Between back-to-school, Halloween, and Labor Day, fall is often a bustling season! Not to add to your plate, but Santa Cruz has some great events and festivals taking place that you don’t want to miss! From the best street festival in the county to a chili-cook-off, each month in the fall has something unique to offer.
Santa Cruz Greek Festival
Voted the best street festival in Santa Cruz County, the Santa Cruz Greek Festival is a highly anticipated event you don’t want to miss! The festival includes traditional Greek food and pastries, shopping, live music, Greek folk dancing, and a raffle. You can enjoy the Greek Festival for three days and admission is free. Details here.
Harvest Fair & Steam Festival
October 5th and 6th
Roaring Camp offers unique and intriguing events year-round like the Civil War Battle and encampments, Brewgrass Festival, and the Holiday Lights Train just to name a few. For Fall, they teamed up with Kinetic Steam Works to offer a two-day fall festival. This festival includes scarecrow making, candle making, gold panning, and blacksmith and print shop demonstrations. There will also be displays showcasing an array of steam and belt-powered equipment. Admission is free but if you choose to purchase a Steam Train ticket, your kids will also get to pick out a pumpkin at the Bear Mountain Pumpkin Patch. Find more details here.
Heritage Harvest Festival
A 40+ year tradition, the Wilder Ranch Heritage Harvest Festival goes back in time and celebrates Fall the old-fashioned way. This event offers tractor, draft horse, and living history demonstrations, along with old-fashioned games, crafts, music, and even hand-cranked pumpkin ice cream. This event is meant for the whole family, you can find more information here.
It’s time for you to be the judge at this event! The Boardwalk’s annual Chili Cook-Off features both amateur and professional chefs alike, meaning there will be no shortage of chili to taste! While admission to the Boardwalk is free, $10 will you get a tasting kit that is good for six taste tickets and a people’s choice ballot to vote for your favorite. If you’re vegetarian, don’t worry as there are vegetarian chilis to try, too. And best of all, a portion of the proceeds from the tasting kit are donated to Teen Kitchen Project. Learn more here.
Downtown Santa Cruz Wine Walk
Hosted by the Downtown Association of Santa Cruz, the fall wine walk is the perfect time to discover new locally made wine while enjoying the atmosphere in Downtown Santa Cruz. Once you check-in, you’ll receive your glass, tasting pass, and a map of the pouring locations. Enjoy the afternoon strolling through downtown while sipping local wine and browsing locally owned stores like Stripe, Botanic & Luxe, and Fish Princess Farm. For a full list of stores found in downtown, click here. Tickets are cheaper in advance, so don’t wait too long to purchase. You can buy tickets and find more information here.