The Central Coast is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after travel destinations in California, thanks to the booming wine industry. But did you know that the Central Coast hosts more than just wine festivals? Nestled between bustling hubs like San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo County offers a wide variety of culinary and cultural experiences for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. We’ve compiled a list of the Central Coast’s most unique festivals that you probably haven’t heard of and that you definitely don’t want to miss this summer.
1. The Central Coast Oyster Festival (July 9th)
The Central Coast is the proud home of the largest Oyster Festival on the West Coast. This year’s Fifth Annual Central Coast Oyster & Music Festival will be held on Saturday, July 9th in Avila Beach from 12-8 PM. With over 30 local food and retail vendors, live music, a shucking contest, and plenty of local wine and beer to taste, it is no surprise that this festival was ranked #4 by Fox News in the Top Ten Oyster Festivals in the U.S. There will even be an art installation created by the same company who started at Burning Man. All foodies are welcome and highly encouraged to attend this one of a kind event. For a shucking-good time, visit their website for details.
2. Festival Mozaic (July 13th-24th)
For 46 years, Festival Mozaic has been gracing the ears of Central Coasters with their beautiful programming which features jazz, opera, contemporary music, solo recitals, world music, chamber music, orchestral and choral music, and more. For two weeks this July, over 25 music events will be hosted in venues across the Central Coast for the public to enjoy. The festival is broken up into four series: Chamber, Orchestra, Fringe, and Notable Encounters. To find out which path suites your musical taste, visit their website for more information.
3. Bacon & Barrels (July 15th-17th)
We know – your mouth is already watering just by hearing the name of this festival. Nicknamed the “Coachella of Bacon,” Bacon & Barrels is the be-all, end-all event for anyone obsessed with bacon everything. Chefs are challenged to utilize bacon in their most creative dishes to accompany the “barrels” half of the festival. Attendees will be invited to sip on an array of drinks like bourbon, beer, wine, and scotch – all of which, of course, come from barrels. This three day event will also feature live music, mixology demonstrations, and you’ll even get to vote in the People’s Choice Award for your favorites! Buy your tickets for this scrumptious festival now before it’s too late.
4. Central Coast Beef & Wine Festival (August 6th)
What could be better than red meat and red wine? On the Central Coast, we are lucky enough to enjoy both locally grown beef and wine, sometimes produced on the same ranches. Cooking celebrities Billy & Sue from Cowboy Flavor will prepare juicy Harris Ranch beef dishes for you to pair with fine wines from local favorites like Halter Ranch, Ancient Peaks Winery, Hearst Ranch Winery, and more. Feeling spoiled yet? “How To” sessions hosted by Halter Ranch’s BBQ Masters will also reveal their secrets for prepping and cooking your beef to perfection. The best part is, this festival serves as a fundraiser for the San Luis Obispo Country Cattle Women Agricultural Education Scholarships. Don’t miss your chance to “graze, sip, and learn” in our very own agricultural heartland of Paso Robles.
5. 31st Annual Central Coast Wine Classic (August 10th-14th)
This festival showcases just what the Central Coast does best—wine making. One of America’s most educational charity wine auctions, the festival benefits the missions of local non-profits whose focuses lie in healing, performing arts, and the presentation and education of fine wine. Events like barrel tastings, winery dinners, vineyard tours, symposiums, live and silent auctions, and much more are sprinkled throughout the county at some of the Central Coast’s most beautiful venues. Get a taste of our claim to fame, check out the full list of events here.
The fun has only begun! Stay tuned for the next half of this blog when we list our favorite Fall festivals that showcase the unique goods and services that the Central Coast has to offer.