Fairs, Festivals, and More: The Best Bay Area and Lake Tahoe Spring Events

Marin County

2nd Friday Art Walk, San Rafael 

Enjoy open studios, art exhibits, galleries, live music, and refreshments as you stroll along Fourth Street in downtown San Rafael. Check the official website for exact dates. 

Tiburon Film Festival, Tiburon 

From April 20-27, the annual Tiburon International Film Festival hosts a selection of independent features and short films. Bonus: Its awesome logo features a shark with a movie reel in its mouth. 

Tiburon Wine Festival, Tiburon

Food, music, and wine? We’re in! This event takes place on May 19 at the Point Tiburon Plaza. Enjoy live music, a spectacular silent auction, and special wines from participating wineries. Tickets are $80 for unlimited wine and food tasting.

Mountain Play, Mill Valley

Enjoy a musically magical experience on Mount Tamalpais. In May and June, Mama Mia will be entertaining attendees with the hits of Abba. Mountain Play takes place at the Cushing Memorial Amphitheater. Get ready to experience a one-of-a-kind event featuring professional actors, visual effects, and a live orchestra!  Check the official website for ticket information.

Napa County

Afternoon Sunday Tea at the Historic Ackerman Heritage House, Napa 

Visit Napa’s only true Victorian living museum and event space, now through May 13. Admission is $55 and includes a tour of the restored historic 1888 Queen Anne Victorian home and a traditional English tea service. 

Boys & Girls Clubs: Wake Up Your Heart!, Calistoga 

On April 13, Calistoga’s 5th Annual Breakfast for Kids takes place at the Calistoga Clubhouse. The keynote speaker is Levi Leipheimer, former professional cyclist. The event is free, but RSVPs are required. 

Kitchens in the Vineyards, St. Helena

This year marks the 21st anniversary of the Kitchens in the Vineyards home and garden tour in the Napa Valley. The preview party takes place on April 27, and the home tour takes place on April 28. Five St. Helena residences will open their doors for the event, which benefits the summer chamber-music festival, “Music in the Vineyards.” Visit the official website to learn more.

Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, Napa Valley

Tickets are on sale now for this festival that takes place June 6-10 at the Lincoln Theater and Oxbow Commons. You can purchase two-day, four-day, and five-day packages. Visit the official website to learn more about the artists scheduled to appear.

Sonoma County/Sonoma Valley

Sonoma International Film Festival, Sonoma

Now in its 21st year, the five-day (March 21-25) Sonoma International Film Festival features more than 90 films, including independent features, documentaries, world cinema, and short films. All films are shown within walking distance of Sonoma’s historic plaza. Visit the website to see the schedule and for ticket information. 

Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival, Bodega Bay

On April 14 and 15, the 45th annual Fisherman’s Festival takes place at Westside Park. Here you’ll find seafood, wine, beer, food trucks, live music, a pet parade, crafts, a kid zone, and a wooden-boat challenge. Since 1973, this event has celebrated the kickoff of salmon season with a blessing of the fleet. Check out the website for ticket price information.

Annual Great Petaluma Chili Cook-Off, Salsa, and Beer Tasting, Petaluma

You had us at chili. And salsa. And beer. On May 19, 40 chili teams, 20 breweries, and 15 salsa teams congregate at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds (rain or shine). And this event raises funds for Cinnabar Theater Young Rep. Visit the official website to learn more.

Healdsburg Art, Food, and Wine, Healdsburg

International art, local art, food, wine and a good cause? (Proceeds benefit the Healdsburg Center for the Arts.) We’re in! The festivities and activities take place on June 14-16. Visit the website for ticket information and for more details.

San Francisco

San Francisco International Film Festival

Get ready for some fantastic flicks from April 4-17 at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the longest-running film festival in the Americas. From marquee premieres to artist talks and live performances, this festival has something for everyone. Visit its website for the program and ticket information.

San Francisco International Beer Festival

On April 21, take a tour of the world; the world of beer! The 35th annual San Francisco International Beer Festival brings brews and brewers from all over the world to the city. You can choose your own adventure: General admission tickets are $75, while a “VIP Brewmaster” ticket will set you back $150. San Francisco’s oldest beer bash will feature 100-plus brewers, complimentary food, live music, and more 

Bay to Breakers

On May 20, hordes of people will take to the streets of San Francisco — to run and then some. Participants will run up Hayes Street, along the Panhandle, and through Golden Gate Park. The 12-kilometer race finishes at the Great Highway along Ocean Beach. Since 1912, over 2 million costumed runners and walkers have completed this journey. Visit the website for registration information.

Carnaval San Francisco

This year, the street festival/parade/party celebrates its 40th year. This two-day festival is held on May 26 and 27 on Harrison Street between 16th Street and 24th Street. Carnaval features global cuisine, international music, dancing, floats, performers, arts, crafts, and more. 

Lake Tahoe

Alpine Meadows Spring Music Series, Alpine Meadows

Music to our ears! From March 24 to April 22, this spring series returns with five free music-filled weekends. Check out this website to learn more about the scheduled performers.

35th Annual Snow Golf Tournament,  Alpine Meadows

On April 14, the snow tournament returns for its 35th year. This is the only top-to-bottom snow golf course. Tee time is 9 a.m., and the course starts at the top of Summit Express Chair, with a prize for the best costume. Registration is free.

Cushing Crossing, Olympic Valley

On April 28, come watch the thrills and spills at this spring resort ritual; every year celebrity judges are invited to the skiing and snowboarding spectacle. And, if you are brave enough, registration is only $20. Learn more on the official website.

Opening Day at the Lake, West Shore

On Memorial Day weekend (Friday May 26 through Monday May 29), Lake Tahoe will be ready to celebrate spring. From deck parties to live music to museums summer tours — there is no lack of activities. Visit the official website to learn more.

Source: Pacific Union / Photo Credit: Visit Marin