September typically marks the end of peak heat in the desert, a month that ushers in cooler nights with days that are barely in the triple digits. Celebrate the arrival of fall this month with some fun and unique things to do, taking place in the desert and within our coastal drive markets.
Palm Springs VillageFest
Palm Springs VillageFest takes to the streets of downtown Palm Springs on Thursday evenings from 7pm to 10pm. Stretching from Indian Canyon Drive to Belardo Road, Palm Springs VillageFest showcases the best of Palm Springs in a vibrant, community-oriented atmosphere. It is an excellent way to enjoy an evening in the desert and experience the unique vibe of this prominent and charming city.
This street festival boasts a variety of vendors, from artisans and artists showcasing their wares and talents, to culinary curators serving up tasty treats, as well as live entertainment and a unique buzz from all in attendance. You can get dinner and show, all in one incredible place.
For the full list of vendors and additional information on Palm Springs VillageFest, check out the website.
The 37th Annual Maritime Festival offers a deep dive into California’s rich nautical history. This 3-day action-packed experience includes opportunities to enjoy re-enactments of cannon battles, pirate adventures, mermaid encounters, ship tours, and more. New to this year’s festival is the Chamber’s Artifacts Gallery, a collection of unique marine life artifacts that are sure to stoke curiosity in ocean-dwelling animals, as well as a history of whaling. The festival sets anchor in Dana Point Harbor September 10th through 12th, kicking off Friday night with “Sails ‘n Ales” from 6-9pm, featuring craft brew, cannon battles, and live music from American Idol Casey Abrams.
For additional information, including a schedule of events, tickets, and more, check out the Ocean Institute website.
La Quinta 9/11 Candlelight Vigil
Join your fellow residents to honor and remember the victims of 9/11 on the 20th anniversary of that harrowing and tragic day. This somber memorial will pay tribute to those who lost their lives at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA, with speeches by local dignitaries, musical tributes, and public art composed from the remnants of the World Trade Center.
More information can be found on the City of La Quinta event page on Facebook.
Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest
September 11th through November 7th
The Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest returns to the Big Bear Lake Convention Center each weekend, starting Saturday, September 11th through November 7th. Events will be held both indoors and outside this year, with limited capacity each day. This Oktoberfest celebration is known for capturing the essence of the original Oktoberfest, with traditional music, events, food, and of course the finest beers imported from Munich.
For the full scoop on Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest, including details on tickets and entertainment, check out the event website.
Catalina Festival of Art
Take the ferry to Avalon and enjoy the Catalina Festival of Art the weekend of September 17th through the 19th. A tradition on Catalina Island and within the Southern California arts community, this is one of the most acclaimed and storied art festivals in California and delivers a unique experience in one of Southern California’s most iconic locales. There is a wide swath of activities and sights to explore, including a collection of unique works from talented artists.
For more information on the Catalina Festival of Arts, check out the Catalina Art Association website.
Oceanside Harbor Days
September 18th & 19th
Escape the desert for a day on the coast at Oceanside Harbor Days, taking port at scenic Oceanside Harbor on Saturday, September 18th, and Sunday, September 19th. This 2-day festival features something for residents and visitors alike, including a variety of delicious food, arts and crafts exhibits, and fun activities such as a costume party for kids under 12, a beer garden, and more.
The best part? Oceanside Harbor Days is free to the public! For more information, check out the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce website.
Riverside Art and Music Festival
Check out local artists through a variety of mediums and performances at the Riverside Art and Music Festival. Taking place at White Park (3936 Chestnut Street, Riverside), a new location for this year, this annual event is free for all ages and celebrates art and music with concerts, demonstrations and performances, workshops, and more.
Additional information can be found by visiting the event’s Facebook page.
Joshua Tree Music Festival: Heart of the Matter
October 7th – 10th
The Joshua Tree Music Festival is back this October after a 2-year hiatus. This music festival, which traditionally takes place in the spring and the fall, draws a diverse crowd to the high desert. The audience composition reflects what is always an eclectic lineup of musical artists, where nearly every genre is represented by incredible acts. This year’s festival runs from October 7th through the 10th and is sure to deliver an incredible experience for all who attend. Signifying the momentous occasion of being able to gather and celebrate music and art in person again, the fall edition has been called “Heart of the Matter” and will feature opportunities to connect with others through music, art, and shared experience.
A long-standing high desert tradition, The Joshua Tree Music Festival’s aim to is to create a deep connection between performers and patrons by embracing music’s ability to bond humanity. Extending beyond the grooves and beats, the Joshua Tree Music Festival includes activities and workshops such as yoga and movement, music, visual arts, and myth. Promoted as a family-friendly event, there is a robust offering of activities for kids, too.
Joshua Tree is one of Southern California’s most scenic destinations and the music festival is an exceptional opportunity to discover a new landscape, new artists, and make new memories in a truly one-of-a-kind three-day, four-night experience. For more information, including the festival lineup, tickets, hotel accommodations, and health and safety guidelines, visit the festival website.
Palm Desert Concerts in the Park
Thursdays in October
Grab your blanket, pack a picnic, and bring the family to Palm Desert Concerts in the Park this October. This semi-annual evening attraction takes over the Civic Center stage each Thursday from 6-7:30pm during the month of October and features a new performance each week. With a variety of acts ranging from funk to pop, Motown to rock, and so much more there is a genre for everyone to enjoy. This free event is the best way to savor the start of cooler weather and enjoy the fresh air of a perfect desert evening.
This year’s lineup includes:
October 7 – Beach St. A GoGo (60s Classics)
October 14 – Avenida Music (Classic Rock, Spanish Pop, and Top 40)
October 21 – Cash, Killer and The King (Rock N’ Roll Tribute Band)
October 28 – New Sensations (Rock, Pop, Funk, Soul, and Motown)
Check out the city of Palm Desert’s website for more information.