Ignore the 100-degree heat, embrace the pumpkin spice. Autumn, friends, is around the corner.
Despite summer’s swelter-hold on the Valley, a lot of folks are ready to turn the seasonal page to cooler weather, changing leaves and, yes, even the much-maligned deluge of pumpkin spice-tinged products hitting the grocery aisles.
Autumn officially begins Sept. 22 and plenty of communities and organizations stand ready to help revelers get that fall feeling. September is packed with festivals and big events across the Modesto and Mother Lode regions.
Labor Day unofficially bids adieu to summer, and the upcoming holiday weekend kicks off autumn with fests that will fill the Ripon skies with colorful hot-air balloons, herald the season in Newman and a celebrate logging in Arnold.
Here’s a look at some of the bigger events planned for September, with celebrations of cultural heritage, communities, food, art and even break dancing:
NEWMAN FALL FESTIVAL – Aug. 31-Sept. 4: Newman says farewell to summer with its 47th community celebration. Events include a bake-off, kids zone, food booths, tournaments, arts and crafts, demonstrations and live music. The Miss Newman pageant at the West Side Theatre kicks off the festivities on at 6 p.m. Thursday. A 21-and-older wine, cheese and craft beer event on Main Street will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, the same day that the carnival opens from noon to 11 p.m.; the carnival also runs 9 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and noon to 11 p.m. on Sunday. A parade on Sunday begins 11 a.m. at Mariposa Street and travels along Main Street. Festival at Pioneer Park, 1250 Tulare St., Newman. Free. 209-451-2815.
LOGGING JAMBOREE – Sept. 2: Kids games, logging competitions, tours, a barbecue and more. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sierra Nevada Logging Museum, 2148 Dunbar Road, Arnold. $ 5 adults; 12 and under free. 209-795-1226. www.sierraloggingmuseum.org.
SOARING OVER RIPON – Sept. 2-3: This annual fundraiser features balloon launches, tethered balloon rides, a pancake breakfast, kite-flying demonstrations, live entertainment and more, including skydivers on Saturday. Festival is 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with the kite festival beginning at 1 p.m. both days. Balloon rides and launches depend on the weather. Proceeds benefit Valley Children’s Pelandale Specialty Care Center in Modesto. Mistlin Sports Park, 1201 W River Road, Ripon. Free; $ 5 parking; fees for rides. www.riponchamber.org.
LABOR DAY WEEKEND ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL – Sept. 2-3: The end of summer is celebrated during this 45th annual event in the Mother Lode town of Arnold. There will be beer and food to sample, booths filled with art, crafts, face painting and live music both days. Performers include Modesto band Home Grown and more. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Grounds of Bristol’s Ranch House Cafe, 961 Highway 4 in Arnold. Free.
MARIPOSA COUNTY FAIR – Sept. 2-5: Horse shows, agricultural events, displays, demonstrations, entertainment, rodeo, destruction derby, midway and more. Noon-1 a.m. Sept. 2, 8 a.m.-1 a.m. Sept 3-4, 8 a.m.-6 p.m Sept. 5. Mariposa County Fairgrounds, 5007 Fairgrounds Road. $ 5-$ 10. www.mariposafair.com
EDIBLE EXTRAVAGANZA – Sept. 7: The Center for Human Services’ 31st annual fundraising event will feature local restaurants, caterers, bakers, confectioners, vintners, beverage purveyors and local growers. 5 p.m. reception; 6 to 9 p.m. main event. Modesto Centre Plaza, 1000 L St. $ 50. 209-526-1476.
DENAIR FARM AND FAMILY FESTIVAL – Sept. 9: More than 100 food and craft vendors, as well as live entertainment, truck show, petting zoo and more. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Downtown Denair. www.denairfestival.com.
BACON FEST – Sept. 9-10: Travel Channel celebrity Alan Richman (“Man vs. Food”) serves as emcee of two-day cook-off competitions; eating champion Joey Chestnut will compete in a professional bacon-eating contest at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 10. Live bands, more bacon-eating contests, demonstrations, Bacon Alley food vendors, microbrews, car shows, crafts and more. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Dell’Osso Farms, Lathrop. $ 25 general, $ 12.50 ages 6-14, free 5 and under. baconfest.com.
ASSYRIAN FOOD FESTIVAL – Sept. 9-10: 20th annual Assyrian Food Festival presented by the Assyrian Cultural Center of Bet-Nahrain. Authentic food, art and artifact exhibits, music, dance, arts and crafts and more. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. Assyrian Cultural Center, 3119 S. Central Ave., Ceres. $ 14 advance, $ 17 at the door. www.assyrianfoodfestival.com.
ACORN FESTIAL – Sept. 9-10: The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians celebrates the 51st annual celebration of the black oak acorn harvest with traditional dancers, hand games tournament, native arts and crafts, and more, including an intertribal pow wow. A deep-pit barbecue dinner and Indian tacos. 10 a.m. to dusk both days. Tuolumne Rancheria, 19595 Mi-Wu St., Tuolumne.
EGYPTIAN FESTIVAL – Sept. 15-17: Music, food, bazaar, tours of church grounds, pharaoh photo studio, activities for kids, clothes boutique. 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church, 315 Orange Ave., Ripon. Free. 209-599-3310.
WOMEN OF THE WEST FILM FESTIVAL – Sept. 16: This year’s third WOW Film Fest features short films and the documentary “Mighty Ruthie,” the story of Ruthie Bolton, a Women’s National Basketball Association legend, Olympic gold medalist, author, actress and domestic violence survivor. Bolton will be the evening’s keynote speaker and will sign books and autographs after the film. A buffet and no-host bar begins at 5:30 p.m., film 6:30 p.m. $ 15. State Theatre, 1307 J St., Modesto. www.thestate.org.
49ER FESTIVAL, CHILI & SALSA COOK-OFF – Sept. 16: Kids activities, parade, live entertainment by Threshold, Orange Crush Band, Columbia Jazz and more, Old West re-enactments and more, auctions, chili and salsa tastings and other activities. Also, annual chili cook-off competition and tasting from noon to 3 p.m. Festival kicks off at 9 a.m. with parade on Main Street and goes on until 5 p.m. Mary Laveroni Community Park, Groveland. www.49erfestival.blogspot.com.
GREEK FOOD FESTIVAL – Sept. 16-17: Authentic Greek food, with takeout available, homemade pastries, church tours, agora (marketplace), live Greek music and entertainment highlight the 52nd annual event. Noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 313 Tokay Ave., Modesto. $ 15 presale, $ 18 at the door; age 12 and under $ 9. 209-522-7694.
COLUMBIA ART SHOW – Sept. 17: This 45th annual event features more than 50 painters, potters, sculptors and photographers displaying art on the streets of Columbia State Historic Park. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Columbia State Historic Park, Main and State streets. Free. 209-536-1329.
MODESTO INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE FESTIVAL – Sept. 17-24: Tenth annual fest features tours, exhibits, international movies, workshops, speakers, installations, kids activities and special events. Events held at various locations at various times; mostly free. www.modestoarchfest.com.
GRACEADA OKTOBERFEST – Sept. 23: Authentic Oktoberfest featuring German singalongs, traditional German food and other Oktoberfest activities. 5 p.m. Graceada Park, 401 Needham Drive, Modesto. $ 20 in advance at http://bit.ly/graceadaoktoberfest or www.ticketfly.com; also at some Boyett Petroleum locations, cash only.
COYOTEFEST – Sept. 23: This 32nd annual event features a coyote howl contest, live music, booths, food and vendors, kids activities, antique and classic car show and parade. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Downtown Coulterville. Free. coultervillehistorycenter.org
IRONSTONE CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE – Sept. 23: 21st event with more than 300 antique and classic cars and other vehicles. 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ironstone Vineyards, 1894 Six Mile Road, Murphys. For ticket information, call 209-269-6950.
FIDDLE & BANGO CONTEST AND CHILI COOK-OFF – Sept. 30: Yes, they spell it “bango,” a nod to a misspelling way back when this 35th annual event began. More than 40 musicians compete for prizes for fiddle, banjo, vocal, guitar, mandolin and song categories. Chili cook-off, too. 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gazebo at Columbia State Historic Park. Contest free, chili $ 5. 209-536-1672.
MOTOWN BOOGIE HIP-HOP FESTIVAL – Sept. 30: This family event will present break dance contests, an Urban Art Show, B-Boy guest dancers performance. Professional dancer Ivan “Urban Action Figure” Manriquez and D.J. Hocus Manriquez host. 2-7 p.m. Maddux Youth Center, 615 Sierra Drive, Modesto. Free. 209-341-2951.