Take your pick of four fabulous festivals held in Santa Barbara this weekend.
It’s not just the poodle parade. Nor is it the giant Eiffel Tower reproduction, frothy café au laits, freshly cooked crepes or the can-can dancers. The French Festival is all these things, all at once … and more. Oak Park is magically transported to France from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for a free celebration of all things France.
Music is nonstop on three stages, including one just for accordion music, and there’s a dance floor should the spirit move you. In all, more than 30 acts perform including jazz, tango, can-can and Cajun, plus tributes to both Edith Piaf and Django Reinhardt. The Femmes Fatale Drag Revue is not to be missed.
Beer, wine, Perrier and Champagne are poured, and the variety of food does not disappoint: from baked goods and pastries to quiche, pate, escargot, onion soup, cheese, and sausage and “le hot dog.” Amuses-toi bien! (502 W. Alamar Ave., www.frenchfestival.com).
French Film Festival
Eleven new French films are being screened during the Wave Film Festival, presented by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), which concludes this weekend. Tickets are only $10 each for the examples of French cinema, and screenings are nonstop today, July 17, from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. each day at the Riviera Theatre. All are in French with English subtitles.
The Wave’s director Mickey Duzdevich promises the lineup “focuses on the creativity and magic of French storytelling, crafted to keep you on the edge of your seats, leave you in stitches and tug at your heartstrings.” Ooh-la-la, indeed! (2044 Alameda Padre Serra, www.sbiff.org)
Japanese Obon Festival
In Japan, Obon is a time when Buddhists honor their ancestors. In addition to special observances, group dances are performed, which vary by region, with some using fans, colorful small towels (tenugui) or small wooden clappers (kachi-kachi).
Celebrate Obon on Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Buddhist Church of Santa Barbara. Observe or join in the dancing, see karate demonstrations, enjoy origami, games, flower arranging, bonsai and Japanese crafts. Admission is free and a Bento box lunch is just $8. (1015 E. Montecito St., 962-3633, www.buddhistchurchofsantabarbara.org/obon).
Huge wine festival
Saturday’s California Wine Festival is a huge, sun-baked extravaganza for oenophiles (wine lovers). Seventy wineries from the Golden State are pouring, as are 10 breweries. There’s food from local restaurants, with an emphasis on fresh fish, plus fine chocolates and dessert items. The fun starts at 1 p.m. held at East Beach. Tickets are $69.
Two prefestival tastings will be held today, July 17. “Paso’s Cab Comeback” at 6 p.m. at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort focuses on the rise of local Cabernet Sauvignons. The Sunset Reserve & Rare Tasting at 6:30 p.m. offers “the good stuff” from around the state, gourmet appetizers and live music at scenic Chase Palm Park (www.californiawinefestival.com).