As the kids head back to school and summer draws to a close, world travel is probably the furtherest thing from your mind. Sure exotic vacations are fun, but luckily, the Bay Area is one of the most diverse areas in the country with awesome festivals that celebrate our various cultures. Skip the passport, hassle and jet lag and get ready to travel the world closer to home this September.
Scottish Highland Gathering and Games
September 2 - 3
Graham McTavish, star of Outlander and The Hobbit, will be joining us at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton on Labor Day Weekend to celebrate Scottish culture, cuisine, competition and entertainment at its very best.
Belmont Greek Festival
September 2 - 4
Enjoy Greek food, music, dancing, a mythology play, and a kids’ area at the Belmont Greek Festival at the Greek Orthodox Church in Belmont. Children 12 and younger are free.
San Francisco’s Only Greek Food Festival
September 22 - 24
Enjoy homemade Greek foods like lamb, calamari, gyros, baklava, souvlaki, and wine at San Francisco’s Only Greek Food Festival, plus dancers performing to live music at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in San Francisco.
San Francisco Aloha Poly Fest 2017
FREE Admission at the San Francisco County Fair Building (aka Hall of Flowers) in Golden Gate Park. Celebrate and learn about Polynesian (Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Cook Islands, New Zealand), Melanesian (Fiji), and Micronesian (Guam) islands in the Pacific Ocean through cultural dances, songs, crafts, merchandise vendors, and more.
SF Bay Brazilian Day & Lavagem Festival
Brazilian Music & Dance Lavagem & Procession, Children's Village Food & Craft Vendor Booths, Beer & Caipirinha Gardens and more, BrasArte, Berkeley.
Mole & Mariachi Festival
Mole & Mariachi Festival has food, beer, wine, craft vendors, giant piñatas, and dancers at Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park. Free admission.
September 9 - 10
J-POP SUMMIT is a Japanese cultural festival held every summer since 2009 in San Francisco, introduces the latest in Japanese music, fashion, film, art, games, tech-innovations, anime, food, as well as niche subcultures! at Fort Mason Center, San Francisco.
Festival Independencia Salvadorena 2017
Celebrates the traditions and customs of El Salvador, in order to join the Salvadoran community in an atmosphere of harmony and respect, cultivating the cultural values of El Salvador with other Latin American communities in the USA, so that our children do not forget their cultural roots at the Marin Center Lagoon Park in San Rafael.
If you love to dance, there's always a lively band playing folk and popular music. Featured dancers in traditional dress perform Schuhplattler and other dances popular at Oktoberfest and seasonal festivals in Bavaria and Austria. Special games, dances, and activities are planned for Kinder (children) at Kinderfest at the German Tourist Club in Mill Valley.
September 22 - 24
Celebrates Munich's famed festival in true tradition and spirit with nonstop music, singing, dancing and the very best in German food and drink at Pier 48. Kids are OK on Saturday and Sunday.
Northern California International Dragon Boat Festival
September 23 - 24
This two-day, admission-free festival brings a weekend of world-class dragon boat racing, spectacular cultural performances, delicious food, a variety of clothes and crafts vendors, and kid-friendly activities in Dragon Land where games and arts & crafts await at Lake Merritt in Oakland. Free.
San Francisco Chinatown Autumn Moon Festival
September 30 - Oct. 1
Two days of nonstop entertainment, parades, dancers, arts and crafts, food and drink, and live music on historic Grant Avenue at Washington Street in San Francisco. Free.
Korean Day Cultural Festival
The festival celebrates Chuseok (추석), a Korean holiday very similar to Thanksgiving. It’s a day in which Koreans give thanks and spend time with family and those we care about. Live Korean performances, food and cultural experiences, Union Square, San Francisco.
One of the fun parts of traveling this way is you don't have to travel to a place but through time.
Berkeley Old Time Music Convention
September 20 - 24
Let’s travel to the opposite side of the continental U.S. to The Berkeley Old Time Music Convention, a five day music festival featuring performances by local and national acts, a rollicking square dance, open cabaret, and the illustrious string band contest in venues throughout Berkeley.
Northern California Renaissance Faire
September 16 - Oct. 15, 2017 (weekends)
Watch knights joust on noble steeds, mingle with costumed minstrels and troubadours, shop 200 artisan and food-purveyor stalls, and see children delight in games and activities at Northern California Renaissance Faire in Hollister. Age 12 and under free.