Top Five Festivals in the West

Activities, Magazine Features

The West Coast is home to a variety of colorful and engaging festivals

Festivals are a great way to celebrate a shared interest and spread not only culture, but knowledge. Throughout the country, many festivals are held with a wide range of celebrations that touch on educated topics, like Shakespeare, or are just full of hot air, like the balloon fiesta in New Mexico. Here are some fun West Coast festivals that will appeal to all ages.

ALBUQUERQUE INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FIESTA (NEW MEXICO)

In the big open space of New Mexico, from Oct. 7-15, one can find the wondrous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This is a yearly hot air balloon festival which creates an enchanted world filling the New Mexico skies with colorful hot air balloons. They hold events from 6:30 a.m. with balloons rising with the sun until 8 p.m. with a night glow event. Not only that, but the fest has competitions, rodeos and even chainsaw carvings events. At the end of each night there is a fireworks show called “AfterGlow Fireworks Show” which is fun for everyone. balloonfiesta.com/

OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL (ASHLAND, OREGON)

Within the town of Ashland, Oregon each year is the Shakespeare Festival. Well-known plays such as Romeo and Juliet are shown which are a big hit. There are options for live in-person showings, digital stage showings and other engaging plays and activities. The festival is group friendly, ranging from student groups to church groups and even corporate affiliate groups. osfashland.org/ 

Located in the desert of California in Indio, the Coachella festival attracts some of the best bands in the world. Headliners this year include artists such as Bad Bunny, Gorillaz, Rosalía and Frank Ocean.

COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL (INDIO, CALIFORNIA) 

Coachella is widely known as one of the most popular music festivals not only on the West Coast, but in the whole United States. Located in the desert of California in Indio, the festival attracts some of the best bands in the world. Headliners this year include artists such as Bad Bunny, Gorillaz, Rosalía and Frank Ocean. With so many artists performing on eight different stages, there is a wide variety of tastes represented. Also, there are many activity tents and food and drink stands and other things to experience in this valley. Coachella will feature a Ferris wheel, art installations and spacious campgrounds which present excellent photo opportunities. Overall, though, the focus is on the music. coachella.com/ 

Coachella is widely known as one of the most popular music festivals not only on the West Coast, but in the whole United States.

FIESTA SAN ANTONIO (SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS)

For the 2023 season, the “Fiesta San Antonio” is being held in late April. This is the city’s signature event in Texas which revolves around representing and honoring the memory of the heroes in the battle of the Alamo and for San Jacinto. Overall, it is a fiesta for celebrating diversity and their unique culture, heritage, and spirit of the city. It can also be described as a bug banquet for families and friends to get together and celebrate their rich culture together. There are a host of different events and activities over these days. Some big ones include parades; including a popular parade that includes the “Battle of Flowers.”

Many visitors wear long embroidered Mexican attire and embrace the fiesta while others wear flower crowns and other detailed shirts with brightly colored fabrics. The funds raised by this event help provide different services for the people of the San Antonio city throughout the year. fiestasanantonio.org/ 

SAN FRANCISCO CHINESE NEW YEAR PARADE (CALIFORNIA)

The Chinese New Year Parade and Festival will next take place in February of 2024. The main location for this is Chinatown in San Francisco. This event is a celebration of the Year of the Rabbit and the parade moves throughout the streets of Chinatown and gets a great crowd of more than three million spectators. It is a fun, free event and there is preferred seating in the bleacher section in which tickets can be purchased in advance. The parade and festivities create a great Lunar New Year party for all to enjoy. chineseparade.com/ 

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By Nicole Partis

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