Festivals and Events
Chefs' Holidays. Celebrated chefs present cooking demonstrations and multicourse meals at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Village on weekends from mid-January to early February. Two-night packages are $332 to $449 per person, three-night packages $399 to $574 per person. Space is limited. 559/253–5641. www.yosemitepark.com.
Fireman's Muster. North of Sonora in the old mining town of Columbia, history springs to life at this festival of antique fire engines, with hose-spraying contests and a parade of the old pumpers. 209/536–1672.
Mother Lode Roundup Parade and Rodeo. On Mother's Day weekend, the town of Sonora celebrates its gold-mining, agricultural, and lumbering heritage with a parade, rodeo, entertainment, and food. 209/532–7428. www.motherloderoundup.com.
Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee. This festival, founded in 1989, features more than 20 different bands that play in a variety of venues, most with dance floors. 760/934–2478. www.mammothjazz.org.
Mother Lode Fair. Sonora was settled by miners from Mexico, and the town has never forgotten its gold-mining roots. This fair at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds celebrates this unique time in California history on a weekend in the middle of July. 209/532–7428. motherlodefair.org.
Bluesapalooza. The first weekend of every August, Mammoth Lakes hosts a blues and beer festival—with an emphasis on the beer tasting. 888/992–7397. www.mammothbluesbrewsfest.com.
Sierra Art Trails. The work of more than 100 artists is on display in studios and galleries throughout eastern Madera and Mariposa counties. Purchase the catalog of locations and hours at area shops. 559/658–8844. www.sierraarttrails.org.
Vintners' Holidays. Free two- and three-day seminars by some of California's most prestigious vintners are held midweek in the Great Room of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Village. They culminate with an elegant—albeit pricey—banquet dinner. Arrive early for seats in the free seminars; book early for lodging and dining packages ($664–$1,148). 559/253–5641. www.yosemitepark.com.
Bracebridge Dinner. Held at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Village every Christmas since 1928, this 17th-century-theme madrigal dinner is so popular that most seats are booked months in advance. Lodging packages start at $975, or $1,269 if you want to stay at the Ahwahnee. 801/252–4848. www.bracebridgedinners.com.