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Mar 24, 2010 08:49 AM

Food Festivals? [2010]

I attended the Chocolate Salon last weekend and know the Cherry Blossom Festival is coming up in Japantown next month.

I always seem to find out about the food festivals a few days beforehand and would like to plan for them much more in advance.

What festivals are coming up this Spring, Summer, and possibly Fall?

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  1. This is a few days beforehand, but the cheese festival is in Petaluma this weekend. We haven't gone yet, but it looks fun.

    1. The Greek festival at Annunciation in Oakland is the week before Mother's Day.

      The Armenian festival at St. Vartan in Oakland is the first weekend in October.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        The Greek Festivals are a definate the atmosphere is always amazing.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I keep hearing the advert on the's next weekend the 14,15,16.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Yes, I misspoke, the festival in Oakland is always the weekend AFTER Mother's Day.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              The Oakland Greek Festival is on through tomorrow.

              Oakland Greek Festival
              4700 Lincoln Ave, Oakland, CA 94602

            2. Eat Real Festival in Oakland - August 27-29.

              I had tons of fun last year. The theme of this food fest is street food. They gathered many Bay Area street food carts and trucks and they each served their specialty. On hand were local breweries that hosted the Beer Garden. They also had a few culinary exhibitions like how to break down a pig. And inside was a farmers market from local farms. Lines were long but there was sooo much variety that the crowds were well dispersed.

              If you want more chocolate there's the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival on Sept 11th. Interesting but did not return after the first year. Some of the chocolate dishes seemed forced. An Indian restaurant was there and served roti with chocolate sauce... nothing special. Just their version of a chocolate crepe, no?

              1 Reply
              1. Here are some local BBQ events scheduled for this summer:

                May 8: (KCBS) 1st Annual Morgan Hill No Bull BBQ Cookoff - Morgan Hill
                June 5: (KCBS) 2nd Annual Smokin in the Oaks BBQ Championship - Penn Valley
                July 3: (KCBS) 2nd Annual Way Out West BBQ Championship - Stockton (coincides with Taste of San Joaquin)
                Aug 14-15: (KCBS) 7th Annual West Coast BBQ Championships - Fairfield (coincides with their Tomato Festival)
                Aug 28: (KCBS) 2nd Annual Konocti Vista Casino's Smokin' on the Water - Clearlake

                Morgan Hill, Pen Valley, and Clearlake already have People's Choice categories scheduled, where the public can purchase sample tickets and vote for their favorites. Stockton and Fairfield are still pending the PC categories, but there will be some BBQ vendors present regardless.

                West Coast Cafe
                466 San Mateo Ave, San Bruno, CA 94066

                19 Replies
                1. re: Civil Bear

                  this list is awesome. 2nd on the Greek fest in Oakland, you can get a lot of food cooked by Greek grandmothers there for a very reasonable price compared to other festivals.

                  And the Eat Real Festival was just amazing last year. I can't wait for it to come around again this summer.

                  1. re: nicedragonboy

                    I'm really bummed that I didn't go to the Eat Real Festival last year. I had gone to the SF Street Food Festival the previous week, which was overcrowded and somewhat unpleasant, and I thought that the Eat Real Fest would be similar.

                    1. re: betterbeheaven

                      The Eat Real people deserve credit for adjusting from one week to the next. They kept every item to $5 bucks and well organized in Oakland compared to the SF event.

                      Any way here's a thread that lists past food festivals in the Bay Area:

                      1. re: betterbeheaven

                        That's precisely what ALMOST kept me from going. I was just flabbergasted at the difference between the two events. Though, I think the venue certainly had a great deal to do with it. Jack London Square was just a perfect staging ground for the event.

                        Jack London Square
                        70 Washington St # 207, Oakland, CA

                        1. re: nicedragonboy

                          Absolutely agree! SF really lacks good open space to hosts big events... and if they do I foresee many permit issues and expensive fees.

                          Such a shame as SF is such a huge food town! We have a few but they are pricey in my opinion. I envy the county fair cook offs and seasonal produce festivals you find in suburbia.

                          1. re: Keesey

                            To those who had a poor experience at the SF Street Food Fest, this summer promises to be larger and more prepared for the crowds- with more than 4 blocks of space. With barely any marketing done last year, save for a few posters, the festival was overwhelmed by such a positive turnout. Stay tuned for a great time this August!

                    2. re: Civil Bear

                      Civil Bear -
                      Are you judging any of these events? I am signed up for the KCBS seminar 4/10 and if I like it would be interested in knowing possible next steps. If you are, and you want to share tips or offer any advice, please let me know how we could exchange emails offboard. Goes for anyone else who has gone through the training and continued on. Thanks, looking forward to the 10th.

                      1. re: tomatoaday

                        I'll be competing at those events. You are sure to have a blast at the class, an they will likely have some sign-up rosters at that time. The other thing to do is to visit the individual event websites and sign-up there. Here is a link to most of the California events this year:


                        1. re: Civil Bear

                          Thanks for the link. I'm looking forward to the training - I figured it may be the best route to good Q in California. Good luck in your competitions!

                        2. re: tomatoaday

                          I'm in Rio Rancho right now to judge a KCBS contest (north of ABQ), if you want to contact me. High winds approaching 50 miles per hr blew over Pork & Brew tents and some rigs yesterday. It's only 27 degrees now, wonder how they keep the temps up for smoking. Teams have been cooking overnight and sleeping outside, I feel for them. Will be interesting to try their cooking today.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, You're a better judge than I am Melanie Wong.

                            1. re: wolfe

                              I keep wondering when I'll see you in the judges' tent!

                              It was 41 degrees when I reported at 10am, and much colder than that when you factor in the wind chill factor. My fingers were too cold to manipulate my camera to take a picture of the smokers wrapped in insulated blankets. It was freakish cold snap, had been 60 degrees and sunny.

                              There was at least one SF Bay Area team represented, Big Pig BBQ from Oakley in Contra Costa County.

                              Photo from Friday night in rain, hail and high winds

                        3. re: Civil Bear

                          Here's my gallery of photos of the Morgan hill No Bull BBQ Cookoff, just before the first entries were turned in.
                          After the judging was completed, I walked back out the team area to see huge crowds and long lines for the People's Choice. Looks like it was a success for the organizers.


                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Well, you certainly captured all of the team set-ups, but where are the food porn photos?

                            1. re: ChinoWayne

                              No photos allowed of the bbq entries. Afterwards, i limited myself to a refreshing Italian ice from Rocco's. I was curious about the bacon-wrapped sausage slider from one booth, but I didn't buy any food tickets and really didn't want to stand in a long line for something I didn't feel like eating. Did anyone else go who has photos to share?

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                Glad I got a chance to bump in to you for a moment Melanie. Sorry that I was so busy with the PC, which ended up being a madhouse. We ended up with over 300 tickets in less than 2 hours! At least that helped dull the sting of our poor showing in the contest (34th out of 52).

                                I would have loved to hook you up with a slice of the sausage fattie. Maybe next time in Penn Valley...

                                1. re: Civil Bear

                                  The public turn out was unbelievable. The Rotary Club must've earned a lot of money from Peoples Choice. Hope this means there will be a 2nd annual next year.

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    We had to leave after the judging but read later that they ran out of tasting tickets and had almost twice the number of attendees than expected 10,000 vs 5,000 - a good sign for a repeat next year. A beautiful day, great venue - looking forward to the next event.

                          2. re: Civil Bear

                            The West Coast BBQ Championships in Fairfield has just been cancelled.

                          3. This website should give you lots of relevant info: