August 14, 2014

Festivals aplenty in region as summer starts to wind down

It may be hard to believe, but summer is nearing its unofficial end.

It may be hard to believe, but summer is nearing its unofficial end.

Next weekend marks the final 2014 seasonal festival blowout in the Modesto region, with a slew of fall festivals waiting in the wings for their debut in just two weeks on – that’s right – Labor Day weekend.

If you have more of a summer festival kind of bent, you’ll need to get out and catch the last seasonal gasp for outdoor celebrations. Here’s a look at next weekend’s biggest events:

Sierra View Music Festival – Aug. 23: This sixth annual fundraising event will feature music by John Waite, the Marshall Tucker Band and April Wine. Food and drink vendors will be on hand. The concert is held each year in remembrance of musician Heidi Brunk and raises funds for the Heidi Brunk Foundation and Music Scholarship. Gates open at 1 p.m., music starts at 1:30. Tickets are $40, with VIP options available. JH Ranch, 12713 Sierra View Road, Oakdale. (209) 247-6069 or see

X-Fest 2014 – Aug. 23: This huge outdoor music event annually shuts down the streets of downtown Modesto for several stages of music. Performers this year include Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, E40, Dave Mason, Dev, Moonshine Bandits, DJ-dance troupe the Dancetronauts, several local artists and more. The 21-and-older event begins at 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $30 for an express entrance pass, $200 VIP access. At the gate, tickets will be $30. For more, see

Smoke on the River – Aug. 23: A barbecue competition combines with a music festival for this event from the Ceres Chamber of Commerce. Live music will be performed by Remedy, Black Rose Band and Big Earl & the Cryin’ Shame. Contestants will compete in the Barbecue Challenge. Tickets are $10 advance, $15 at the gate. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuolumne River Lodge, 2429 River Road, Modesto. (209) 537-6651 or

Gold and Outdoor Festival – Aug. 23-24: Head for the hills for this event, which features gold panning, equipment demonstrations, prospecting seminars and more. A claim jumper detecting hunt for all ages will feature $3,000 in buried treasure and other prizes. Sponsored by the Gold Prospectors Association of America, the events runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds, 220 Southgate Drive, Sonora. $5 adults; children 10 and under free.

Newman Fall Festival Aug. 24-Sept. 1: This annual weeklong festival celebrates Newman heritage – and gets the ball rolling into the Labor Day fall festival kickoff. On various days, the event features kids’ games; live entertainment; food and craft vendors; a Soroptimist Fall Fashion Show; “An Evening Under the Stars” wine and cheese event; a community parade through downtown Newman; horseshoe, softball and volleyball tournaments; BMX bike races and more. Pioneer Park, 1250 Tulare St., Newman. (209) 451-2815.

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