Gas up the tank and get ready to hit the road connecting Modesto and the Mother Lode next weekend to partake in the region’s festival riches.
The third weekend in May traditionally brings some of the biggest community celebrations, leaving festivalgoers in a quandary over which to hit and which to miss.
But, really, if you start early and head out often, you could revel in all the events May 18-21 has in store. The annual ode to Mark Twain’s frog-jumping tale kicks off on Thursday in Calaveras County, for example, as do the annual living-history re-creations at Columbia State Historic Park.
Split those between Thursday and Friday and you can celebrate cycling in Modesto on Saturday, then all things chocolate in Oakdale on Sunday.
Easy, right? Here’s a closer look at the events coming at you:
Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee – May 18-21: The annual jumping frog competition and county fair brings food, exhibits, entertainment, a rodeo, destruction derby, livestock, arena events, vendor booths and more. Country singer Ned LeDoux performs Friday at 8 p.m. The festival’s hours are 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, 8 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds, 2465 Gun Club Road, Angels Camp. Admission is $8-$13. See www.frogtown.org for more.
Diggins Tent Town 1852 – May 18-21: Columbia State Historic Park’s annual living-history event features a host of costumed volunteers re-enacting life in an 1850s mining camp. Visitors experience the events and environment a camp as it’s re-created in detail from the clothing, food and daily tasks to entertainment. Food, drink and other items will be available for purchase. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily and admission is $7, $2 for ages 12 and under. www.parks.ca.gov.
Oakdale Chocolate Festival – May 20-21: Immerse yourself in all things chocolate at this annual festival in Oakdale. There will be arts and crafts, a Chocolate Avenue, food, fun runs, a car show, kids activities, vendors, entertainment and more. Hours for the two-day event are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at Wood Park, Highways 120 and 108, Oakdale. Tickets are $4 advance, $5-$6 at the gate; free for ages 12 and under. www.oakdalechamber.com.
Family Cycling Festival and Criterium – May 20: Two-wheel fun is feted at the downtown Modesto cycling fest. Free children’s bike helmets will be given and there will be bounce houses, rock climbing, vendor booths, BMX bike demos, races and more at the festival from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on I Street, between 10th and 12th streets. Admission is 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.