SoCal Festivals & Parades: Spring / Summer

Southern California festivals offer a great way to spend a weekend with friends and family, celebrating everything from holidays to food, spirits, flowers, pride, and diverse cultures. Here are some of my faves.

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MARCH

Festival of the Kite at Redondo Beach Pier (Redondo Beach)

  • WHAT: The annual Festival of the Kite at Fishermans Wharf in Redondo Beach, CA is a fun way to spend the day with family and friends. Fly kites, enter contests, win prizes, or just enjoy the fine SoCal weather. Prizes are awarded for kite flying and other competitions for people of all ages. Free admission.
  • WHEN: Every year in March.
  • WHERE: Fishermans Wharf Pier, 100 Fishermans Wharf, Redondo Beach, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: redondopier.com

The Dana Point Festival Of Whales (Dana Point)

  • WHAT: The Dana Point Festival of Whales, every year in March, draws more than 100,000 visitors each year to celebrate the migration of the California Gray Whale and other species with coastal events and activities. If you’re in SoCal, a drive to southern Orange County to celebrate the wonders of whales offers plenty of weekend fun. Many festival activities are free to attend, others are affordable, and most provide an educational and environmental theme along with lots of fun and frivolity. Festival highlights include: Whale watching, a kick-off parade, sand sculpting, Ocean Awareness Day, live music, including an on-the-water concert, Whale of a Block Party, art shows, pancake breakfast, BBQs, kids crafts, classic car show, talks at local venues, historic walking tours, paddling events, demos, and more.
  • WHEN: Annually, two weekends in March.
  • WHERE: Locations throughout the community of Dana Point. (Dana Point is just south of Laguna Beach on the California coast.)
  • BANG’ TIP: Free Shuttle Service is available to and from Harbor parking lots.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: festivalofwhales.com

Los Angeles Lantern Festival (Los Angeles)

  • WHAT: The Lantern Festival is a two-day celebration to wrap up Lunar New Year holiday with warmly lit lanterns. The event features food trucks, street music and dance performances, arts & crafts, and tours of the Chinese American Museum (who put on this event). Free admission.
  • WHEN: Every year in March.
  • WHERE: El Pueblo Historical Monument, 425 N Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: camla.org/lalanternfestival

SoCal St. Patrick’s Day Parades & Festivals

WHAT: Southern California celebrates St. Patrick’s Day in a number of free and affordable ways, with plenty of fun planned for the Irish and not so Irish. Many restaurants and pubs are ready to party. But if you’re looking for free parades and festivals, check out the following top picks for Los Angeles and Orange County.

  • Hermosa Beach, CA — South Bay St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival: Free to attend parade features Irish-themed floats, bagpipers, and the popular dog participants from the Irish Setters Club of Southern California, sure to draw crowds of around 30,000 people to Pier Avenue. Location: The parade begins at the staging area near City Hall on Valley Drive, makes a left onto Pier Avenue and ends at the corner of Hermosa Avenue and 10th Street, in Hermosa Beach, CA.
  • Costa Mesa, CA — St. Patrick’s Day Festival at OC Marketplace:  Free admission and free parking. The event features plenty of Irish entertainment, green lemonade, mint ice cream and more. Location: The Orange County Fairgrounds, FWY (55) and Fair Drive in Costa Mesa, CA.
  • San Diego, CA —  San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Irish Festival: The annual St. Patricks Day Parade in Balboa Park features floats, bands, drill teams, roller skaters, antique cars, equestrian and law enforcement units, bagpipes, and more. Some 20,000 visitors typically attend. The Irish-themed festival will feature food and craft booths, two beer gardens, a Celtic Village and Kids Zone with Rides. The Festival and all the entertainment are free to attend. The St. Patricks Day Parade starts from Sixth Ave and Juniper St, travels north on Fifth Ave to Upas, then over to Sixth Ave and south on Sixth to conclude at Juniper Street. San Diego transit bus MTS is running extra buses for this event. You can park and take the Trolley free — Old Town Trolley will take you to the Parade and Festival from 9am to 6:30pm.

APRIL

The California Poppy Festival (Lancaster)

  • WHAT: The California Poppy Festival at Lancaster City Park celebrates the eye-popping color of the California state flower. More than 50,000 attended last year’s event. The Poppy Festival features two full days of live music and dancers on four stages, arts and crafts, festival food and drink, animal attractions, sand sculptures, flower/garden and farmers’ market, and free wildflower maps.
  • WHEN: Takes place in April each year.
  • WHERE: Lancaster City Park, 43011 10th St W, Lancaster, California (just off the 14 freeway at Avenue L.) Free parking is available with free trams circulating between the entrance/exit and the parking lots.
  • BANG’ TIP: For the best wild California Poppy viewing, visit the nearby Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, 15 miles west of Lancaster.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: poppyfestival.com

The Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival (Monterey Park)

  • WHAT: The Cherry Blossom Festival of Monterey Park in Los Angeles County celebrates Japanese and Japanese-American culture, featuring Japanese food, dancing, Kabuki and Taiko drum performances, dance and martial arts performances, food booths, arts and crafts, and tea ceremonies. Free admission.
  • WHEN: Every year in April.
  • WHERE: Barnes Park – 350 S. McPherrin Ave, Monterey Park, California.
  • BANG’ TIP: Free parking and shuttle service (approximately every 15 minutes) to the Festival is available at: El Repetto Elementary School – 650 S. Grandridge Avenue; Ynez Elementary School – 120 S. Ynez Avenue.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: montereypark.ca.gov/673/Cherry-Blossom-Festival

Fiesta Broadway (Los Angeles)

  • WHAT: The annual Fiesta Broadway is a free event that celebrates the culture and clout of Latinos in L.A. The event is considered the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the United States, and takes place over 24 square blocks in downtown Los Angeles. Fiesta Broadway features live music on three stages, festival food and drink booths, arts and crafts, community booths, and cultural events.
  • WHEN: Every year at the end of April.
  • WHERE: Downtown Los Angeles, California, between Broadway and Main from Temple to 4th Street.
  • BANG’ TIP: Expect crowds, we’re talking 500,000 people! Comfortable shoes and some patience are a must. Parking is a nightmare, so think about taking the Metro – Red Line to Civic Center or Pershing Square, Blue Line to 7th Street and walk 5 blocks or transfer to Red Line.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: allaccess.la/fiesta-broadway

“The Taste of The Valley” Food & Wine Festival (Canoga Park)

  • WHAT: The Taste of the Valley is San Fernando’s largest wine tasting and food festival
  • WHEN: Late in April.
  • WHERE: Westfield Topanga, 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park, CA 91303.

Thai New Year Festival (Hollywood)

  • WHAT: The annual Thai New Year Festival in Thai Town, Hollywood, is where SoCal celebrates Songkran, the Thai New Year, with traditional Thai food and cultural activities, colorful parades, music and dance performances, a fashion show, Muay Thai boxing, a food and beer garden, and the Miss Thai New Year USA contest. The festival is free to attend.
  • WHEN: Takes place in April. Follow the link to the official website for updates.
  • WHERE: Thai Town, Hollywood, California. Four blocks of Hollywood Blvd blocked off from Western Ave to Winona Blvd.
  • BANG’ TIP: If you’re taking the Metro, the Hollywood and Western red line stop is near the beginning of the parade route. If you’re driving, you can take a free shuttle from Kaiser Permanente Hospital parking lot.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: thainewyear.org

Pershing Square Egg Extravaganza (Los Angeles)

Photo Secret Los Angeles
  • WHAT: Pershing Square Egg Extravaganza features family fun — egg hunt, face painting, pictures with the Easter Bunny, and live entertainment. Free admission.
  • WHEN: Every year on Easter. Check the official site for updates.
  • WHERE: Pershing Square – 532 South Olive St, Los Angeles, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: laparks.org

Easter Fest and Egg Hunt (Los Angeles)

  • WHAT: Put on by New City Church of LA, the Easter Fest and Egg Hunt features Easter eggs, kids games (including moon bounce), and pies. There is a cost per family (up to 7 people).
  • WHEN: Every year on Easter. Check the official site for updates.
  • WHERE: Downtown L.A. — Grand Hope Park, W 9th Street and Hope, Los Angeles, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: newcitychurchla.com/easterfest

Easter Eggstravaganza (Irvine)

  • WHAT: At Irvine’s Easter Eggstravaganza, kids can hunt for candy and prize-filled eggs. Bring Easter baskets for the egg hunt or buy one at the park. Families can ride the Easter Train, and enjoy activities like a moon bounce and a hay ride. Check the park website for coupons. Entrance fee.
  • WHEN: Every year on Easter. Check the official site for updates.
    WHERE: Irvine Park Railroad, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: irvineparkrailroad.com

Easter Festival & Treasure Hunt (Costa Mesa)

  • WHAT: The Easter Festival & Treasure Hunt features free hunt and prizes for the first 500 children (ages 3 and up). Free photos opportunities with the Easter Bunny, puppet shows, crafts, face painting, and more. Small admission fee for adults, kids free.
  • WHEN: Every year on Easter. Check the official site for updates.
  • WHERE: Orange County Market Place 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: ocmarketplace.com

Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival (Santa Clarita)

  • WHAT: The two-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival draws around 10,000 visitors to celebrate the city’s cowboy heritage in art, music, film and television. Activities entertainment on four stages:cowboy, folk and bluegrass music, poetry and storytelling, plus booths with cowboy gear and food.
  • WHEN: Every year in April.
  • WHERE: William S Hart Museum, 24151 Newhall Ave Santa Clarita, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: cowboyfestival.org

MAY

Memorial Weekend Fiesta Days (Chatsworth, Canoga Park, Etc.)

  • WHAT: Fiesta Days is an annual Memorial Day celebration hosted by the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce & Community Association. It celebrates the Spanish heritage of the small town community. The event takes place at various locations and includes a Community Breakfast, Parade, Picnic, Afternoon-in-the-Park (Games, Music, Food Court), and a Fireworks Show.
  • WHEN: Every year during Memorial Day Weekend.
  • WHERE: Various locations including Memorial Park (1201 Foothill Blvd, La Canada Flintridge, California).
  • OFFICIAL INFO: cpwhchamber.org

Garden Grove Strawberry Festival (Garden Grove)

  • WHAT: The Garden Grove Strawberry Festival and Parade take place over Memorial Day Weekend in May. Friday the event usually offers the best deal on unlimited ride bands. The Festival features dozens of carnival rides, blues bands, dance performances, games and food booths. The contests include the “Strawberry Idol” Karaoke Contest, Berry Berry Beautiful Baby Pageant, and Red-Head Roundup Contest. Free admission. (Ride bands available for a fee.)
  • WHEN: Every Memorial Day Weekend in May.
  • WHERE: Festival – The Village Green, Downtown Garden Grove, California, between Euclid and Main Streets. Parade – begins at 9th St and Chapman Ave, and proceeds through Downtown Garden Grove.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: strawberryfestival.org

Masters of Taste (Pasadena)

  • WHAT: Masters of Taste at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena features tastings of craft beer, wine, and desserts and other food from L.A.’s top chefs, restaurants, cocktail bars, wineries and breweries.
  • WHEN: First weekend in May.
  • WHERE: Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA 91103.

Bbq & Beer Festival (Santa Clarita)

  • WHAT: BBQ & Beer Festival is a fun day of drinking local craft beers, eating ribs, brisket, and chicken, and listening to live music. The event is family friendly and has a Kid Zone with fun activities (kids go free).
  • WHEN: Every year early in May.
  • WHERE: Santa Clarita Central Park, 27150 Bouquet Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91350.

Fiesta Hermosa (Hermosa Beach)

  • WHAT: Fiesta Hermosa is an annual three-day festival featuring arts & crafts, live music on two stages, a children’s carnival with pony rides, a petting zoo, and a rock climbing wall.
  • WHEN: Every year during Memorial Day Weekend.
  • WHERE: Hermosa Chamber of Commerce, 1007 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: fiestahermosa.net

Like Totally ’80 S Festival (Huntington Beach)

  • WHAT: Like Totally ’80s Festival celebrates everything 1980’s — music, roller derby and a costume contest, plus food trucks and other fab fun.
  • WHEN: Middle of May.
    WHERE: Huntington State Beach-Like Totally Festival, 21899 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92646.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: www.liketotallyfestival.com

Valley Greek Festival (Northridge)

  • WHAT: The Valley Greek Festival in Northridge features Greek food and fun over Memorial Day weekend. The Mediterranean delights are only part of the party, which includes the chance to survey the goods available via a number of vendors hawking everything Greek, from music to pottery to jewelry and more. Folk dances from the old country are also a big treat, as is the chance to tour St. Nicholas Church.
  • WHEN: Every year during Memorial Day Weekend.
  • WHERE: St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 9501 Balboa Blvd., Northridge, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: valleygreekfestival.com

Topanga Days Country Fair and Music Festival (Topanga)

  • WHAT: The annual Topanga Days features a Memorial Day parade and festival activities, including competitions, food vendors, a kids zone, arts and crafts, vendor booths, and more. Free shuttle available. General admission tickets available at the gate. Military get in free on Monday (Memorial Day) and get $10 off on Sat/Sun. Kids 6-12 and Seniors 65+ also get $10 off. Children 5 and under get in free.
  • WHEN: Every year during Memorial Day Weekend.
  • WHERE: 1440 North Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: topangadays.com

Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade (Canoga Park)

  • WHAT: This traditional Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade features marching bands, antique cars, horses, floats and more. Following the parade, enjoy a car show and live music at the First Baptist Church’s parking lot.
  • WHEN: Every Memorial Day Weekend in May.
  • WHERE: John Quimby Park, 7008 De Soto Ave. Canoga Park, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: cpwhchamber.org

La Vegan Beer and Food Festival (Pasadena)

  • WHAT: The LA Vegan Beer and Food Festival features vegan foods from 30+ food vendors, beer from 40 breweries, and live music.
  • WHEN: Every year in May.
  • WHERE: Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: eatdrinkvegan.com

JUNE

Dia De San Juan Festival (Long Beach)

  • WHAT: Dia de San Juan Festival features a taste of Puerto Rico’s latin culture, arts, and music.
  • WHEN: Mid-June every year.
  • WHERE: Rainbow Lagoon Park, 400 Shoreline Village Drive, Long Beach, CA 90802.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: www.fiestalegre.com

Tequila & Taco Music Festival (Pasadena)

  • WHAT: Tequila & Taco Music Festival features live music and dancing all day at Brookside Park.
  • WHEN: Every year mid-June.
  • WHERE: Brookside Park, 360 N Arroyo Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91003.

Malibu Food & Wine Fest (Calabasas)

  • WHAT: Calabasas Malibu Food & Wine Fest celebrates the SoCal restaurant scene with food from 50 dining establishments, 30 chefs and 15 different wineries and breweries.
  • WHEN: Mid-June.
  • WHERE: The Commons at Calabasas, 4799 Commons Way, Calabasas, CA 91302.

La Pride Festival & Parade (Los Angeles)

  • WHAT: LA Pride is annual celebration of LGBT pride, featuring live music performances, drag and talent shows, an artists’ alley, dance groups and a grand parade.
  • WHEN: Every year in June.
  • WHERE: West Hollywood Park, 647 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: lapride.org

Playboy Jazz Festival (Los Angeles)

Hollywood Fringe Festival (Hollywood)

  • WHAT: The annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is an open-access, uncensored celebration of the performing arts, featuring hundreds of productions by local, national, and international arts companies and independent performers.
  • WHEN: Each year in June.
  • WHERE: Multiple Hollywood, California locations, theaters, parks, clubs, churches, restaurants and other unexpected places.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: hollywoodfringe.org

La Winefest (los Angeles)

  • WHAT: The LAWineFest is a two-day event that features wine tasting in a friendly casual setting. The event includes live music and activities and shopping opps (boutique clothing, gourmet food, and artisan merchandise). Tickets available for tasting as well as “designated driver” tickets.
  • WHEN: Every year in June.
  • WHERE: Market Row at The Row DTLA, 777 S Alameda St Los Angeles, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: lawinefest.com

JULY

HOLLYWOOD, CA.- August 22nd, 2021, Mariachi USA, the premier mariachi music festival in the world and only annual Latino-themed event at the Hollywood Bowl with the top Mariachi bands from the USA and Mexico, traditional folkloric dance and the legendary fireworks finale display that have made the event a cultural icon in the USA.

Mariachi USA Festival (Hollywood)

  • WHAT: The annual Mariachi Festival, a premier music festival at the Hollywood Bowl, features top mariachi bands from Mexico and the U.S., along with performances by Ballet Folklorico, and a fireworks finale. Family friendly. Get there early for the pre-show.
  • WHEN: Every year early in July (usually before the 4th).
  • WHERE: Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: mariachiusa.com/hollywood-bowl

Americafest (pasadena)

  • WHAT: AmericaFest is billed as the biggest Fireworks show in SoCal. The event features family entertainment outside the stadium, live entertainment, including motorcycle stunts, special musical performances, and fireworks. Admission fee.
  • WHEN: Every year in July, usually on the 4th.
  • WHERE: Rose Bowl Stadium, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: rosebowlstadium.com

Huntington Beach 4 Th of July Celebration

  • WHAT: Entertainment all three days. FIREWORKS Extravaganza at Huntington Beach Pier (Huntington Beach Pier, Main & PCH, Huntington Beach, CA) July 4, 9pm. Free, or Lake Park Bleacher Seating (Parade) $15 pre-sale, $20 day of parade, Fireworks VIP Seating (Pier) $10.
  • WHEN: July 4th weekend.
  • WHERE: Pier Plaza, 315 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: hb4thofjuly.org

Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival

  • WHAT: The Dragon Boat Festival hosts one of the largest dragon boat competitions in California. The festival also features traditional Chinese art demonstrations, Chinese acrobats, traditional dance, hip hop, music and martial arts performances.
  • WHEN: Every year in July.
  • WHERE: Long Beach Marine Stadium, 5255 Paoli Way, Long Beach, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: lbdragonboat.com

AUGUST

Fiesta La Ballona (Culver City)(Temporarily closed)

  • WHAT: For a fun family event, check out Fiesta La Bollona, featuring live music on two stages, carnival rides and games, and community performances. A kids area features a petting zoo, pony rides, food trucks, beer and wine garden, demonstrations, fun activities, artisan objects and special contests. This SoCal festival not only has free admission but free parking as well. Carnival ride fees apply.
  • WHEN: Every year in August.
  • WHERE: Veteran’s Park – 4117 Overland Ave, Culver City, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: fiestalaballona.org

Long Beach Crawfish Festival

  • WHAT: The Long Beach Crawfish Festival features Cajun, Zydeco, and New Orleans music, fresh crawfish prepared Louisiana style, giant food court, children’s area, dance floor, two stages and beach bars.
  • WHEN: A three-day weekend in August each year.
  • WHERE: Rainbow Lagoon Park, 400 Shoreline Village Dr, Long Beach, California.
  • BANG’ TIP: United States active military personnel (includes Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists) get in free.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: longbeachcrawfishfestival.com

Long Beach Bbq Festival

  • WHAT: The Long Beach BBQ Festival presents an annual cook-off of grilled ribs, chicken, sausage, brisket, pulled pork and more. The festival includes live entertainment, a food court, carnival games, petting zoo, cantinas, arts & craft booths, face painting and other festival fun.
  • WHEN: A three-day weekend in August each year.
  • WHERE: Rainbow Lagoon Park, 400 Shoreline Village Dr, Long Beach, California.
  • OFFICIAL INFO: longbeachbbqfestival.com

Long Beach Jazz Festival (long Beach)

  • WHAT: The Long Beach JAZZ Festival features live music in a scenic outdoor setting. The event also includes booths  by participating musicians, as well as food and beverages available for purchase.
  • WHEN: A three-day weekend in August each year.
  • WHERE: Rainbow Lagoon Park, 400 Shoreline Village Dr, Long Beach, California. (Parking at the Convention Center or Marina Green Park.)
  • OFFICIAL INFO: longbeachjazzfestival.com

 

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