Summer Festival Preview

Jessica Davidson

The last of the rain clouds fled the Bay under the steamy authority of a new season.  Summer is officially here and this sizzling time of year brings with it a myriad of events and activities in the Bay Area.

That’s right, festival season has arrived! Here’s a list of four unique and amusing summer festivals that will happen in the various spots throughout the Bay.

Brentwood Cornfest

This little known East Bay festival is all about the areas top summer commodity–Brentwood sweet corn. The Brentwood Chamber of Commerce is in charge of the event and will continue their tradition of attractions such as carnival rides, a petting zoo, live music, corn dishes of all kinds, and a spectacular fireworks display.

There are also a lot of new attractions in the works.

Lisa Hurt, Support Services Director for the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce, said, “We are really lucky to have this new larger space to use for the Cornfest and we are using it to go back to basics and return attractions that had in previous years been discontinued.”

In addition to its new location at Sand Creek Rd. and Brentwood Blvd., you can expect a car show, tractor races, and an agricultural heritage exhibit.

Parking has always been a problem for the Cornfest, but at its new location there will be plenty of parking for festival goers for $5 dollars per car. Dates: July 7-9. Admission: $10 for adults and $5 for youth and seniors.

Gilroy Garlic Festival

The food-centric festival has 32 annual events under its belt and with all of its experience it has grown to the huge fun filled weekend event that we enjoy today. Some of this fest’s offerings include celebrity chef cook-offs and three stages with live music, in addition to a gourmet food alley and hundreds of local vendors.

Many of the edibles will include a helping of fresh Gilroy garlic–more than 2 tons of the yummy stuff will be served along with 10 tons of beef, 4 tons of pasta, 4 tons of calamari and 2 tons of scampi.

Have no fears about scaring friends and family away with your offending breath after all that tasty cuisine because there will be a Scope booth on site handing out free samples of mouthwash for stinky patrons.

With more than 100,000 visitors over its three-day span, you can expect large crowds as well.

Lastly, The Christmas Hill Park location does provide a lot of shade but don’t forget your wide brimmed hat and sunscreen as the temps at this event can be scorching.

According to Peter Ciccarelli, 58, Gilroy Garlic Festival media coordinator, “This year we have pulled out all the stops to make this festival the best one yet.” Dates: July 29-31. Admission: adults $17, kids 6-12 and seniors $8. Parking: free on site with an adult admission.

Berkeley Kite Festival

For 25 years Highline Kites has been Berkeley’s world-class kite festival.

Held at Cesar Chavez Park at the Marina in Berkeley, this festival hosts kite flying teams from Japan, kite sky battles, team kite ballets,  free kite making, a candy drop of over 400 pounds and some of the world’s largest kites, including an octopus kite at 100 square feet and 18 feet wide as well as 20,000 square feet of creature kites from New Zealand.

As a musical treat there will also be Taiko drummers playing during the festival.

According to Tom McAlister, 49, owner and operator of Highline Kites, “The Berkeley Kite Festival is a great time for the whole family, there is really something for everyone and it’s free to attend.” Dates: July 30-31. Admission: Free. Parking: $10.

San Jose Jazz Festival

This huge music fest is probably one of the most well known festivals in the area. Boasting a lineup of over 1,000 musicians, you can expect to see a variety of types of jazz during this three-day celebration.

Expect large crowds at this festival as well since more than 100,000 patrons stroll its venues soaking up the ambiance and sweet music. There is also a large variety of venders and food booths to satisfy even the pickiest jazz enthusiast. Dates: August 12-14. Admission: Friday $15, Saturday $20, and Sunday $20.