Free this weekend? You can choose your perfect pumpkin, feast on Japanese street food and walk for HIV/AIDS awareness in Southern California.
Throughout Santa Ynez Valley
Six wine-centric towns host events during the four-day Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley, an excuse to spend the weekend in wine country. Highlights include the Solvang Grape Stomp, the family-friendly Los Alamos Day in the Country festival, and cooking classes in Ballard, Buellton and Santa Ynez.
When: Oct. 17-20. Check website for event dates and times.
Cost, info: Events $25-$150. Refer to event websites for policies on children and pets. Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley
Bring an appetite for sushi, ramen and Japanese fried chicken to the 10th OC Japan Fair at the OC Fair and Event Center. Anime fans can hang at the cosplay show on Saturday, while Mario Kart experts can play in a gaming tournament all weekend. Other entertainment includes performances by Japanese artists and cultural demonstrations on sake, calligraphy and kimonos.
When: 5 p.m. Oct. 18, noon Oct. 19, 10 a.m. Oct. 20
Cost, info: $8, or free for children 6 and younger and adults 65 and older. Family friendly. Only service dogs permitted. OC Japan Fair
Explore the Helena Modjeska Historic House for free in celebration of the actress’ birthday. The tour includes Shakespearean performances, samples of Modjeska’s preferred marshmallow candies and tales about her journey from Poland to California in the late 1800s. Registration by phone required.
When: Noon Oct. 19
Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. No dogs. (949) 923-2230
The 25th Pumpkin Festival at Brookside Park has a pumpkin patch, fall crafts, carnival games, food trucks, and interactive performances by local dancers and musical groups. Proceeds benefit the Kidspace Children’s Museum, which offers half-price museum admission for $7 per person during the event.
When: 9:30 a.m. Oct. 19 and 20
Cost, info: Free admission to the festival; tickets for food and activities cost $1 each. Family friendly. No dogs. Pumpkin Festival
Walk to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS at the 35th AIDS Walk Los Angeles. The morning begins in front of City Hall with an aerobic warmup and a ceremony featuring activists, celebrities and musical performers. Celebrate the end of the four-mile walk with live music, food trucks and free ice cream back at the starting point.
When: 9 a.m. Oct. 20
Cost, info: Free participation; donations can be made online or at the event. Family friendly. Dogs OK, but pet owners should be mindful of potentially hot asphalt. AIDS Walk Los Angeles