The Bay Area is a melting pot of traditions, cultures, and hobbies — which makes for a dynamic slate of festivals throughout the year. Whether tofu or garlic is your thing or flying kites is your passion, you’ll find a festival to scratch that niche itch somewhere this summer in San Francisco, Oakland, or elsewhere in the Bay Area. So gear up, go out, and enjoy a zucchini fry or two. After all they’re only available once a year.
June 2: Union Street Festival
As its name implies, the Union Street Festival takes place on Union Street and features arts and crafts exhibitors, food vendors, and community groups. The festivities takes place over 5 blocks with each block showcasing music from different genres, including jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, and local bands.
June 16-17: North Beach Festival
Colloquially known as San Francisco's’ Little Italy, the historic North Beach District has lots of local Italian heritage. The North Beach Festival has food, art, street painting, and a blessing of the animals. The event is at Grant and Columbus avenues and admission is free.
June 24: San Francisco’s 241st Birthday Celebration
Walk the historic trail of Presidio, the passage that led the first settlers to San Francisco. There will be a ceremony, hands-on learning experiences, and music to celebrate San Francisco’s 242nd birthday. The event takes place at 103 Montgomery St. and admission is free.
June 30: Soy and Tofu Festival
Make a stop in Japantown and get ready to enjoy all things soy and tofu. The festival will feature Asian American-themed performances, soy and tofu food samplings, interactive games, and educational seminars on the uses of soy. Admission is $10 in advance, or $15 at the door.
July 14-15: 'ACGA' Clay and Glass Festival in Palo Alto
Marvel at glass art demos, learn how to make things out of clay, and buy an art piece or two at the 'ACGA' Clay and Glass Festival. Located in the St. Francis Terrace neighborhood, the festival is celebrating its 26th year. The event will take place the Palo Alto Art Center; admission is free.
July 14-15: Downtown Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival
For the 39th year, Downtown Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival takes place in the heart of downtown in North Los Altos. Local artists and bands will be there, so enjoy a glass of red or white. The event takes place on Main and State Streets, and throughout the Downtown triangle. Admission is free.
July 14-18: The Salsa Festival on Fillmore
Dance under the stars with hundreds of Fillmore residents in the Western Addition area during the Fillmore Salsa Festival. For those wanting to join in the fun but unsure how, there are salsa dance lessons every night. The event is located at the Fillmore Center Plaza and admission is free.
July 27-29: Gilroy Garlic Festival
Join the small city of Gilroy at the annual Garlic Festival. Grab a scoop of garlic ice cream on the way to take a picture with Miss Gilroy Garlic herself. There will be plenty of vendors to visit (food, art, crafts, etc.) and live music. Admission starts at $20.
July 28: Art & Soul: Oakland
Learn what is artistically unique to Downtown Oakland at the Art and Soul festival. Local bands and national recording artists, street performers, turf dance battles, and blues and gospel singers will be present at the festival. The event is located at 14th Street & Broadway; admission is $15 for adults and free for children 12 & under.
July 28-29: Berkeley Kite Festival
Where North Berkeley touches the Bay may be a bit chilly and windy, but it’s a great spot to fly a kite. Berkeley Kite Festival attandees can marvel at the giant creature kite display or watch a kite-flying team from Japan take over the skies. The event takes place at Spinnaker Way and admission is free.
August 4-5: Nihonmachi Street Fair
There is something for everybody at one of Japantown’s largest festivals of the year. The Nihonmachi’s Street Fair has seven sections to explore: the Art and Soul of Jtown, Asian Artisans, the Co-Ed Adult Basketball Tournament, Children’s World, Doggie World, Food Fest, and Sounds of Thunder. The event will take place on Post Street between Laguna and Fillmore streets, and admission is free.
August 18-19: Hayward Zucchini Festival
Located just outside Hayward’s agricultural district in Mt. Eden, the Hayward Zucchini Festival is fun for farmers and consumers alike. See how big zucchinis can get at the growing contest, do some arts and crafts, or try some zuke fries. The event is located at Kennedy Park and admission is $10.
August 18-19: Oakland Chinatown Streetfest
It’s the Year of the Rooster at the Oakland Chinatown Streetfest. More than 200 booths lining the streets in Chinatown feature food and unique products. This annual fest celebrates Oakland’s Chinese community and is located on 7th to 11th streets and from Broadway to Harrison Street. Admission is free.
September 9 : Oakland Pride Parade & Festival
Celebrating Oakland's LGBTQ community, Oakland Pride is a day of non-stop celebration, Starting at 10:30, a parade starts at Broadway & 14th Street (Oakland City Hall) and ends at Broadway & 20th Street (Oakland Pride Main Entrance.) The main festival begins at 11. From there, visitors can visit booths that showcase food, organizations, and and other programs. General admission is $10 while children under 12 pay $5.