Arts & Festivals Picks

Schedule a romantic Ghost Experience pottery class at MyStudio. Righteous Brothers soundtrack not included.

Schedule a romantic Ghost Experience pottery class at MyStudio. Righteous Brothers soundtrack not included.


Did you discover the secrets of the Sacramento mermaids? If not, click here to backtrack and find out the truth for yourself.

39. Channel that Swayze/Demi love

MyStudio's Ghost Experience pottery class

MyStudio provides a unique date night alternative with its Ghost Experience pottery class. For $30, channel the energy of Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in that classic movie scene with this hands-on pottery wheel session. MyStudio staff will help couples get started, and then it’s up to each person to create a one-of-a-kind piece of pottery to remember the experience by. After two weeks, couples are invited back to glaze and fire their pieces before taking them home. 2325 J Street, (916) 476-4121, S.R.

40. Support local music

First Festival

First Festival returns for its second go-round, promising stockpiles of local bands, beer, vendors and unbearable “who’s on first” jokes. The fest has grown into a two-day event, with Epsilona and Death of Reason headlining Saturday, June 18, and Sammies winner Tell the Wolves and Drop Dead Red headlining Sunday, June 19. If you’re into hitting multiple stages of Sacramento folk, indie and hard rock while drinking a bit too much in Southside Park, this is your scene. $30-$50; noon to 10 p.m. on June 18 and June 19 at Southside Park, 2115 Sixth Street; A.S.

41. Rough it in the artistic wild

Kids Summer Studio Camp

Pry the kids away from smartphones and tablets with Verge Center for the Arts’ Kids Summer Studio Camp. This isn’t the kind of camp with marshmallows, mosquitoes or ghost stories (at least, we don’t think); rather, the “camps” are designed to introduce young artists to mediums such as drawing, sculpture and installation. The camps, which run June 20 through August 19, are available on a week-to-week basis with discounts for multiweek packages. Preregistration is required; tuition starts at $200 a week for members and $250 a week for nonmembers. 625 S Street, (916) 448-2985, R.L.

42. Absorb a legend’s art

Andy Warhol: Portraits

You only have a few more weeks to see <i>Andy Warhol: Portraits</i> at the Crocker.


Oh, hey Truman Capote. Hi, Yves Saint Laurent. How’s it going, Jane Fonda? Greet all these famous faces and more at the Crocker Art Museum, as portrayed by Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol: Portraits features 168 paintings, drawings, photographs and personal memorabilia, showcasing his fascination with celebrity. Don’t wait too long—the exhibit’s last day is June 19. 216 O Street, (916) 808-7000, J.B.

43. Go book shopping in Oak Park

Sacramento Black Book Fair

Bring an empty book bag to the third annual Sacramento Black Book Fair, because you’ll want to fill it by the time you leave. This three-day literary festival takes over several venues in Oak Park for panel discussions, poetry readings, kids activities, food vendors and book talks by more than 80 authors. Free, June 3 through June 5 at various locations, B.C.

44. Eat beignets, sing the blues

Cajun and Blues Festival

Embrace the customs of our fellow river-dwellers with the annual Cajun and Blues Festival, talking place this year at the E2 Family Winery. Bayou cuisine—including gator, catfish, jambalaya, frog legs, po’boys and beignets—and music from legendary fiddler Doug Kershaw, Andrew Carriere and the Zydeco/Cajun Allstars, and the rambunctious Dirty Cello will abound. $25-$30, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 25 and June 26 at 9009 Highway 12 in Lodi, (209) 993-2334, D.D.

45. Be a pirate unicorn

Golden Coast Adventure Faire

No fantastical alter ego is too fantastic for this Renaissance-steampunk-fantasy-storybook-pirate-superhero mashup. Gibson Ranch will become a whimsical landscape filled with games, food, music, magicians, fire breathers, mermaids, wizards, stormtroopers, unicorns—basically anything that populated your wildest imagination as a kiddo. It’s a family-friendly event, but there will be magic libations available for those 21 and older from Monk’s Cellar and Shilling Hard Cider. $5, June 11 and June 12 at 8556 Gibson Ranch Road in Elverta, D.D.

46. Wake up early on June 4 to claim a prime viewing spot on N Street for the Sacramento Pride Parade. Be ready for a wild festival on Capitol Mall afterward!

47. Dance your tie-dyed pants off

Enjoy crayfish, on guitar or on your plate at the Cajun and Blues Festival.


High Sierra Music Festival

The ultimate feel-good festival in California is just three hours north, in beautiful Quincy. Surrounded by trees, tie-dye and yogis, enjoy four days of nonstop tunes by the likes of Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Thievery Corporation and Dr. Dog. In between sets, take advantage of intimate workshops with the artists—even better, they’re usually in air-conditioned rooms. High Sierra is the rare family-friendly affair that’s just as fun during the day as deep into the night. $265.75 for a four-day pass, June 30 through July 3 at 204 Fairground Road in Quincy, J.B.

48. Honor fallen gods

PanGaia Festival

Sure, PanGaia Festival fosters community bonding through activities like live music, drum circles, belly dancing and food. Yes, proceeds benefit charities for wildlife and veterans. And yes, there are prizes for best kilt and best homemade mead. We’re sure it’s a fantastic family outing, but can we skip ahead to PanGaia After Dark? The Ritual for the Fallen Gods of Rock at 8 p.m. on June 11 sounds like something that cannot be missed, lest the current Gods of Rock smite you for neglect. Free; 10 a.m. on June 11 and June 12 at VFW Grounds, 8990 Kruitof Way in Fair Oaks; (916) 399-3331; B.C.

49. Gamble for rice

Japanese Food and Cultural Bazaar

The Japanese Food and Cultural Bazaar always seems to be on the hottest weekend of the year, but grab a hand fan and a cold beer and eat while watching great entertainment in the big tent. There’s dancing, taiko and music; booths sell handcrafts and Japanese products; and cultural events take place in the chapel. Also look for ikebana displays, gambling games and so much food that, in the years past, they have cooked and served 1.5 tons of rice! August 13 and August 14 at Buddhist Church of Sacramento, 2401 Riverside Boulevard; (916) 446-0121; G.G.

50. Go to Burning Man! Because you totally got your ticket already, right?

51. Get your nerd on

Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con

You don’t have to be a wizard to enjoy dressing up like one. This year’s Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con features guests from all walks of nerd life: Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings), Michael Cudlitz and Scott Wilson (The Walking Dead), Jewel Staite (Firefly), Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter), William Shatner (Do I have to say what he’s from?) and many more. Photo ops and autographs are available. Get those costumes ready, and get ready to nerd out. $39.95-$199.99; June 17 through June 19 at Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J Street; W.C.

Sorting hat on the fritz? Pick up new wizard gear at Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con.


52. Enjoy a week in Sacramento with no Burners

53. Go to the country, eat a lot of peaches

Marysville Peach Festival

Fan of Marysville’s Bok Kai festival know that town knows how to party. The Peach Festival has baking and preserving contests, heavy on the peaches, obviously. Featured foods include peach ice cream, barbecue peach burgers, peach tea, peach tamales and, in a nod to the town’s rich Chinese heritage, peach egg rolls. Who will win the hula hoop contest, water balloon relay, pie-eating contest and talent show? Maybe you? July 15 and July 16 in downtown Marysville, G.G.

54. Celebrate your plaid heritage

The Mother Lode Highland Games

To paraphrase the immortal highlander Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod (and ’80s movie notoriety), there can be only one Mother Lode Highland Games. The Celtic majesty on display during the annual festival is enough to make you want to add a “Mc” in front of your name, but no need. Anyone can buy tickets to the Father’s Day weekend games, which return popular, past events like men in kilts running with trees. We’ll monitor the whiskey seminars and wine workshops. $15-$65; June 18 and June 19at Amador County Fairgrounds, 18621 Sherwood Street in Plymouth; RFH

55. Try to count all the flower crowns in one concert crowd

56. Tell a tall tale

Sierra Storytelling Festival

The popularity of programs like The Moth, Radiolab and This American Life just goes to show you that the art of spinning a yarn is timeless. Get your fix with the 31st annual celebration of oral storytelling that takes place at the historic and charming North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center. Seasoned pros will entrance audiences and offer workshops, with plenty of opportunities for attendees to test out their oration skills with open-tellings and the Sierra Story Slam. $8.50-$82.50, July 22 through July 24 at 17894 Tyler Foote Crossing Road in Nevada City, (530) 265-2826, D.D.

57. Blow some glass

Sacramento Art Glass

Looking for something new to do during the summer? All are welcome at Sacramento Art Glass. The glassblowing studio located near Curtis Park is owned and operated by René Steinke, an artist with more than 20 years of experience. There are two choices for curious glassblowers: Class I includes demonstrations, learning to gather glass particles from a crucible (where glass is melted at high temperatures) and creating one piece of original artwork. Class II creates two pieces of artwork, like a paperweight, vase, bowl or plate. $125-$200, 2500 Sutterville Road, (916) 743-1446, S.R.

58. Relax and smell the fLowers

2016 Lavender Festival

Live music, food, workshops and local vendors are all in bloom at this year’s Lavender Festival. Lovers of the sweet-smelling summer flower can cut their own lavender bouquets, take train rides through the rolling purple fields, visit the llamas and alpacas on the farm or participate in one of many lavender workshops: wreath- and wand-making, distilling, drying and more. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 25 and June 26 at Bluestone Meadow, 2025 Carson Road in Placerville; (530) 631-1830; S.R.

Can’t take any more of the Sacramento heat? Read on to read about the best Daytrips & Getaways this summer.