We had April showers and now May will flower with a bounty of community celebrations to keep spring blooming.
With cultural events and festivals feting everything from food to butterflies to growing old gracefully to beer, wine and “Star Wars,” there’s plenty vying for your attention during May’s days.
One of the busiest weekends on the calendar carries some of the most popular events in the greater Modesto and Mother Lode region – May 20-21 brings celebrations of chocolate, jumping frogs, cycling, wine and historic 1850s mining.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the major events set for this month:
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Merced County Spring Fair – May 3-7: Live music, animal attractions, destruction derby, bull riding, truck and tractor pulls, kids activities, midway, food and more return to the annual expo held at the Merced County Spring Fairgrounds, 403 F St. in Los Banos. $3-$9; arena events have their own tickets prices. Hours vary by day. www.co.merced.ca.us or 209-826-5166.
Star Wars Day – May 4: Mark the 40th anniversary of Modesto native George Lucas’ phenom film “Star Wars” with live music, cosplayers and fan groups, saber battles and a laser light show. There also will be a special screening of the “Star Wars” spoof “Spaceballs” at Brenden Theatres. The festival runs from 6-9 p.m. at Tenth Street Plaza in downtown Modesto.
Age with Movement Celebration – May 5: Walks, aerobics, tai chi, senior Zumba, music, demonstrations and more usher in Older Americans Month. There will be community booths, a pet parade, bingo and more from 8 a.m.-noon. East La Loma Park, 2001 Edgebrook Drive, Modesto. Free. www.healthyagingassociation.org.
Mariposa Butterfly Festival – May 5-7: The annual event features butterfly releases, a parade, children’s activities, art, competitions, entertainment and more. The weekend begins with the Taste of Mariposa at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday; festival runs 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday in downtown Mariposa, Highway 140 at Highway 149. www.mariposabutterflyfestival.net.
Ceres Street Faire – May 6-7: Live entertainment, a car and truck show, food booths, crafts and collectibles, exhibits and more are planned at this community event. A parade on Saturday begins at 10 a.m. Festival runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Downtown Ceres. Free. www.ceresstreetfaire.org.
Cinco de Mayo Parade – May 6: South Modesto Businesses United presents this annual parade on Crows Landing Road, spanning from Olivero Road to Glenn Avenue with floats featuring local businesses, youth groups, horses and more. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. 209-604-4167.
Hot Copper Show – May 6: Annual Lake Tulloch Lions Club hot rod and custom car show promises food, music, vendors and face painting for children. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Copper Town Square on Highway 4. Free. www.hotcoppercarshow.com.
Cafe Shalom – May 7: Jewish food and cultural celebration with food, music, bake sale, gift shop, more. New this year will be Ladino food representing the ancient Jewish heritage of Spain and Portugal. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Congregation Beth Shalom, 1705 Sherwood Ave., Modesto. $18 advance, $20 at the door; $10 age 5-12, free under age 5. www.cbsmodesto.org.
Mother Lode Round-Up – May 13-14: Parade and Rodeo sponsored by the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse. Saturday will feature a 10 a.m. parade in historic downtown Sonora on Washington Street. Saturday and Sunday brings the rodeo to the Mother Lode Fairgrounds beginning at 2 p.m. both days. Sunday will include a $7 Mother’s Day Brunch from 8 a.m. to noon. Rodeo tickets are $7-$18. www.motherloderoundup.com.
Central Valley Brewfest – May 13: Celebrate by sampling more than 150 beers at this annual event. There will be food trucks on site and live music by Wonder Bread 5, along with art from Art Expressions of San Joaquin. New this year will be an appearance by the Stella Artois Airstream. This is a 21-and-older event. Noon-5 p.m. Stanislaus County Fairground, 900 N. Broadway, Turlock. $35 advance, $40 at the door; $15 for designated drivers. www.cvbrewfest.com.
The Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee is one of the longest-running events in California, with roots dating back to 1893 when it was held in Copperopolis.
Waterford Western Heritage Day – May 13: Waterford celebrates its history with a community parade, pony rides, train rides, music, vendors and food from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. in downtown Waterford. Free. 209-874-1028.
Amgen Tour of California Lifestyle Festival – May 15: Race-day activities for bicycle race spectators, more than 40 booths, Community Bike Ride on Amgen course after the race and more. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. I Street between 10th and 11th streets..
Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee – May 18-21: Annual jumping frog competition and county fair with food, exhibits, entertainment, rodeo, destruction derby, livestock, arena events, vendor booths and more. Country singer Ned LeDoux performs Friday at 8 p.m. Festival hours 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, 8 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday. Calaveras County Fairgrounds, 2465 Gun Club Road, Angels Camp. $8-$13. www.frogtown.org.
Diggins Tent Town 1852 – May 18-21: Columbia State Historic Park’s annual living-history event features a host of costumed volunteers. Visitors experience the events and environment of an 1850s mining camp re-created in detail from the clothing, food and tasks to entertainment. Food, drink and other items for purchase. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. $7, $2 age 12 and under. www.parks.ca.gov.
Oakdale Chocolate Festival – May 20-21: Fete all things chocolate at this annual festival with arts and crafts, Chocolate Avenue, food, fun runs, a car show, kids activities, vendors, entertainment and more. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at Wood Park, Highways 120 and 108, Oakdale. Tickets $4 advance, $5-$6 at the gate; free ages 12 and under. www.oakdalechamber.com.
Family Cycling Festival and Criterium – May 20: Downtown Modesto’s cycling fest features free children’s bike helmets, bounce houses, rock climbing, vendor booths, BMX bike demos, races and more. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. I Street, between 10th and 12th streets. Free. 209-571-5193. The Criterium runs in conjunction with the festival and offers a variety of race categories. Criterium races begin and end at the corner of 13th and I streets at 7:30 a.m. 209-605-7315.
Twain Harte A La Carte – May 20: Sip wine and enjoy gourmet food in downtown Twain Harte at this annual event benefiting the community projects of Soroptimist of Twain Harte. There will be a silent auction, live auction, music, raffle and more. Meadow Plaza, 23000 Meadow Lane. 5-7 p.m. $40. Call www.twainhartesoroptimist.org.
Mariposa Art & Wine Festival – May 27: Artists present a variety of wares while winemakers offer a taste of the region. Food and entertainment also planned. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mariposa County Courthouse lawn, 5088 Bullion St., Mariposa. www.mariposarotary.org.
Spring Peddlers Faire – May 27-28: Stroll through the Mother Lode community of Arnold where you’ll find antiques, collectibles, handcrafted items, food, vintage jewelry and more. The event is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. both days. Free. Downtown Arnold. www.gocalaveras.com.