Baby, it’s hot outside.
So you wouldn’t necessarily believe that this Labor Day weekend also marks the unofficial end of summer — and, with that, the unofficial kickoff of the region’s fall festival season.
Autumn may not be in the air, but its spirit is on the streets, in the parks and in the community centers of many of the region’s towns and cities.
This weekend alone brings the Color the Skies festival back to Ripon and fall-flavored festivals in Newman and the Mother Lode — the latter of which just might be the place to escape some of that aforementioned valley heat.
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One of the bigger festivals in the region is the Ripon event. Normally, the skies over that city are colored by several hot air balloons; this year, however, those skies will get their color from kites. The event has been changed to a kite show because of construction at the Mistlin Sports Park in Ripon. While there will be two hot air balloons on display today, there won’t be any launches. Balloons are expected to return in 2014.
The following is a look at some of the larger festivals scheduled through the end of October.
NEWMAN FALL FESTIVAL – Through Sunday: Event features Mr. and Miss Newman Pageant, kids games, car show, carnival, food and craft vendors, and more. At Pioneer Park, Downtown Plaza, 1250 Tulare St.
COLOR THE SKIES KITE SHOW AND RUN – Today: Two hot air balloons will be on display at 6:30 a.m. before the Rise.Shine.Give.RUN. 5K, 10K and children’s fun runs begin at 8 a.m. Kite show begins at 10 a.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring kites, blankets and chairs. Also available are rides, games, carnival, big slide, bounce houses, jousting, food and more. Free. Proceeds benefit Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera. At Mistlin Sports Park, Ripon. Visit www.colortheskies.com. Note: Normally a hot air balloon festival, it’s scaled back this year to accommodate park construction. Balloon festival to return in 2014.
CEDAR CENTER ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL – Through Sunday: 41st annual festival features fine arts and crafts, entertainment by the band Home Grown, and jugglers Bonzai & Dre. Activities for children. Pancake breakfast 7:30 to 11 a.m. $6. Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cedar Center, 1225 Oak Circle, Arnold. Free.
GOLD RUSH DAY FAIRE – Today: Celebrate the history of Angels Camp with a full day of historical re-enactments, Wild West shows, vendors, live music and food. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Downtown Angels Camp. www.angelscampbusiness.com/events.
EDIBLE EXTRAVAGANZA – Thursday: Sample gourmet cuisine and beverages available in the greater Modesto area while listening to live music at Modesto Centre Plaza, 10th and K streets. 6 p.m. Benefits the Center for Human Services. $40 in advance, $50 at the door. (209) 526-1476.
SIERRA VIEW MUSIC FESTIVAL – Sept. 14: Wynonna and the Big Noise perform at the annual benefit concert and festival. 2-11 p.m. J-H Ranch, 12713 Sierra View, Oakdale. $35-$125. (209) 247-6069. tickets.sierraviewmusicfest.com.
DENAIR FARM AND FAMILY FESTIVAL – Sept. 14: More than 100 food and craft vendors, as well as information booths, entertainment, charity fun run and more. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Downtown Denair. www.denairfestival.com.
ASSYRIAN FOOD FESTIVAL – Sept. 14-15: Authentic dinner, homemade pastries, Assyrian tea house, cultural display, live music and entertainment. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Assyrian Cultural Center, 3119 S. Central Ave., Ceres. $14-$17. (209) 480-9293.
ASSYRIAN CHALDEAN FOOD FEST – Sept. 14-15: Ethnic Mediterranean food, folkloric dancing, kids games and raffle ticket drawing. Noon to 7 p.m. St. Matthew Catholic Church, 3005 Sixth St., Ceres. (209) 541-1660.
GREEK FOOD FESTIVAL – Sept. 21-22: Greek dinner, homemade pastries, church tours, agora (marketplace), coffeehouse with live Greek music and entertainment. Noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 313 Tokay Ave., Modesto. $14 presale, $17 at the door; age 12 and under $8.50. (209) 522-7694.
MO-PRIDE FESTIVAL – Sept. 21: Supporting the gay, lesbian and transgender community. Food, entertainment, beer and wine garden, vendors, Recover Art Project, kids zone and teen garden. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Graceada Park, Modesto. (209) 605-9420.
HUGHSON HARVEST FESTIVAL – Sept. 21-22: Food, booths, chili cook-off, entertainment, children’s play area, alumni baseball and football games, street dance, car show, displays and exhibits. Sunday includes Walk for Love. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Free. http://hughsonharvestfestival.com.
49ER FESTIVAL & CHILI COOK-OFF – Sept. 21: Kids activities, parade, live entertainment, auctions, more. Also, annual chili cook-off with tastings. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., downtown Groveland. www.49erfestival.blogspot.com.
MODESTO INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE FESTIVAL – Sept. 14-22: Nine-day event includes exhibits and guided tours in downtown Modesto, including an architecture photo exhibit at the McHenry Museum, poetry, art exhibit and more. World premiere of the film “Modesto Modernism” on Sept. 20 at the State Theatre, 1307 J St., 7 p.m. For more information and a full schedule, see www. modestoarchfest.com.
SIERRA APPLE FESTIVAL – Sept. 28: Family activities including music, silent auction, yard sale, crafts, cake walk, games and activities and more. Mother Lode Fairgrounds, Sonora. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (209) 206-0551.
MODESTO OKTOBERFEST – Oct. 4: Beer and wine tasting, German food, live entertainment and a midway. Presented by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce. John Thurman Field, 601 Neece Drive, Modesto. 5:30 to 10 p.m. $25 in advance, $30 at the door. (209) 577-5757 or www.modchamber.org.
CALAVERAS GRAPE STOMP & GOLD RUSH STREET FAIRE – Oct. 5: 20th anniversary of the event will honor past and present volunteers. Celebrate the harvest and wine industry of Calaveras County by stomping a few pounds of grapes, or just watch others do so. Gold Rush Street Faire has vendors, arts and crafts, antiques, collectibles and food booths. 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Murphys Park. www.calaverasgrapestomp.com.
INTERNATIONAL HERITAGE FESTIVAL – Oct. 5: Family-oriented event showcases the many cultures of the area through music and dance, with special activities for kids, cultural booths, food booths and more. Modesto Junior College East Campus. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. (209) 521-3852.
HARVEST FESTIFALL – Oct. 12-13: Pumpkin drop, country crafts, demonstrations and music in Columbia, where the streets will be decorated for the harvest season. Columbia State Historic Park. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (209) 536-1672 or www.columbiacalifornia.com.
RIVERBANK CHEESE & WINE EXPOSITION – Oct. 12-13: Riverbank Rotary Club presents arts and crafts vendors, musical entertainment, and wine and cheese tasting. Downtown Riverbank. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free; wine tastings are $25 advance, $30 at the door. (209) 863-9600 or www.riverbankcheeseandwine.org.
HARVEST FESTIVAL – Oct. 19: Pumpkin patch, pumpkin decorating and carving, apple pies, pumpkin pies, apple cider, empanadas, kettle corn, live local music, food, craft vendors, treasure hunt with prizes awarded, bounce house, art show, meet the artist, fashion show, clothing and jewelry. 10th Street, downtown Modesto. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. (209) 529-9303.
ALL HALLOWS FANTASY FAIRE – Oct. 18-20: Celtic-inspired Halloween celebration with giants, jugglers, magicians, fire eaters and more. A fantasy world will be created for the event, with costumed characters, live entertainment, food, vendors. 7 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. $12 adults, $5 children ages 6-12; free for age 5 and under. A weekend pass is $30. www.allhallowsfaire.com.
BLOOMINGCAMP RANCH OKTOBERFEST – Oct. 19-20: Family event includes handmade crafts, food, petting zoo, wagon rides and face painting, more. 10528 E. Highway 120, Oakdale. 9 a.m. (209) 848-0461.
OAKDALE CLIMBERS FESTIVAL – Oct. 25-27: The history of climbing told by climbers. Featuring films, authors, artists and more. $25 preregistration, $35 at the door. Oakdale Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave. See climb.oakdalecity.com for schedule.