If you’re looking for contortionists, hand car races, fencing lessons and a bed swing in one place this summer, look no farther than the annual Kinetic Carnivale, a two-day steampunk festival in Willits.
In its fourth year, the festival will offer free swing and waltz dancing lessons and a grand ball with live music, aerial artists, belly dancing, fire dancing and performance poetry. People of all ages can create goggles and sprawling fascinator hats at steampunk craft stations, and children can play games in the Whimsy Circus, where the “Big Swing,” a brass bed on a giant frame, will send people of all ages flying.
The fair starts at 10 a.m. Aug. 22-23, with the Grand Ball on Saturday night. For more information, visit kineticcarnivale.com or call the Mendocino County Museum at 707-459-2736.
Jug Band Festival in Gold Country
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What: Take some blues and throw in some spoons, washboards, banjos and, of course, a jug or two, and you’ve got a jug band. The versatile style of music, which uses homemade instruments, will be celebrated at the 13th Annual International Jug Band Festival, a free, daylong romp.
When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Aug. 22
Where: Sutter Creek Inn, 75 Main St., Sutter Creek
Cost: Free, donations suggested
Information: suttercreek.org, 209-267-1344.
Placerville craft fair
What: Placerville’s 18th Annual Craft Faire brings the best of local artisan works downtown for one day. More than 100 vendors will be selling pottery, jewelry, woodwork, quilts, dolls, gardenware, soaps, candles, decorative items and food in this free event.
When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Aug. 23
Where: Downtown Placerville
Festival of the Chariots
What: The Festival of the Chariots, also known as Ratha Yatra, has been celebrated for thousands of years in India as a spiritual journey from the darkness into light. Celebrate in San Francisco as massive, ornate chariots are pulled through Golden Gate Park.
When: Parade begins at 11 a.m., festival begins at 1 p.m., Aug. 23
Where: Golden Gate Park, Sharon Meadow, 320 Bowling Green Drive, San Francisco
What: Grab that outrigger and paddle and head to the 23rd Annual Aloha Races and Polynesian Festival, which welcomes new and novice paddlers in a race for those 12 and older. After the races, head to the festival part of the event for Hawaiian and Polynesian live music and dance performances.
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Aug. 23
Where: Santa Cruz Wharf, 21 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz
Information: cityofsantacruz.com, 831-420-5270
Palo Alto Art festival
What: The 34th Palo Alto Festival of the Arts draws crowds of more than 150,000 to peruse the works of 300 fine artists and crafters on tree-lined University Avenue. Sixty chalk artists from across California will create classical, abstract and three-dimensional pieces on Tasso Street while children create their own chalk pieces in the Kids’ Art Studio. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own canvas bags and avoid bringing pets.
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 22-23
Where: University Avenue, Palo Alto
Information: mlaproductions.com, 650-324-3121