Balloons, surfing Santas and the wackiest parade ever for your weekend near L.A.

Kick back and watch balloons float in the desert sky at the Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival.
(Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival)

Hot air balloons, surfing Santas and a wacky parade can be part of your weekend.

Cathedral City

Colorful balloons paint the desert sky from sunrise to sunset at the Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival at the Cathedral City Heritage Commons Amphitheater. Watch the balloons glow at an outdoor concert on Nov. 22, a pancake breakfast on Nov. 24 or at free launches every morning. Nov. 23 events include balloon rides, food trucks, live music and kids games.

When: First balloons launch at 6 a.m. each day. Nov. 22 to 24.

Cost, info: Free admission; some events require tickets. Family friendly. No dogs. (760) 321-5154,

Arcadia to Los Angeles

Michael Schneider, an editor at Variety, started the Great Los Angeles Walk in 2006 to celebrate his 10th year as an Angeleno. His route changes yearly; this year’s runs 18 miles from Arcadia County Park through Pasadena, across the L.A. River and through Chinatown to Grand Park. Go at your own pace to meet new friends and visit landmarks along the way.


When: 9 a.m. Nov. 23

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Dogs OK at walkers’ discretion. (323) 356-2536,


Kids can learn about gardening, corn grinding and other agricultural practices at Fall in the Farm at the Pomona Fairplex. Also on the schedule are stick-horse races, olive oil tasting, music and crafts.

When: 9 a.m. Nov. 23

Cost, info: Free admission and parking at gate 17. Family friendly. Only service dogs permitted. (909) 865-4265,

Dana Point

Surfers, body boarders and stand-up paddleboarders conquer waves in Santa suits and other holiday garb at the ninth Surfing Santa contest. Kick back at Salt Creek Beach to watch the competitions benefiting Surfers Healing, a nonprofit that provides free surf camps for children with autism.


When: 8 a.m. Nov. 23 and 24

Cost, info: Free to watch. Family friendly. No dogs. (949) 240-2000,

Los Angeles

Find unusual greeting cards, clay creatures, hand-drawn maps of California and other goods at the Renegade Craft Fair at Los Angeles State Historic Park. Musicians and purveyors of tacos, popsicles and cookie dough-filled marshmallows will energize your shopping.

When: 11 a.m. Nov. 23 and 24

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Dogs OK. (312) 226-8654,


Expect eccentricities at the 42nd Occasional Pasadena Doo Dah Parade. Saxophone-playing Señor Groucho, Taco Car, Trashion Show and other floats, art cars and performers lead the parade around East Pasadena.

When: 11 a.m. Nov. 24

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Dogs OK. (626) 590-7596,

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