Special Sections » Insider's Guide

A Year's Worth of Events

A date with culture.

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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

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