info:
Santa Clarita Taste of the Town
May 5, noon-4 p.m.
Southern California Innovation Park, 25134 Rye Canyon Loop, Valencia, 91355.
Taste of the Town offers unlimited tastings of the culinary magic of 40 of the SCV’s best restaurants, caterers and wine and beer purveyors to benefit the SCV Child & Family Center. Live entertainment features platinum recording artist Mark LeVang & Friends. Live and silent auctions. Adults 21 and over only. Win a one-carat diamond hand-selected in Belgium by Classic Designs Jewelry owner Apo Yessayan. Includes your choice of glass of champagne or mimosa. Winner does not need to be present. Info: https://tasteofthetown.com.
Fillmore May Festival
Fillmore Central Park, 250 Central Ave., Fillmore, 93105
The Fillmore Chamber of Commerce presents its 107th Annual May Festival with family-friendly fun including a special “kiddie” area for younger kids, carnival, arts and crafts, unique food vendors, games, live entertainment, a beer garden and more. The Main Stage features top entertainment in a family-friendly concert atmosphere. Parade on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Info: www.fillmorechamber.org/fillmore-master-calendar/2017/2/22/fillmore-may-festival.
Calavaras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee
Calaveras County Fairgrounds, 2465 Gunclub Road, Angels Camp, 95222.
The Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee is one of the longest running events in the state. Its earliest roots date back to 1893, held that year in Copperopolis, the fair eventually found a permanent home outside of Angels Camp. In the spirit of the old movie classic “State Fair,” the Calaveras County Fair is a blend of entertainment, exhibits, livestock, arena events, great food and the signature event, the Frog Jump. Info: www.frogtown.org.
Paso Robles Wine Festival
May 18 Grand Tasting, noon-4 p.m.
Paso Robles Downtown City Park, Spring Street and 12th Street, Paso Robles, 93446.
The 37th annual celebration of everything Paso Robles wine. One of the largest outdoor wine festivals in California it features more than 70 of the region’s finest wineries, seminars, great food and live music. More than 100 wineries host individual events over four days, May 16-19. Info: https://pasowine.com/events/winefest.
California Strawberry Festival
May 18-19, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Strawberry Meadows of College Park, 3250 S. Rose Ave., Oxnard, 93033.
The 36th annual California Strawberry Festival is among the top festivals in the nation with more than 50 food booths, contests, rides and attractions, 200-plus arts & crafts vendors, live concerts (on three outdoor stages), celebrity chef demonstrations and family fun.
Festival food favorites include: favorites include: strawberry nachos, strawberry pizza, strawberry funnel cake, strawberry chimichangas, chocolate dipped strawberries, deep-fried strawberries, berry kabobs, strawberry tamales, strawberry shortcake, strawberry beer, margaritas, smoothies and strawberry popcorn. Info: https://castrawberryfestival.org.
Oakdale Chocolate Festival
Junction of Highway 120 and 108 at Wood Park.
The 27th annual Oakdale Chocolate Festival will delight your palate with chocolate samples and items for purchase with more than 200 vendors featuring arts & crafts, Chocolate Avenue (fudges, truffles, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cheese cake, etc.), food to satisfy every pallet (giant onion rings, Lockeford Sausage, funnel cakes, smoothies, Chinese and hot dogs) and specialty merchandise. Amusement park, Classic Car Show and Western Show. Three stages of entertainment. Info: www.oakdalechamber.com/chocolate-festival.
Bishop Mule Days
Tri-County Fairgrounds, 1234 Sierra St., Bishop, 93514.
The 50th annual Mule Days, part mule show, part test of skills and part Wild West show, will be held Memorial Day Weekend. The festival of “all things mules” includes 14 shows featuring more than 700 mules with their trainers, riders and packers. Western Music stars take the stage Thursday night (Dave Stamey and Riders in the Sky) and Saturday, spectators take to the streets of Bishop to watch the longest running non-motorized parade in the U.S. There’s also barbecues, country dances and an arts and crafts show. It’s a great chance to dust of the RV for the season and head to the eastern Sierra Nevadas. Info: https://muledays.org.
Topanga Days Country Fair
Topanga Community House, 1440 N Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, 90290.
The 46th annual Topanga Days offers guests, food, music, artisans, parade and a kid’s fun zone. Info: https://topangadays.com.