Special Sections » Insider's Guide

A Year's Worth of Events

A date with culture.

comment

From classic cars to Greek food to indie rock, there's always a reason to celebrate in the Bay Area. Whether you want to spend $100 bucks or no bucks, you'll have no shortage of excuses to socialize, sweat, or spectate.

Ongoing

1st Wednesdays Street Parties Monthly themed street parties in downtown Pleasanton, featuring live music, vendors, food, and more. First Wednesday of every month, May through September. 6-9 p.m., free. Main Street, Pleasanton.

Oakland Art Murmur Monthly art walk in Oakland. First Fridays of every month. 6-10 p.m., free. At various galleries along Telegraph Avenue between 19th and 48th streets. OaklandArtMurmur.com

Walking Tours of the "Gourmet Ghetto" Go behind the scenes with "Epicurean Concierge" Lisa Rogivin at various restaurants and food shops in North Berkeley, plus conversations with chefs and food purveyors, and tastings and samples. Every Thursday, 11 a.m.-2:15 p.m., $75. Meets near Shattuck Avenue. IntheKitchenwithLisa.com

February

Chinese New Year Parade A San Francisco tradition since just after the Gold Rush. Typically held in late-January, early-February, Chinatown, San Francisco. ChineseParade.com

Fuck Valentine's Day Show With comedians, films, sex-toy giveaways, stories, contests, and more. Hosted by Jamie DeWolf. Held in February. The Oakland Metro Operahouse, 630 3rd St., Oakland. TourettesWithoutRegrets.com

Lunar New Year Parade and performances. Albany Twin Theater, Albany. Typically held in late-January, early-February. SolanoAvenueAssn.org

Noise Pop The biggest independent music festival of the year brings together the hottest noisemakers for anticipated reunions and rarely seen bills, performed in intimate environments. The festival seems to keep expanding with each year, and now includes a film festival, comedy acts, art, and a crafts fair. February 22-27. Various venues. NoisePop.com

SF Bluegrass & Old Time Festival Typically held in February. Various venues. SFBluegrass.org

Strawberry Hill 5K This conveniently located race starts and finishes at Kennedy Drive and Transverse in Golden Gate Park. Typically held in February, 9 a.m., $3-$5. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

March

Oakland Running Festival Full and half-marathon, 5K, kids' fun run, and four-person relay race, spread out over two days. Mar. 26-27. OaklandMarathon.com

RPM Challenge Listening Party During the month of February, the Express challenges Bay Area musicians to create a new album of work. At the listening party, we play one track from every album completed. The event is broadcasted live. Attendees include the musicians, music industry professionals, and the general public. Saturday, Mar. 26, free. Location TBA. RPMChallenge.com

San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival The annual late-winter/early-spring event has grown into a ten-day feast with two important main courses: films from the old country and films by Asian Americans. Because it comes early in the calendar year, the festival often steals thunder from other fests with its adventurous selections. Mar. 11-21. Various venues. CAAMedia.org

White Elephant Sale Biggest rummage sale in Northern California, with proceeds benefitting the Oakland Museum of California. Mar. 5-6, free. 333 Lancaster St., Oakland, WhiteElephantSale.org

April

Cal Day Campus open house, with lectures, lab tours, free admission to university museums, music and dance performances, and more. Apr. 16, free. UC Berkeley campus, Berkeley.

Downtown Clean Up Day Apr. 17. Details TBA. Historic Downtown Martinez, MainStreetMartinez.org

Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt Plastic eggs are scattered throughout the park and gatherers are divided into age groups, with prizes to those who gather the most eggs. Sun., Apr. 24, 9 a.m., free. Mountain Village Park, Oakland. MontclairVillage.com

The San Francisco International Film Festival The oldest film fest in the Western Hemisphere is also one of the world's most interesting, because it plays to the Bay Area's film-loving audiences instead of to industry types. Everything under the sun. Filmmakers on parade. Two weeks of movies you'll probably never see anywhere else. Apr. 21-May 5. Various venues. SFFS.org

May

Alcatraz Challenge Swim 1.5-mile swim begins at Alcatraz and ends at the East Beach of Crissy Field located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area's Presidio Park. May 22. TriCalifornia.com.

Carnaval San Francisco Parade and street fair celebrating Latin American and Caribbean cultures, with a mobile basketball playground, Niñolandia for kids, food, non-stop music, drumming, dancing, a crowning of the King and Queen, and work by local artists. This year's theme is "Live Your Fantasy." CarnavalSF.com. May 29. Harrison St., bet. 16th and 24th sts., San Francisco.

Himalayan Fair Berkeley's "Little Lhasa" comes alive at the popular annual event, but the "great mountain cultures" of Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bhutan also are represented, with a full day's worth of elaborately costumed traditional dance and music performers. And don't forget the spicy, charcoal-grilled food. May 14, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., May 15, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Live Oak Park, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, HimalayanFair.net

Bay to Breakers This year is the centennial iteration of the annual 12K race. May 15. Starts at Howard St. at Beale St., San Francisco, BaytoBreakers.com

JAMfest Youth Concert Local youths show off their musical talent. May 27, 7-8:30 p.m. Lions Wayside Park (First and Neal sts.), Pleasanton. PleasantonDowntown.net/events.php

Jazz on Fourth With food, drink, and other merchants lining Fourth Street, and two stages are filled with homegrown talent, culminating in the finale's big-band pyrotechnics of award-winning, globetrotting Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble. Typically held in May, free, Fourth Street, Berkeley. FourthStreet.com

KBLX Stone Soul Concert With live performances. Typically held in May. Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord, 2000 Kirker Pass Rd., Concord, 925-685-8497.

The Koreatown-Northgate Culturefest Celebrating the area's diverse and vibrant neighborhood. Saturday, May 14, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Telegraph Ave. from 24th-27th streets. KoreatownNorthgate.org

Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival With live performances; a children's court with arts, crafts, and games; a food court with crafts, community information booths, and vendors; dance performances; poets; DJs; emcees; speakers; and open ciphers. Typically held in May, free. San Antonio Park, 18th Ave. (at Foothill Blvd.), Oakland. EastSideArtsAlliance.com

Oakland Greek Festival With Greek food, drinks, music, and dance. Typically held in May. Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension, 4700 Lincoln Ave., Oakland. OaklandGreekFestival.com

Oakland Indie Awards With food and drink samplings from local restaurants; plus expos by local media, small businesses, and organizations. Typically held in May. Location TBD. OaklandIndieAwards.com

Park Street's 10th Annual Spring Festival Featuring arts, crafts, food, beer, wine, and kids' area with pony rides and petting zoo. May 7-8, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Park Street, Alameda. ShopParkStreet.com

Peddlers' Faire Arts and collectibles fair sponsored by the Main Street Martinez Association. May 21. Main St., Martinez. MainStreetMartinez.org.

Spring Antiques & Collectibles Street Faire With vintage, retro and antique home decorations, clothing, furniture, jewelry, art, pottery, books and collectibles from more than 400 dealers. For info, call 510-522-7500, or visit PleasantonAntiqueFaire.com. May 29, free. Main St., Pleasanton, 925-484-2199.

June

24th Annual Tri for Fun Series of four triathalons designed for novices over the course of the summer, with a 400-yard swim, 11-mile bike ride, and 3.1-mile run. Advance registration is encouraged and includes a T-shirt, refreshments, and raffle. Don't forget your bike helmet and swim cap. June 18, July 16, August 20, and September 18. $65 (with discounts for competing in multiple races). Shadow Cliffs Regional Park, Pleasanton. OnYourMarkEvents.com.

Alameda County Fair Starting at the end of June and lasting till just after the Fourth of July, the fair features horseracing, contests, concerts, livestock, agriculture education, and carnival rides for the kiddies, plus plenty of barbecued ribs, turkey legs, and corn on the cob. June 22 through July 10. Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton, 925-426-7600, AlamedaCountyFair.com.

Annual Statuto Race This internationally famous 8K run or one-mile walk commemorates the Statuto Albertino of 1848 — Italy's first constitution as a cohesive nation — and is the fourth-oldest footrace in the United States. June 5, 9 a.m. Begins at 1630 Stockton Street in San Francisco, goes through North Beach, and ends at Washington Square Park. SFIAC.org/statuto.html.

AT&T Giant Race A half-marathon, 5K timed race, fun run, and walk lets you skip, hop, or whatever you like across home plate at AT&T Park. The route winds along the Embarcadero, beginning and ending at the ballpark. Afterward, enjoy the pregame festival with live music, food, and giveaways. All of the funds raised go to Project Open Hand. June 19, AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco. TheGiantRace.com.

Berkeley World Music Festival Featuring live performances, as well as a crafts bazaar. Typically held in June. Telegraph Ave., bet. Bancroft Way and Parker St., Berkeley.

The Best of the Bay Century Enjoy panoramic bay views, miles of pastoral and forested hills, and deep, cool redwood forests on this ninety-mile trek through the Bay Area. Preregistration only; limited to 150 riders. June 18. Begins at the Orinda BART station. 510-357-3045 or CherryCityCyclists.org.

Chocolate & Chalk Art Festival With a sidewalk chalk art contest. June 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., free. Shattuck Ave. (between Rose and Delaware sts.), Berkeley. NorthShattuck.org.

Double Dipsea Handicap Race This 13.7-mile handicap race starts at Stinson Beach then goes on through Muir Woods and Mount Tamalpais State Park before ending up back at the beach. This race is extra fun for slow runners because they get a head start, and the fast runners have to work harder to catch up. June 25. Begins at Stinson Beach. DoubleDipsea.com.

East Bay Open Studios East Bay Open Studios connects the public with more than four hundred artists in fourteen cities in the East Bay. June 4, 5, 11 and 12, free. Various East Bay locations. ProArtsGallery.org/ebos/index.php.

Fine Arts Sidewalk Festival More than ninety professional artists from across the western US will showcase their works. June 24-26, free. Mountain Blvd. at La Salle Ave. and Antioch Ct., Oakland. MontclairVillage.com

Frameline Aka the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender Film Festival, the 35-year-old summer happening has branched out over the years and now cruises the world for its innovative, exciting programs. Risky and proud of it. Typically held in June. Various locations. Frameline.org

Giro di Peninsula All proceeds from this "Italian experience" bicycle ride go to helping the Festa Foundation provide assistance to Bay Areans with developmental disabilities. The ride features five different courses (100K, 70K, 30K, and 30KEZ) as well as good food and free T-shirts for all. Typically held in June. San Mateo; exact location TBA. FestaFoundation.org/giro.html.

King of the County BBQ Challenge & Music Festival With live music, more than one hundred arts and crafts vendors, barbecue, kids' activities, Smokey the Bear and his fire engine, carnival rides, face painting, games, and a car show.. Typically held in June, free. Martinez Regional Shoreline, Ferry Street, Martinez. CountyBBQ.com

Laurel Summer Solstice Music Festival Featuring live performances. Typically held in June, on or near the summer solstice, free. Laurel Village (near 38th Ave. and Macarthur Blvd.) Oakland.

Live 105's BFD Over the years, San Francisco's leading modern rock outpost Live 105 has reliably convened less edgy chart-toppers like Good Charlotte and Linkin Park, classic rebels like Social Distortion and The Cure, and an array of up-and-coming, underground, and local acts. Typically held in June. Shoreline Amphitheatre, One Amphitheatre Pkwy., Mountain View. Live105.com

Live Oak Park Fair With a bazaar featuring fine crafts, contemporary art, handcrafted jewelry, clothing, quilts, baskets, sculptures, clay, fiber, glass, metal, hand-cut block prints, paintings, and woodwork by more than one hundred artisans. Plus food and music. June 11-12, free. Live Oak Park, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, LiveOakParkFair.com

Northern California Pirate Festival Four acres of live music, pirate and military encampments, roving entertainers, treasure hunts, sword fighting, black powder drills, a children's stage, a costume contest, craft beers, shopping for pirate wares, and a cannon battle each day at 2 p.m. June 18-19, free. Vallejo Waterfront Park, 289 Mare Island Way, Vallejo. NorCalPirateFestival.com.

SalmonAid Festival Wild salmon benefit featuring live music performances. Typically held in June, free. Location TBA. SalmonAid.org

San Francisco Free Folk Festival A two-day celebration of live music and community interaction. Now in its 35th year, the festival is produced entirely by volunteers, including workshop leaders and performers. Nearly one hundred workshops will address a huge spectrum of music and dance, while ongoing jams and song swaps run both days. June 25 and 26, free. Presidio Middle School, 450 30th Ave., San Francisco, SFFolkFest.org

San Francisco Pride One of San Francisco's biggest, most colorful parties. Aside from the usual two-day procession of cowboys in leather chaps and sexy transgendered go-go dancers, the parade also features special music guests and sundry forms of entertainment. June 25-26. Parade starts at Market St. and Beale St. and ends at Market St. and 8th St. Celebration held in Civic Center, San Francisco. SFPride.org

Summer Sailstice Boathouse open late, with free boat rentals. Saturday, June 18, free. Lake Merritt Boating Center, 568 Bellevue Ave. (the blue boathouse in Lakeside Park), Oakland. 510-238-2196, OaklandNet.com/parks/programs/boating.asp

Temescal Street Fair Features food and drink from local restaurants, a fashion show, fine artists, craft and community booths, live music, a kids' stage, and more. Sun., June 5, noon-6 p.m., free. Telegraph Ave., between 48th and 51st streets, Oakland, TemescalDistrict.org

Woodminster Cross Country Trail Race Nine-mile hilly loop trail that runs through the Oakland hills. Medals for 1st-15th place. Typically held in June. Redwood Park, 7867 Redwood Rd., Oakland. 510-655-8228 or EBParks.org

July

Alcatraz Challenge Aquathlon & Swim With a 1.5-mile swim from Alcatraz to the Presidio and a seven-mile out-and-back run across the Golden Gate Bridge. July 17. Crissy Field, San Francisco. TriCalifornia.com

Berkeley Kite Festival and West Coast Kite Championships The Berkeley Marina, directly in the path of the relentless winds coming off the Pacific Ocean, has long been a prime spot for flying kites. Kite teams from Berkeley and Japan show off their enormous kites (both traditional and non-), visible as far as the eye can see. July 30-31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., free. Cesar E. Chavez Park, 200 Marina Blvd., Berkeley, 510-235-KITE or highlinekites.com/pages/BERKELEY-KITE-FEST.html

Berkeley Juggling and Unicycle Festival An only-in-Berkeley celebration of the circus arts, with workshops on subjects like fire-spinning and acro-balancing, as well as organized juggling and unicycle games (don't miss Berkeley's Revolution basketball team, reigning North American champs). Typically held in July. Location TBA. BerkeleyJuggling.org

Fourth of July at the Berkeley Marina Live entertainment on the main stage, plus art and crafts booths, massages, free sailboat rides, dragon boat rides, and the grand fireworks off the end of the Berkeley Pier at dusk. Alcohol-free event with complimentary valet bike parking. July 4, free. Berkeley Marina, 201 University Ave., Berkeley, 510-548-5335.

Fourth of July Celebration in Jack London Square With music, food, arts and crafts, and carnival games. July 4, free. Jack London Square Pavilion Stage, Jack London Square, Oakland. 510-645-9292 ex. 225 or JackLondonSquare.com

Fourth of July Celebration in Pleasant Hill Parade, booths, fireworks, and more. July 4. Downtown Pleasant Hill. PHJuly4.com

Jail Break Run Run as if you're on the lam in this annual race coordinated by the Alameda County Sheriff's Department and the Special Olympics of Northern California. Meet at 8:00 a.m. at the County Sheriff's Office Regional Training Center in Dublin. The 5K/10K run begins with a lap around the Santa Rita County Jail, and the event raises funds and public awareness for the Special Olympics. July 17. Exact starting location TBA. OnYourMarkEvents.com

Martinez Hometown 4th of July Parade & Celebration With a pancake breakfast, patriotic parade, live music, arts & crafts vendors, kids' activities, booths, and fireworks at dusk. July 4, free. Main Street Plaza, Main St., Martinez. MainStreetMartinez.org

Mayor's Fourth of July Alameda's annual Fourth of July extravaganza — always on July 4, no matter what the day, natch — attracts some 20,000 spectators, or roughly one-third of the city's population, and is rumored to be one of the longest Fourth of July parades in the world. Everyone and then some are there to wave flags and witness color guards, marching bands, baton twirlers, classic cars, horses, politicians, veterans, and floats, floats, floats. The best hometown parade going in the East Bay, no question. July 4, free. MyAlamedaParade.com

Mission Creek Music & Arts Festival Annual local independent music and arts festival, taking place at venues around the Bay Area. Typically held in July. MCMF.org

Old Fashioned 4th of July With catered BBQ, games, music, tours, a teddy bear parade with prizes, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence. July 4, free. Dunsmuir Historic Estate, 2960 Peralta Oaks Ct., Oakland. 925-275-9490 or Dunsmuir.org

Lake Del Valle Aqua Challenge Go for a dip with alternative half-mile, 1-mile, and 2-mile swims. July 23. Lake Del Valle Regional Park Swim Beach, Livermore. OnYourMarkEvents.com

Park Street's 26th Annual Art & Wine Faire Arts, crafts, food, beer, wine, music stages, kids' area, pony rides, petting zoo, and more. July 30-31, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., free. Park Street, Alameda. ShopParkStreet.com

Pleasant Hill Firecracker 5K Run-Walk This flat three-lap route along downtown Pleasant Hill's July 4 parade route starts at 7:30 a.m. The just-for-fun children's dash is a 100-yard sprint for kids seven and under. July 4. Register in front of Fleet Feet Sports, 45 Crescent Dr. PHJuly4.com.

Red and White Fleet Fireworks Cruise Celebrate Independence Day in style with a brief sail along San Francisco's stunning evening skyline, before viewing the fireworks show from the bay. July 4, 7:45 p.m., $47. RedandWhite.com

Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival Featuring Disturbed, Godsmack, Megadeth, and more. July 10, Shoreline Amphitheatre, One Amphitheatre Pkwy., Mountain View. MayhemFest.com

Run to the Lake A 5K run/walk, 10K run, and kids fun dash that benefits Eden Medical Center's Trauma Center. Typically held in July.Begins at Eden Medical Center, 20103 Lake Chabot Rd., Castro Valley. EdenMedCenter.org/Events

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival The world's oldest and largest Jewish film festival sees its mission as exploring the Jewish experience in all its complexity. And if that means giving equal voice to Palestinians and other minorities, so be it. July 21-August 8. Various locations. SFJFF.org

San Francisco Marathon Run across the Golden Gate Bridge and past many of the city's most famous landmarks in this extremely popular race. Options include a full marathon, two half-marathons, 5K run, progressive marathon, and alternative routes. Participants receive T-shirts, coaster medals, and completion certificates. July 31. Races begin at various points in San Francisco. 415-814-2823 or RunSFM.com

San Francisco Silent Film Festival Dedicated to restoring and presenting original silent films with live musical accompaniment — which means no special effects (well, hardly any), no overbuilt soundtracks, and a complete absence of Shia LaBeouf. What a great idea. July 14-17. SilentFilm.org

Splash into Summer Open House Celebrating National Recreation & Parks Month with free boat rentals and a chance to meet Coastie, the US Coast Guard auxiliary talking safety boat. Plus opportunities to sign up for youth and adult summer boating classes. July 16, free. Lake Merritt Boating Center, 568 Bellevue Ave. (the blue boathouse in Lakeside Park), Oakland. 510-238-2196 or OaklandNet.com/parks/programs/boating.asp

Summer Wine Stroll Featuring a variety of Livermore wines. July 14, $25. Along Main St., Pleasanton. 925-484-2199 or PleasantonDowntown.net

Vans Warped Tour With Relient K, Hellogoodbye, MC Lars, Abandon All Ships, and more. July 2, 11 a.m., $33.50. Shoreline Amphitheatre, One Amphitheatre Pkwy., Mountain View. WarpedTour.com

August

15th Annual Martinez Car, Truck & Bike Show More than 100 cars, trucks, and motorcycles will line the streets of historic downtown Martinez. Plus raffles, live music, DJ, trophys, plaques, and more. August 20, free. Historic Downtown Martinez. MainStreetMartinez.org

Bone Bash X Annual concert booked by the classic rock radio station. Typically in August. Location TBA. 1077TheBone.com

Brainwash Movie Festival The Bay's only "drive-in, bike-in, walk-in" film fest started off showing a bunch of ultra-indie films and vids on a wall in a West Oakland parking lot; it's since grown to cover three days at various venues. August 6, 12, and 13. Various locations. Brainwashm.com

Chinatown Streetfest With more than 280 booths spanning nine blocks, selling food, crafts, unique Asian products, arts and crafts, and community resources. Plus entertainment on three stages, and a Cultural Village presented by the Oakland Museum of California. Typically held in August, free. 11th St. (at Webster St.), Oakland, OaklandChinatownStreetFest.com.

Golden Gate Park Cross-Country A 5K race that begins at the big tree in the Upper Speedway Meadows Grass area of Golden Gate Park and finishes on the park's lower paved Polo Field track, after a run through Speedway Meadows and a loop around the Polo Field. August 28. Golden Gate Park, 501 Stanyan St., San Francisco. DSERunners.com

Oakland Art and Soul Festival Set in downtown Oakland's beautiful City Center, it's a feast for the eyes, ears, mind, and mouth, with national music acts, dance and fashion shows, and an array of vendors serving ethnic eats and crafts as diverse as the city. August 20-21, $15. Oakland City Center, 500 12th St., Oakland. ArtandSoulOakland.com

Oakland International Black LGBT Film Festival With shorts and features in a variety of genres. Typically held in August. Various locations. BlackLGBTFilmFest.com

Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival The extravagant three-day affair in Golden Gate Park features a lineup with mass appeal, likely to draw KFOG devotees, hip-hop heads, indie-rock fans, and the jam-band set. Acts TBA. Typically held in August. Golden Gate Park, 501 Stanyan St., San Francisco. 415-831-2700 or SFOutsideLands.com

Round the Rock Alcatraz Challenge Canoe Race This Polynesian outrigger canoe race hosted by the Pacific Islanders Cultural Association and He'e Nalu of Marin Outrigger Canoe Club starts at the East Beach of Crissy Field National Park, and is followed by a raffle and prizes. Typically held in August. Crissy Field, 603 Mason St., San Francisco. AlcatrazChallenge.com

September

38th Annual Mountain View Art & Wine Festival With live jazz, rock, blues, Motown, funk, hip-hop, flamenco, and Celtic music; food; wine; microbrews and margaritas, health and wellness displays; an organic and green products showcase, home and garden exhibits; a kids' zone; magicians; and jugglers. Typically held in September. Castro St. bet. El Camino Real & Evelyn Ave., Mountain View. 650-968-8378 or MiramarEvents.com

Berkeley Video and Film Festival With feature films and shorts in a variety of genres. Typically held in September. Various locations in Berkeley. BerkeleyVideoFilmFest.org

Eat Real Fest Wildly popular three-day celebration of cheap, healthful, locally-sourced gourmet food, with vendors, demonstrations, film screenings, literary readings, and much more. Last year's event drew over 110,000 people over three days. September 23-25, free. Jack London Square, 70 Washington St. (foot of Broadway), Oakland. EatRealFest.com

Folsom Street Fair The self-proclaimed "grand daddy of leather events" celebrates leather, rubber, and fetish styles, in addition to featuring live rock performances, vendor booths, and exhibitions. September 25, free. Folsom St., between 7th and 12th streets, San Francisco. FolsomStreetFair.org

Going 4 Green Festival Celebration of green living, featuring speakers, an eco fashion show, live entertainment, and more. Typically held in September. Location TBA. Going4GreenFestival.com

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Massive three-day music festival featuring both high-profile and up-and-coming bluegrass, country, blues, and rock artists. Friday, Sept. 30, Saturday, Oct. 1, and Sunday, Oct. 2. Golden Gate Park, 501 Stanyan St., San Francisco. StrictlyBluegrass.com

Martinez Italian Street Painting Festival Chalk art and arts and crafts vendors, plus music, food, and a farmers' market. Typically held in September, free. Historic Downtown Martinez (Main St. at Court St.) MainStreetMartinez.org

Millbrae Art & Wine Festival With a Mardi Gras-style feast; wine; microbrews & margaritas; live bands; a classic car show; taiko drums; a Chinese dragon dance; organic and green product expos; a kids' zone; and an arts and crafts bazaar. Typically held in September. Broadway Ave., bet. Victoria and Meadow Glen, Millbrae. MiramarEvents.com.

Oakland Pride Festival Oakland's own Pride Festival, with a parade, live entertainment, vendor booths, and much more. September 4, free. Location TBA. OaklandPride.org.

Oakland Underground Film Festival Film festival highlighting independent film and projection art, with a special emphasis on social justice; local filmmakers; urban life; and avant-garde, experimental, and nonlinear films. September 23-25. Various locations. OakUFF.org.

Power to the Peaceful Festival An estimated 50,000 folks flock to Golden Gate Park's Speedway Meadow, spreading the gospel of peace, love, granola, and environmental consciousness. With potent performers, the fest also features a food drive, yoga jam, and vendors. This year's acts TBA. Typically held in September. Speedway Meadow, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. PowertothePeaceful.org.

Rockridge Out and About Annual celebration of all the neighborhood has to offer, with chef demonstrations, kids' activities, food and drink vendors, and more. Typically held in September. Along College Avenue in Rockridge, Oakland. RockridgeOutAndAbout.com.

Scottish Highland Games Traditional Highland games plus craft booths, vendors, food, whisky tasting, mansion tours, a gathering of the clans, children's activities, dancing demonstrations, pipe band competitions and musical performances. Typically held on Labor Day weekend. Location TBA. Caledonian.org

Solano Stroll Since 1974, folks from all over the East Bay have enjoyed the massive street fair, featuring all kinds of entertainment, including more than five hundred vendors. The event includes a traditional pancake breakfast and theme parade, plus entertainers, food vendors, juried arts and crafters, games, art cars, and community organizations. Sunday, Sept. 11, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Solano Ave., Berkeley. SolanoAvenueAssn.org

October

Fall Antiques & Collectibles Street Faire With vintage, retro and antique home decorations, clothing, furniture, jewelry, art, pottery, books and collectibles from more than 400 dealers. October 9, free. Downtown Pleasanton, Main St., Pleasanton, 925-484-2199. 510-522-7500 or PleasantonAntiqueFaire.com

Halloween on Solano Trick or treat at downtown businesses, plus costume contest. October 31. Solano Ave. (at Masonic) Berkeley, SolanoAvenueAssn.org.

Lions Club Halloween Parade Parade starts at the Village Park entrance close to Bank of America and winds its way down Mountain Blvd., turns right on La Salle Ave., turns right on Moraga Ave., and returns to the Park. Typically held Halloween weekend, free. Mountain Village Park, Oakland. MontclairVillage.com

Mill Valley Film Festival Marin County's California Film Institute uses its clout as the hometown of many movie professionals to put on the one of the quirkiest and most intelligent fests anywhere, without the marketplace sensibility and ego trips — it's noncompetitive. October 6-16. Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center New, 1118 Fourth St., San Rafael, MVFF.com

Montclair Village Music & Wine Festival With live music, kids' activities, a "wellness villiage," and more. Typically held in October. Mountain Village Park, Oakland. MontclairVillage.com

Oaktoberfest in the Dimond With live music and other entertainment, along with more beer and bratwurst than anyone would know what to do with. Typically held in October. Dimond District (Fruitvale Ave. bet. Montana Ave. and Colma St.), Oakland. Oaktoberfest.org

Park Street's Classic Car Show This annual car show has a bumper-to-bumper crop of more than four hundred primo vehicles that have been waxed, buffed, and shined so fine that onlookers can see their reflections in the gleaming panels and bumpers of the hardtops and hatchbacks. October 8, free. Park St., Alameda. 510-523-1392 or ShopParkStreet.com

Spice of Life Festival Food and drink festival in Berkeley's famed Gourmet Ghetto, also featuring vendors, art, entertainment, and kids' activities. Typically held in October. Shattuck Ave. (between Rose and Delaware Sts.), Berkeley. NorthShattuck.org

Treasure Island Music Festival The two-day fest, co-organized by the folks who bring you Noise Pop and the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, is a must-attend event for anyone curious about surveying the state of independent music. Acts TBA. Typically held in October. Treasure Island, TreasureIslandFestival.com

November

Hecho en Califas Annual arts and music festival focusing on work with themes of identity and social justice. Typically held in November. La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. LaPena.org.

The Big Game The annual football game between longtime rivals Stanford University and UC Berkeley. Typically held in November. At either Cal or Stanford Stadium. CalBears.cstv.com

December

KPFA Crafts Fair Annual fund-raiser for the radio station, featuring live music, food, and over 200 juried booths selling crafts of various kinds. Typically held in December. Location TBA. KPFA.org

Montclair Village Holiday Stroll Village merchants stay open to welcome shoppers and their families for a gala kick-off to the holiday season. Activities include window display contest, entertainment, music, refreshments, and more. Typically held in December, free. Streets of Montclair Village, Oakland. MontclairVillage.com

Oakland Holiday Parade This parade delights kids big and small, drawing as many as 70,000 people with giant helium balloons, cartoon and storybook characters, marching bands, floats, and more. Typically held in December. Broadway and 11th St. to 20th St., to Harrison St., OaklandHolidayParade.com

Pleasanton Hometown Holiday Celebration Typically held in December, free. Downtown Pleasanton, Main St., Pleasanton, 925-484-2199.

Telegraph Avenue Holiday Street Fair Vendors from far and wide set up shop in the streets, where all manner of gifts — framed black-and-white photos, wooly hats, screen-printed T-shirts, artwork, ceramics, jewelry, and more — can be found at prices that won't break your bank. Typically held on the weekends in December before Christmas. Telegraph Ave. between Dwight and Bancroft ways, Berkeley, TelegraphFair.com

Winter Island Alameda Two weeks' worth of holiday activities, including film screenings, culinary demonstrations, shopping fairs, parades, and more. Typically held in late December. Various locations. AlamedaWinterIsland.com.

January

Angel Island Trail Run With spectacular views of Marin County, San Francisco, and the Golden Gate, the trail circles the entire island and climbs Mount Livermore. You can choose from the 8K, 16K, 25K, or 50K runs. Hikers are welcome, too. Bring the whole family and enjoy a post-run picnic at beautiful Ayala Cove. Typically held in January. Bib pick-up is at Tiburon Ferry Dock, 21 Main St., Tiburon. PCTrailruns.com

Earth's Biggest Calendar Sale Huge — and hugely popular — sale of wall and desk calendars and organizers. January 1. Pegasus Books (all locations), 1855 Solano Ave., Berkeley; 2349 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; 5560 College Ave., Oakland. PegasusBookstore.com

Noir City East Bay author Eddie Muller's annual film noir extravaganza always manages to dig up a few "new" old hardboiled movies you never heard of, peppered with appearances by the original stars and filmmakers. Easy to get hooked on, hard to swear off of. Typically held in January. Various Bay Area locations. NoirCity.com

Oakland Chinatown Lunar New Year Bazaar Two-day celebration held in Oakland Chinatown features vendors selling traditional new year decorations, flowers, gifts, candies, and more, dragon and lion dancing, martial arts, Chinese cultural music, and a "Little Prince & Princess" contest. Typically held in late-January, early-February. 9th and Franklin streets and Pacific Renaissance Plaza, Oakland. OaklandChinatownChamber.org

SF Sketchfest The Bay Area's biggest and best-known comedy festival. Typically held January-February. Various locations. SFSketchfest.com 

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.