If classic cars and wine, art and wine, or pears and wine make you whine, you'll want to stay out of Lamorinda for the rest of September.
For most everyone else, the ninth annual Orinda Classic Car Show (Sept. 20-22), the 18th annual Lafayette Art & Wine Festival (Sept. 21-22) and the 15th Annual Moraga Pear & Wine Festival (Sept. 28) are in line to keep glasses full. Lamorinda will be a wine lover's bonanza, with plenty of other fun to boot.
Perhaps a tribute to the area's booming local vineyards, or simply reflective of the realization that good grapes go well with beautiful cars, awesome bands and authentic, homemade pies, wine is not the only treat making local festivals swing and sing.
In Orinda, a "Dancing with the Cars" pre-party includes hosted champagne cocktails and bathtub gin. It's a Prohibition-era theme in the Orinda Library Plaza, where the 26 Orinda Way bookies hangout is re-dubbed speakeasy "Club 26" for the occasion. Food and fantastic cars from the 20s and 30s will spur guests to fill the Educational Foundation of Orinda's coffers during a live auction.
For those rare birds disinclined to wine, there's usually craft beer on hand, too.
On Saturday, the price of admission (it's free!) includes more than 200 classic and modern exotic cars, including Lotus race and sports cars that seconded as film stars in the American movie classic, "Gone in 60 Seconds." The film screens at the Orinda Theatre on Sunday to end the festival (admission is a $10-spot). And note: the 5:30 and 7 p.m. movie showings include beer and wine.
Not 24 hours after sister city Orinda bootleg's their party into action, Lafayette turns up the volume.
"Many bands are local," Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jay Lifson says of the festival's four-stage mashup. "Paul Cotrovo from Cover2Cover went to Acalanes (High School). Ken Cooper from Mersey Beach is one of the original Buzztones. And there is more."
Sure is, including Fleetwood Mask, a cover band that won the "Covers Cup" competition at Walnut Creek's Red House Studio.
"We had them play (after winning and as part of the prize), and now they are one of the hottest cover bands around. We launched them. And they are back," Lifson boasts.
Local artists and vintners from the Lamorinda Winegrowers Association will display and sell their wares. Accompanying the heady mix, there'll be beer and ale craftspeople, along with dogs, kids on bikes, families with strollers and more than 20 restaurants, plus food trucks adding to the aroma. In addition to free admission, no-charge acoustic and bountiful visual entertainment, parking at BART, riding the shuttle and even free, secure valet bike parking are available.
If wandering the art booths lining the streets of Lafayette isn't enough, you can hop on the bus and scoot up the hill to Moraga, where the Big Band of Rossmoor is playing at the New Rheem Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 21, with dance instructor Gail Enright on hand to make sure you don't embarrass yourself. It's another $10-spot ticket (purchase at the door or through the Lafayette chamber) for your place on the dance floor.
The local fun continues the following weekend, with Moraga's Pear & Wine Festival on Sept. 28. With a rich, lengthy pear-related history, residents do a full body dive into the nostalgia of pies, posters and perfectly scrumptious treats from local restaurants and businesses. There's DJ RyanO to pump the partial roof off the Moraga Commons band shell, bouncy-houses for the younger set, grape stomping for everybody and the annual recipe and poster contests (the poster winner is the fall's activity guide front cover winner too). And there's wine, just about as local as you can get it -- several boutique vineyards operate within a two-mile radius of the festival's action.