West Coast Festivals to Experience this Summer

 Experience West Coast Festivals

 
There are lots of fabulous west coast festivals to experience this summer. Here are some great events that will make a fun, memorable trip.

San Francisco Summer of Love

2017 celebrates 50 year anniversary of San Francisco Summer of Love
West Coast Festival – San Francisco Summer of Love 1967
This summer is the 50th anniversary of the “Summer of Love”. SanFrancisco is packed with event offerings and great music. Many of them are free! For a complete listing visit: http://summerof.love/events/2017-06/.
 
From April 17th until September 4, 2017, you can take a “magic carpet ride” through the city. Featuring San Francisco landmarks, the 2-1/2 hour guided tour departs three times daily. Explore the city that launched a cultural revolution.
 
You’ll visit The Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Warf, Pier 39, Coit Tower, Palace of Fine Arts, China Town, Golden Gate Bridge and more. The tour features sights and sounds from the Summer of Love – 1967.
For details visit: www.extranomical.com.

Sacramento Music Festival

 
If you like music Sacramento Music Festival is a great place to be

High Street is always a favorite band
High Street Jazz Band at Sacramento’s Music Festival
Jazz, Zydeco, Rock, Latin, Blues Sacramento Music festival has it all
Festival fans love their music

Memorial Weekend. Old Sacramento dresses up in ith holiday finest and hosts a safe, four-day party featuring LIVE music. 100 performances. Stree dancing. animated parades, instruments booming, great food and drink.

 
It’s a high energy atmosphere and so much fun. It used to be traditional jazz, but it has evolved into much more. Jazz, blues, rock, zydeco and more. Bands from around the world.
 
There are many venues and free buses whisk attendees with no parking worries. You’ll wake up to music in the morning and go to sleep with it echoing in your brain. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that makes me smile every time I remember my visits.

Portland rose Festival

Grand Floral Parade  is a highlight of Portland's 100 year tradition of the Rose Festival
Grand Floral Parade at Portland’s Rose Festival
 
Portland is often called the City of Roses. Their Rose Garden is a must see. And at Rose Festival time, you’ll see them all in bloom. Usually held in early June, this year it is May 26 – June 11, 2017. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, built on the site of a former freeway hosts the celebration.
 
Besides the festival, the week offers concerts, water races, and other events. June 3rd will be the evening Starlight Parade through downtown Portland. The week culminates with the Grand Floral Parade on June 10.
 
This year is honors the 100 years of roses at the International Rose Test Garden. For complete details visit www.rosefestival.org.

Napa Valley Festival

Napa Valley Festival features local cuisine specialties
Taste of Napa
The Napa Valley is also in the festival mode. July 14-23, 2017 will be the best of Napa.
Features include food, wine, music, dance, theater and more. They plan to offer the finest performing arts. Stars of music, dance, and theater combined with fine wine and cuisine.
Complete details are here: https://festivalnapavalley.org/
 

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Ashland Oregon is home to the Shakespearean festival
Shakespearean festival under the stars
Each year Oregon Shakespeare Festival attracts people in droves. This regional repertory theater in Ashland, Oregon is first class. The festival produces eleven plays on three stages. The season lasts from mid-February until early November.
 
The festival is set against a backdrop of pristine parks and stunning landscapes. You’ll find great food and friendly locals. For complete details visit: https://www.osfashland.org

Tall Ships

Tall ships crew works as a team to sail the vessle
Tall ships crew setting off
Ship Ahoy!! Direct from the movies, the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain are on the move. Early in the spring, they sail from their home in Washington to San Diego.
 
Then they make their way up the coast stopping in ports and sharing their magic.
 
It’s the experience of a lifetime and if you have the opportunity, don’t miss it. Here is a link to their 2017 schedule:
http://coastexplorermagazine.com/features/tall-ships-visit-oregon-and-washington-coast-in-2017.
 

Highland Games

Professional athletes compete in highland games
Mackenzie Highland Games photos by David Postier
Highland Games are a great way to spend a day, a weekend or several. Fun for the entire family and there is probably one near you.
Bagpipes, drummers, brass, piano, harps and more. Add in the dancers, parades and the games.
Ah yes, the games. What is more fun than watching men in kilts vie for titles in arduous events? Kaber tossing (think small telephone poles). Pitching boulders, kegs, staffs and more. The events are as diverse as the games.
 
The quickest way to find an up-to-date list of Highland Games near you is a Google Search. Type in highland games and the state where you want to attend one. It may surprise you how many there are. Open to everyone, you don’t have to be English or Scottish to attend. Bring your smile and come have fun.

Celtic Festival – Major Fun Locally

Celtic Festival

Bagpipe bands are key at a Celtic Festival
Bagpipe band courtesy McKenzie Highland Games

You might be of Celtic ancestry. One of the seven British Nations: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Mann (Manx), Cornish and Brittany.  Or you may just love to have fun.  In either case, you can have a great weekend experiencing a local Celtic Festival Highland Games event.

When the call goes out in Scotland for the games – people take it seriously. Pride, power and a passion for fun.

People gather, eat great Scottish, Irish and American foods, and meet like-minded people. It’s a party, Celtic style. Scottish, Irish, Renaissance all mixed up together just to have fun.

Come hungry.

There will be lots to taste. Food from the home country. Yummy beefy Scottish pies, scones with berries and cream. Don’t forget the haggis, a Scottish cross between meatloaf and sausage.

You’ll also find hamburgers, fish and chips, pulled pork or whatever else local food trucks cook up.  Lots of kid friendly choices.

Get on your Celtic festival kilt

It won’t be just the dancers, athletes and pipers dressed up. Attendees are

HIghland Dancers are popular at Celtic festivals
Celtic Festival Dancer

invited to get their gear on too. Kilts and all manner of Celtic dress. You’ll see Jacobite to Renaissance, traditional to Victorian and modern twists too. Plaid scarves, tartans, berets, skirts. You will find it all.  No costume?  The vendors will help you find just the thing.

Music, Dancers, Athletics

Dancers and pipe bands compete and entertain. No Highland festival would be complete without the magical sound of bagpipes! Lots of them. But you may also find brass bands and Irish folk music. Listen…there is harp music in the air.

Brawny lads and lasses compete in athletic events -attired in kilts.  If

Guys in kilts compete in heavy athletics
Mackenzie Highland Games photos by David Postier

you’ve never seen a strong lad throw a heavy stone or flip a heavy pole (Caber), you’ve missed something. You might see a cast iron frying pan toss. Or, the ladies do their own version of the same events the guys do.

You might be thirsty after cheering on the athletes, so head over to the beer garden for some libations.

What is that dog doing??? It’s a sheep herding demonstration. Clever dog.

Each Celtic Festival is unique

Every event is a little different depending on the venue.  You might see

Sword fighting and jousting are popular at celtic festivals
Celtic Festival Sword fighting

sword fights or jousting.  There might be a Scottish cow.  Face painting and a kid’s area get everyone involved.

At clan booths, you can learn some of the histories of the clans.  They will even help you find what clan you might descend from. Not from the British Isles?  No worries.  They are a friendly group, especially at these gatherings and welcome all.

Many events are dog-friendly to well-mannered dogs on leash. Some offer camping or places to park an RV for those traveling to attend. Some offer a classical bagpipe recital.

Almost all have a Saturday evening party called a Ceilidh (kay-lee). It’s generally held after the closing of the day event. It’s an evening of live music, piping, drumming, and dancing. The Scottish and Irish love their parties… especially when accompanied by good brews and whisky.

To find an event near you, Google is your friend.  Just “google” highland games or Celtic festivals for your state or region.  A list will pop up and you can check out their websites.

Volunteers are always needed

Want even more fun?  Volunteer to help out.  They always need an extra set of hands either in the background or at the event.  It might get you a free t-shirt or even a free entry.