California festivals and fairs
May the tastiest crab win the raceThis oceanfront community recognizes its commercial fishing industry with the 40th annual World Championship Crab Races and Crab Feed from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 20 at Del Norte County Fairgrounds. Anyone can rent a crustacean for $1 (or bring your own) and pay a $2 entry fee to compete. The event also includes a crab feed and a craft show featuring Del Norte County artisans. Free; the full crab dinner is $15; for half, $8. (800) 343-8300, https://www.northerncalifornia.net .
Test the versatility of an avocadoOn April 17, professional and amateur chefs put favorite recipes to the test at the 19th annual Fall- brook Avocado Festival. Arts and crafts, games, food, a produce market and contests — including for the best guacamole, best salsa and most creative avocado dish — liven up Main Street 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. (760) 728-5845, https://www.fallbrookchamber.com .
Make a date for the county fairThe Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival celebrates the Coachella Valley’s harvest Feb. 18-27. Attractions include a parade (Feb. 21), a nightly Arabian Nights Pageant, carnival rides, livestock and agricultural exhibits — including camel milking — as well as ostrich and camel races. Fair admission $7; $6 seniors; $5 children 5-12. (800) 811-FAIR (811-3247), https://www.datefest.org .
Old West lives on in Whiskey FlatThis former mining town was once called Whiskey Flat, and its original moniker is revived each year during Whiskey Flat Days, this year from Feb. 18-21. The 50th-annual event includes a parade Feb. 20, panning for gold, a rodeo, frog jumping contests and carnival rides. New this year is an encampment featuring Old West reenactments. Free. In the Lake Isabella recreation area and downtown Kernville. (760) 376-2629, https://www.kernvillechamber.org .
Doing their strawberry bestThe 22nd annual Strawberry Festival, May 14-15, will celebrate one of its most important crops with music, food, children’s activities and fine arts and crafts by more than 300 artists. 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. both days at Oxnard College’s Strawberry Meadows, 3250 S. Rose Ave. $12; $8 military and seniors; $5 ages 5-12. (888) 288-9242, https://www.strawberry-fest.org .
Old Town marks May 5 with a fiestaCinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over French soldiers on May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. April 30-May 1, the annual Old Town Fiesta marks the event with a cornucopia of Latino arts, culture and history at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Music and entertainment on five stages, food and other activities will take place in a 22-block area. Free. (619) 296-3236, https://www.fiestacincodemayo.com .
Usher in the Year of the RoosterThe patter of 200 feet beneath the Golden Dragon will reverberate along Market Street during celebrations for the Year of the Rooster, Feb. 5-20. Festivities begin with the Flower Fair, Feb. 5-6. The finale is the parade, at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 19, which steps off from Market and Second streets and ends at Columbus Avenue. Free. (415) 982-3071, https://www.chineseparade.com .
Central Valley is blossoming nicelyMarch is the best month to cruise the 60-mile Blossom Trail on a self-guided tour of Central Valley orchards. Sanger, one of the farming communities along the trail, will host the 17th annual Blossom Festival, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 5 on 7th Street downtown. Attractions include food, children’s activities, a classic car show and entertainment. Free. (559) 875-4575, https://www.sanger.org .
Sweet taste of Danish heritage
A Taste of Solvang, March 18-19, showcases the town’s Danish heritage with a dessert reception at the Veterans Memorial building from 7-9 p.m. March 18, followed by the Walking Smorgasbord on March 19, along a route to 30 bakeries, restaurants and candy stores. A weekend pass for $45 includes both events and a cheese-and-wine reception from 8-10 p.m. March 19. The smorgasbord alone is $25. (805) 688-6144, https://www.solvangusa.com .
Napa puts on a spread for mustardTiny wild mustard blooms that blanket the Napa Valley in winter are the centerpiece of the 10-week Napa Valley Mustard Festival now through April 9. Food, wine, art and entertainment are featured in a series of events that include food and wine tastings, art shows and photography contests. Free to $225 for a tasting dinner. (707) 944-1133, https://www.napavalley.com .
— Laurie K. Schenden