A Year in the Central Valley: Exploring via Festivals

The Central Valley offers a diverse blend of festivals throughout the year, showcasing everything from agricultural abundance and artistic expression to cultural heritage and quirky celebrations. Here's a glimpse at the range of experiences awaiting you.

Spring is the season for floral fanatics. A trip in February or March will capitalize on the Capay Valley Almond Festival in Yolo County, the Fresno County Blossom Trail, or Modesto’s Almond Blossom Cruise, as the tiny white and pink blossoms burst from tree branches. Hillside Iris Farm opens exclusively in April, and June visitors will have fields of lavender blooming for the Cache Creek Lavender Festival — all in addition to produce flowing out of every fruit stand along the Valley! If your travel falls in autumn, have no fear — Yolo County also hosts the Olive Crush Festival and wine country draws visitors for the Lodi Grape Festival and Harvest Fair. Can’t get enough of the local food and product production? True agriculture aficionados won’t want to miss the World Ag Expo in Visalia!

Those with an affinity for the Arts have plenty to celebrate in the Central Valley throughout the year, be it studio art, performances, music, or artisan skills. The California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Arts in Yolo County and the Oakhurst Woodcarvers Rendezvous in Madera County gather true masters into one place. Artists of all skill levels are invited to enter photographs into Modesto’s van Gogh Challenge ArtWalk, showing off the beauty of the almond blossoms, just like vanGogh did. Celebrate the region’s livelihood with the Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts Show, highlighting farm-themed art. Music lovers will want to scope out tickets to the Davis Music Festival in Yolo County or Madera County’s Music in the Meadow for live music under some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. Looking for something a bit edgier or avant garde? Check out the Rogue Festival in Fresno for a huge variety of performance art from dance, music, original pieces, and independent performers or an incredibly diverse line-up at the Gallo Center for the Arts in downtown Modesto.

The Central Valley boasts an incredibly diverse population, backgrounds, and traditions and their festival lineup reflects just that! The area’s indigenous roots are celebrated at the Sierra Mono Indian Fair Days & Pow Wow. Immigrants of many varieties are celebrated through festivals including Fresno’s Toro Nagashi (floating lanterns) festival for Japanese Obon, the Kingsburg Swedish Festival and the Fresno Greek Fest. For those looking for a historical experience, the Raymond Parade has an Old West flair. Gearheads will want to check out American Graffiti Car Festival Parade & Graffiti Summer in Modesto where over 1,000 classic cars cruise the streets of George Lucus’ hometown in honor of his car-culture movie.

Sometimes you want a bit of quirky on your vacation. Don’t fret, the Valley can deliver. From Madera County’s Antique & Classic Wooden Boat Show to Clovis’ Big Hat Days kicking off the rodeo season, the Mariposa Butterfly Festival to the Coarsegold Tarantula Festival (yes, it is a lot very large spiders), lumberjack central — the Loggers Jamboree to the 1852 Springfest that embodies everything citrus… there is an enormous variety in celebrations! Can’t decide? Perhaps it is time to check out the Whole Earth Festival at UC Davis, held every year since 1969!

With a festival for nearly every taste and interest, the Central Valley offers a full calendar of events year-round. Whether you're seeking to immerse yourself in artistic expression, celebrate cultural heritage, or simply enjoy a quirky good time, the Valley promises an unforgettable festival experience. So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to discover the Central Valley through its lively and diverse festivals!

Order a Free Central Valley Travel Guide
Trip Ideas
Support for this Website comes from Visit California
Copyright ©2024 - Central Valley Tourism Association. In partnership with Visit California and the Central Valley Tourism Association. All Rights Reserved.
Designed and Developed by Drozian Webworks