Escapes: Celebrate fall colors in Oakhurst and laugh it up in Santa Cruz


Family-friendly festivities

The small community of Oakhurst boasts a view that’s tough to beat – it’s in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, just south of Yosemite National Park. Fall days are usually warm and colorful, with gold sun, blue skies and green-tree vistas. And at the 22nd annual Oakhurst Fall Festival, the region’s best will be available to sample: wine, chocolate, cheese, nuts, beers and more. Though the food artisans are the focus, there will also be live entertainment, local art on display, a car show and a Civil War-period clothing exhibit. Little ones are sure to love the miniature horse rides, a petting zoo, face painting and bounce house. Festivities last from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Oakhurst Community Park. Admission costs $2 and tickets for tasting and other activities cost $1 apiece. For more information, visit


Comedy festival

What: The first Santa Cruz Comedy Festival aims to be the beginning of a landmark event, with 50 standup comics performing in eight venues in one night. There will be a mix of paid and free shows with comedians from all over the Bay Area.

When: 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday

Where: Various venues, Santa Cruz

Cost: Ticket prices vary



Sandcastle contest

What: Art education organization Leap hosts its 31st annual sandcastle contest, which brings together architects, engineers, businesses and elementary school students to create huge, imaginative sculptures – using just water and sand. All are welcome to observe and cheer while grazing on goodies from a local food truck. Fittingly, the theme this year is “Food, Glorious Food.”

When: 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Ocean Beach, Balboa Street at Great Highway, San Francisco

Cost: Free



Zombie run

What: Redrun aims to be the spookiest, deadliest race around, with 3,000 runners passing through Virginia City’s most famous haunted spots. When the 6 miles end, get painted like a zombie and take over downtown. The Zombie Manifestival will feature music, dancing, food and a costume contest.

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: C Street, Virginia City, Nevada

Cost: $35-$65 to run, $10 for the festival




What: The entire San Pedro Square Market will be in the Oktoberfest spirit, with German beer, food and musical performances on offer. Folks with big appetites shouldn’t miss the “Brawt-Dog”-eating contest. General admission includes a souvenir beer stein and two pints, while VIP adds on a liter stein, two specialty beers and an exclusive beer tasting event.

When: Noon-5 p.m. Saturday

Where: San Pedro Square Market, 87 N. San Pedro St., San Jose

Cost: $25 general admission, $60 VIP


Bee staff