The Quirkiest Festivals in California

Deanna Morgado

Anyone can go to world renowned California festivals like Coachella and SnowGlobe. But where’s the weird? Where’s the most interesting celebrations in the Golden State? Don’t worry, these festivals below will satisfy anyone’s desire for a quirky celebration.

1. Gilroy Garlic Festival

Gilroy is home to one of the largest (and most pungent) festivals in the United States. The Gilroy Garlic Festival has brought together garlic lovers, enthusiasts, and the curious every summer for four decades. Festival goers can enjoy live music and everything garlic here. Yes, everything garlic; garlic cook-offs, garlic souvenirs, garlic-braiding workshops, even garlic-flavored ice cream. Attendees won’t be able to wash the smell of delicious garlic out off their skin for a week.

Gilroy Garlic Festival, 7473 Monterey Street, Gilroy, CA, USA, +1 408 842 1625

Mr. and Mrs. Garlic! | © Eric Chan/Flickr

2. Tarantula Awareness Festival

Arachnophobes may want to take cover during this festival. Held in Coarsegold, locals have gathered every year for over 20 years for all kinds of eight hairy-legged fun. This festival is all about learning about these misunderstood arachnids and having fun. There’s lots of displays, tarantula races, food, and even a costume contest. The Tarantula Awareness Festival is held every October.

Tarantula Awareness Festival, 35300 CA-41 # 204, Coarsegold, CA, USA

3. California Lemon Festival


The town of Goleta doesn’t let the under appreciated lemon go without celebrating. Like the sour fruit itself, the California Lemon Festival has something for the entire family. Live music that includes bluegrass, folk, and pop bands play the entire weekend. Arts and crafts vendors and booths line Girsh Park, many of which are lemon themed of course. Attendees can enter a lemon cooking contest to show off their zesty skills, or enter a classic pie-eating contest. Samples of everything lemon can be tried and enjoyed. Taste some of the best lemon meringue pie or lemon curds around. Get to Girsh Park in Goleta late September if you don’t want to miss out on all the lemony goodness at the California Lemon Festival!

California Lemon Festival, 7050 Phelps Rd, Goleta, CA, USA, +1 805 967 2500

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