30 Events Not to Miss Across the West This Summer
Festivals, fairs, and events are returning across the West this summer. Here are the ones you don’t want to miss.
Summer events are returning up and down the West with old traditions and new editions.
You can listen to live music at one of the big stages over the next few months, watch hot air balloons float across the sky, or simply take the family to pick some fresh fruit.
One major event back in a big way this summer is the music festival. See Garth Brooks and Maren Morris at Wyoming’s Cheyenne Frontier Days or Post Malone at Utah’s Hive Music Festival. If you’re more of a foodie, pick fresh strawberries at California’s Carlsbad Strawberry and Sunflower Fields or grab a new brew at Idaho’s Magic Valley Beer Festival. For more of a cultural experience, Nevada has the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and New Mexico has Art Santa Fe.
Because the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the United States, these events—their schedules, their guidelines, et cetera—could change. It’s best to check with organizers or the event website ahead of attending.
Face covering guidance also continues to change. Just this week, Los Angeles County public health officials again decided to require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. The rule goes into effect July 17.
Many summer events are outdoors, such as family walks through lavender fields in Southern California, or a water sports competitions in Hawaii.
Here are 30 events to put on your calendar for summer 2021:
Pick Your State
Southeast Arizona Birding Festival, Aug. 11-15
Head to Tucson or attend this event virtually to experience a gaggle of birding activities. There are guided field trips, workshops, nature presentations, and more. $20 registration fee per person.
Carlsbad Strawberry and Sunflower Fields, through middle of July (dependent on weather)
Pick fresh strawberries with the whole family in Carlsbad. You can fill a bucket of strawberries (about 2 pounds) for only $10 every day of the week. Whether you use those berries to throw together a sweet strawberry pie or a refreshing strawberry hibiscus cooler, you’ll enjoy it all the more knowing you picked them yourself.
More info: www.carlsbadstrawberrycompany.com/strawberry
Lavender Festival, through Aug. 1
In need of some serenity? Look no further than the Lavender Festival in California’s Cherry Valley. Hosted by 123 Farm, the annual event is an opportunity to walk through lavender fields and eat lavender-themed food (think lavender braised beef brisket sandwich and lavender falafel burgers). Tickets range from $7.50 to $15 and can be reserved online. Visitors can stop by from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but the farm is closed on Mondays.
Pageant of the Masters, through Sept. 3
The renowned live art show, where performers bring famous paintings and other works to life, returns to Laguna Beach with new safety protocols. This year’s theme is “Made in America” and works include a series by painter Norman Rockwell, acrylics by artist John Nieto, and more. Nightly performances start at 8:30 p.m.; tickets start at $30.
More info: www.foapom.com
Bottlerock, Sept. 3-5
Calling all wine and music lovers, this festival was created for you. Located in Napa Valley, Bottlerock is the sweetest last taste of summer you’ll get. Headliners include Stevie Nicks, Guns N’ Roses, The Foo Fighters, and Miley Cyrus so every decade of music you love is brought onto one stage.
More info: www.bottlerocknapavalley.com
Night Sky Festival, Sept. 3-5
This event will take you to the stars, literally. The festival celebrates Joshua Tree National Park’s night sky and will include a scale model of the solar system that is large enough to walk through. Let the light of the Milky Way guide you through nighttime exploration.
Smorgasburg, every Sunday
It seems only right that Los Angeles’ largest weekly outdoor food market makes a comeback this summer after a 16-month hiatus. With more than 5 acres and 80 vendors at the ROW DTLA in downtown LA, Smorgasburg returns with tons of outdoor seating and a michelada beer garden every Sunday.
More info: https://la.smorgasburg.com/
Los Angeles Art Show, July 29-Aug. 30
Usually held in January, the Los Angeles Art Show returns with a new form of art: nonfungible tokens and crypto art. The theme of this year’s show is Women, Art, and Technology and will feature exhibits such as Immersive Distancing, which will examine recent media art produced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tickets can be purchased online for $30.
More info: www.laartshow.com
Vail Dance Festival, July 30-Aug. 9
Head to the Rocky Mountains for ballet, live music, and more. Performers include the touring arm of New York City Ballet, artist-in-residence Calvin Royal III, and company-in-residence Ballet X.
More info: www.vaildance.org
Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival, Aug. 28
The only vino you’ll be sipping at this festival is made in Colorado. The one-day summer shindig spans two sessions in Manitou Springs Memorial Park, plus you can enjoy live entertainment and food trucks.
Telluride Film Festival, Sept. 2-6
Academy Award-winner Barry Jenkins, the director of Moonlight, is this year’s guest director and will present a series of hand-selected films. Don’t plan on catching any sneak previews as it is the festival’s tradition to keep the line-up secret until opening day.
More info: www.telluridefilmfestival.org
Duke’s OceanFest, Aug. 21-29
Surfing. Swimming. Paddleboarding. It’s all on exhibition at this annual water sports festival, which serves as an homage to the late Olympic medalist Duke Kahanamoku. You can also watch movies on the beach, or catch the canoe regatta.
More info: www.dukesoceanfest.com
Sawtooth Valley Gathering, Aug. 5-8
Get your tent and groove on at Sawtooth Valley Gathering in Stanley, Idaho. Heading into its sixth year, the festival has gathered more than 40 live performances from national, regional and local acts. Tickets can be purchased online and range from $100 to $300.
More info: www.sawtoothvalleygathering.com
Magic Valley Beer Festival, Aug. 7
Drinking beer in honor of charity, what more could you want? The festival raises money for the Blue Lakes Rotary club while you sip on more than 100 different brews. Tickets can be purchased online and range from $10 to $75.
More info: www.magicvalleybeerfestival.com
Butte Bike Race, July 22
Considered one of the most difficult bike races in the country, the Butte 100 takes place atop the Continental Divide just outside of Butte, Montana. Whether you’re spectating or riding, this will be the bike event of the summer!
More info: www.butte100.com
Red Ants Pants Music Festival, July 22-25
Music sounds better when it’s for a cause. The Red Ants Pants Festival brings a community together to raise money for the nonprofit Red Ants Pants Foundation. The foundation aims to expand leadership roles for women, preserve and support working family farms and ranches, and enrich and promote rural communities.
More info: www.redantspantsmusicfestival.com
Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, through Aug. 23
Shakespeare in the Park on the shores of Lake Tahoe? Talk about center stage! This Midsummer Night’s Dream lasts all summer long. Tickets can be purchased online.
More info: www.laketahoeshakespeare.com
Great Reno Balloon Race, Sept. 10-12
Started in 1982, Reno’s most colorful tradition presents a spectacular show in the sky. It’s billed as the world’s largest free hot-air ballooning event and takes place a few miles north of downtown.
More info: www.renoballoon.com
Art Santa Fe, July 15-17
Whether you’re an avid art collector or looking for a thought-provoking piece, Art Santa Fe will inspire your summer. Located at the Santa Fe Convention Center the fair will also provide panel discussions, conversations, and provocative artistic discourse with leading artists, curators, designers, and art-industry professionals.
More info: www.redwoodartgroup.com/art-santa-fe/
The Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonia, Aug. 7-15
Going into its 99th year, The Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonia celebrates Native American culture with music, dancing, food, sport, and other events. It features the oldest Native American art show in the country and a legendary rodeo.
More info: www.gallupceremonial.com
Lane County Fair, July 21-25
A classic all-American staple, this event features all of your fair favorites. Dive into some delicious food or sing along at one of the many shows. The Lane County Fair promises fun for the entire family.
More info: www.atthefair.com
Oregon Jamboree, July 30-Aug. 1
Get your country kick on in the foothills of the Cascade mountains. The Oregon Jamboree features two stages, 25 shows, and headliners you don’t want to miss—like Billy Currington.
More info: www.oregonjamboree.com
Hive Music Festival, Aug. 6-7
Located at the Utah State Fairgrounds, this festival brings the biggest names in music to Beehive state. Post Malone is headlining, so make sure to pack some snacks so you can jam out to music all night long.
More info: www.hivefestival.com
Midway Swiss Days, Sept. 3-4
Iron out your lederhosen for Swiss Days. This is Utah’s premier event to celebrate everything Swiss. The event features a 10-kilometer race, outdoor craft fair, parade, live entertainment, and more!
More info: www.midwayswissdays.org
Watershed Country Music Festival, July 30-Aug. 1
Located in the iconic dust of the George Valley, this country music festival is begging for you to break out your cowboy boots. Headliners include Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, Thomas Rhett, and more!
More info: www.watershedfest.com/
Seattle SeaFair, Aug. 6-8
This free fair can be viewed from Lake Union and heard throughout the city during the week. It all began as a plan to celebrate Seattle’s centennial in 1951-52 and still stands as one of the cities most iconic events to date.
More info: www.seafair.org
Hoopfest, Sept. 11-12
Located in the beautiful city of Spokane, Hoopfest is a basketball player’s safe haven. It is the largest three-on-three basketball tournament in the country and has a pretty baller dunk contest.
More info: www.spokanehoopfest.net
Day in Day Out Fest, Sept. 4-5
From the team that brought you Capitol Hill Block Party, Neumos, Barboza, and Block Party, comes Seattle’s newest music festival: Day in Day Out. According to Capitol Hill Block Party, it is the city’s first festival in more than 700 days!
More info: www.dayindayoutfest.com
Climbers Festival, July 15-18
Calling all climbers: You won’t have to hike up any mountains to get to this event. Located in Lander, Wyoming, this event features climbing workshops, clinics, demonstrations of new gear, a rodeo, and more.
More info: www.climbersfestival.org
Cheyenne Frontier Days, July 23-Aug. 1
Billed as the “world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration,” this festival features rodeo and live music. Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett, and Maren Morris are just a few of the acts set to take the stage in Cheyenne. Tickets are available online.
More info: www.cfdrodeo.com