May brings spring’s cascade of festivals and fairs across the Modesto and Mother Lode regions, a torrent of fun that includes one weekend with so many options, it will be hard to chose where to land.
Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22, packs a festival punch with family pleasers all over the local map, including Modesto’s Family Cycling Festival and Criterium, the Calaveras County Fair (complete with its Frog Jumping Jubilee), Oakdale’s signature Chocolate Festival, and more.
Make sure there’s plenty of gas in your tank that weekend.
The rest of the month also holds plenty of community and cultural events, as well as a foamy celebration of Valley brews. Missing from the list below is Cafe Shalom at Congregation Beth Shalom, but fear not, that festival simply has been moved to June, according to CBS Rabbi Shalom Bochner.
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A look at some of the major festivals and fairs vying for your May days:
▪ Turlock Tamale Festival – May 1: New event to benefit Veterans of Foreign War Post 5059. Food, beer garden, bands, dancers, artists and vendors. Children’s activities and tamale eating competition also planned. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Regal Cinema Shopping Center, 2323 W. Main St., Turlock. Free. 209-668-1010.
▪ Age with Movement Celebration – May 6: Walks, aerobics, tai chi, senior zumba, music, demonstrations to celebrate Older Americans Month. Community booths, pet parade, bingo and more also planned. 8 a.m.-1 p.m East La Loma Park, 2001 Edgebrook Drive, Modesto. Free. www.healthyagingassociation.org.
▪ Cultural Extravaganza Fiesta – May 7: Variety of cultures celebrated with family activities, art exhibits, face painting, bounce houses, guest speakers, music, refreshments and community resource booths. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mellis Park, 601 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Modesto. Also, a Mother’s Day celebration will be held inside King-Kennedy Memorial Center from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 209-341-2951.
▪ Cinco de Mayo Parade – May 7: 11 a.m.-1 p.m Crows Landing Road from Olivero Road to Glenn Avenue with floats featuring local businesses, youth groups, horses and more. free. 209-604-4167.
The Mother Lode Round-up’s Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse is a community volunteer organization.
▪ Ceres Street Faire – May 7-8: Live entertainment, car and truck show, food booths, crafts and collectibles, exhibits and more. Parade on Saturday. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Downtown Ceres. Free. www.ceresstreetfaire.org.
▪ Mother Lode Round-Up – May 7-8: 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 rodeo at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds begins 2 p.m. both days. Sunday will include a Mother’s Day Brunch. www.motherloderoundup.com.
▪ Central Valley Brewfest – May 14: Featuring more than 125 beers to sample, food trucks on site, music by Flying Blind, along with art from Art Expressions of San Joaquin. This is a 21-and-older event. Noon-5 p.m. Stanislaus County Fairground, 900 N. Broadway, Turlock. $35 advanced; $45 door; $15 for designated drivers. www.cvbrewfest.com.
▪ Waterford Western Heritage Day – May 14: Waterford celebrates history with parade, pony rides, train rides, music, vendors and food. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Downtown Waterford. Free. 209-874-1028.
▪ Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee – May 19-22: Annual jumping frog competition and county fair with food, exhibits, entertainment, rodeo, destruction derby, livestock, arena events, vendor booths and more. Little Texas performs Friday. 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. $7-$15. www.frogtown.org.
▪ Diggins Tent Town 1852 – May 19-22: Columbia State Historic Park’s annual living history event with more that 150 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/Columbia.
The Oakdale Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Chocolate Festival, which last year raised more $16,000 for businesses and nonprofit groups, according to the festival website.
▪ Family Cycling Festival and Criterium – May 21: 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. Criterium runs in conjunction with the festival and offers a variety of race categories from beginner and child to professional. Races begin and end at the corner of 13th and I streets at 8 a.m. 209-605-7315.
▪ Twain Harte A La Carte – May 21: Sip wine and enjoy gourmet food in downtown Twain Harte at this annual event benefiting the community projects of Soroptimist of Twain Harte. Silent auction, live auction, music, raffle and more. Meadow Plaza, 23000 Meadow Lane. 5-7 p.m. $35. Call 209-928-1616.
▪ Oakdale Chocolate Festival – May 21-22: Annual festival with arts and crafts, Chocolate Avenue, food, fun runs, car show, kids activities, vendors, entertainment and more. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Wood Park, Highways 120 and 108, Oakdale. Tickets $4 advance, $5-$6 at the door; free ages 12 and under. www.oakdalechamber.com.
▪ Art & Wine Festival – May 28: Artists present a variety of wares while winemakers offer a taste of the region. Food and entertainment also planned. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mariposa County Courthouse lawn, 5088 Bullion St., Mariposa. mariposarotary.org.
▪ Spring Peddlers Faire – May 28-29: More than 60 booths of antiques, collectibles, handcrafted items, foods, vintage jewelry and more. The Volunteer Fire Department serves local beers and a variety of home-made food. Lion’s Club holds a pancake breakfast both days from 8-11 a.m. Faire is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. both days. Free. Downtown Arnold. www.gocalaveras.com.