Fairs and festivals are as American as apple pie. They’re salt-of-the-Earth celebrations of a community’s unique quirks and culture. Whether you want to check out a massive state fair with concerts and carnival rides galore or a smaller, off-the-beaten-path local street festival, it seems you’re only ever a stone’s throw away from some deep-fried fun. From Sacramento to the Southwest, here’s where can find five of the best fall fairs and festivals near you.

1. Kern County Fair

Bakersfield, CA
September 19-30, 2018

More than 400,000 people attend this 12-day fair held every September in Bakersfield. This year, fairgoers can count on plenty of food and lots of live music, plus a fast pass ticketing option that lets visitors bypass long lines.

The Kern County Fair boasts all the usual trappings of a county fair, including carnival rides, agricultural and horticultural exhibits, live music, more than 500 vendors and fair food staples, like slow-cooked ribs, corn dogs, cotton candy and candy apples. On opening weekend, hit the grandstand for a monster truck rally (Saturday, Sept. 22) and lucha libre wrestling (Sunday, Sept. 23). The second weekend marks the PRCA Rodeo (Sept. 28 and 29) and Fiesta Rodeos (Sept. 30).

Tickets also include free admission to nightly concerts. This year’s lineup includes appearances by The Beach Boys, WAR, Sean Kingston, John Michael Montgomery, La Original Banda Limon, Ashanti, Lauren Alaina, Crowder, Air Supply, Chris Janson, Joe Diffie and Banda Los Sebastianes.

2. Oro Valley Music Festival

Oro Valley, AZ
October 13-14, 2018

In a matter of years, the Oro Valley Music Festival has become one of Tucson’s signature events. This year’s festival will be held at its new location in Naranja Park, so festivalgoers can catch an incredible lineup of artists against a breathtaking backdrop with the Catalina Mountains on display. The two-day festival’s roster is jam-packed with popular acts everyone can appreciate, featuring the likes of O.A.R., Switchfoot, Chris Young and Danielle Bradbery, among others.

3. Sacramento Arts Festival

Sacramento, CA
October 26-28, 2018

We’re still several weeks away from the throes of the holiday season, but it’s never too early to get a head start on shopping. The Sacramento Arts Festival is a perfect place to pick up meaningful, one-of-a-kind gifts for your friends, family, or coworkers.

The festival, now in its 21st year, is strictly juried, selecting only the finest exhibitors based on the originality and quality of their work. 225 contemporary craftspeople and fine artists represent every category of fine art and contemporary craft, including drawing, printmaking, decorative fiber, leather, stone, metal and mixed media. Shoppers will be able to find an impressive assemblage of works of art and craft all under one roof, from hand-thrown pottery, to wood carvings and handcrafted furniture, to prints and paintings, to jewelry.

What festival is complete without food and live music? Restaurant Row will feature a variety of Sacramento-area restaurants, and live entertainment will be provided by the likes of the GG Amos Blues Band, the Kurt Ribak Jazz Quartet and Yolo Mambo, a world music group.

4. ClovisFest

Clovis, CA
October 27-28, 2018

Waking up before dawn on the weekend might not sound like your idea of “fun,” but considering ClovisFest’s sunrise hot air balloon fly offers early risers coffee and breakfast, including cinnamon rolls, it’s well worth setting your alarm to see this picturesque event that’s a local favorite.

ClovisFest is fun, family-friendly and free. The day kicks off with a 7 a.m. sunrise balloon fly at the rodeo grounds. Once the balloons are up, cross the street to Pollasky Avenue, where 12 city blocks and side streets are lined with more than 200 craft and food vendors, where you can enjoy street festival staples like kettle corn, shaved ice and cotton candy. The beer garden provides a place, to sip, sit and relax as you listen to live local music.

This year, the International Village on 7th and Pollasky will turn into a cultural celebration complete with booths representing different cultural groups in the Central Valley and feature food, storytelling and performances.

5. Arizona Fall Fest

Phoenix, AZ
November 4, 2018

Join your neighbors and show off your Arizona pride at the Arizona Fall Fest, a free, family-friendly festival that features more than 200 Arizonan-owned businesses, organizations and entertainment. The festival offers fun for all ages, including kid-friendly entertainment and activities; food from some of Arizona’s best food trucks, restaurants and chefs; live music; and the Hensley Beverage Garden–the only beverage garden to exclusively feature Arizona-made beer, wine and spirits–which offers a dose of adult-appropriate fun.

It’s not fall unless you go to a fair or festival. They’re such fun ways to experience the best a community has to offer that anyone can appreciate, no matter where you call home.

*The information provided in this blog is designed to give helpful advice on the topic discussed. It is not intended to provide legal or any other type of advice and is not meant to be a thorough discussion of every issue that a person should consider or may encounter. Personal Express Insurance is a brand utilized by the following insurance underwriting companies: Integon National Insurance Company and National General Premier Insurance Company. All policies will be underwritten by these two underwriting companies.

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