8 of the Best Fall Festivals in and Around Oakland

Family-friendly festivals that involve delicious food, great music and lively entertainment are especially plentiful during late summer and early fall. And some of the most delightful fall festivals in California take place in and around Oakland. Many are an easy drive from Lake Park Retirement Community and great opportunities to get outside with friends, family or grandchildren.

To help you celebrate the season and find a welcome break in your routine, here is our list of the best family-friendly fall festivals happening in the Oakland area that those of any age will enjoy attending.

12th Annual Life is Living Festival 2019

Held at DeFremery Park in Oakland on Saturday, October 12, the 12th Annual Life is Living Festival is a lively celebration of living in the vibrant city of Oakland, Life is Living promotes community well-being and the creative, compassionate power of the people. You’ll find theatrical performances, reggae music bands, educational science/technology booths and poetry readings happening throughout the day at Life is Living Festival. The Festival opens at 10:00 am, closes at 7:00 pm and is free for all ages.

West Oakland Grown Harvest Festival

Held every October, the West Oakland Grown Harvest Festival celebrates the wonderful West Oakland Community with a wide variety of delicious homemade foods, scarecrow-building contests, live music and workshops providing instructional education regarding nutrition, gardening and holistic medicines. Kids will enjoy bouncy houses, pumpkin carving workshops and cooking classes.

Oaktoberfest in the Dimond

Oaktoberfest is a free annual celebration of everything Bay area. Held in Oakland’s Dimond District, Oaktoberfest is a two-day event with over a thousand displays and booths featuring craft beer, arts and crafts, entertainment venues and, of course, an unending supply of German food.

Oaktoberfest’s highlights include a Biergarten, Bay area vendors and an Eco Fair featuring interesting ecological literacy. This year’s festival was hosted by the Dimond Business and Professional Association and the Dimond Improvement Association. The 2019 Oaktoberfest raised funds for community improvement and development projects and for future festivals.

This year’s Oaktober fest was held on October 5th and 6th. If you missed it, make sure to mark your calendar for next year. Oaktoberfest happens during the first week of October every year and is considered the “place to be” when it comes to fall festivals in California.

Autumn Lights Festival

Held in October at the Gardens at Lake Merritt, the Autumn Lights Festival is the perfect place to take parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents to enjoy a delightful fall evening in Oakland. Food, wine, beer, fire dancers and gorgeous displays of lights flickering across the night sky are just a few things showcased at the Autumn Lights Festival.

Event organizers strongly recommend purchasing tickets in advance. Price for advance tickets is $20. Tickets bought at the door are $25. Children under 13 can get in for $7 (advance tickets), while tickets bought at the door for youths cost $10.

Eat Real Festival 2019

If you couldn’t make it the Eat Real Festival held on September 21 (11:00 am to 10:00 pm) and September 22 (11:00 am to 6:00 pm) in Oakland, mark it down on your calendar as a “must go to” event for the whole family in 2020.  Held at Jack London Square, the Eat Real Festival is a lively, fun combination of block party, food festival and mini-state fair complete with rides, games and other family-friendly activities. In addition, Eat Real has display booths providing fascinating information about food origins, who grows the food we eat and how to make a variety of dishes.

The mission of the Eat Real Festival is to encourage revitalization of area food systems and increase public awareness of how vital home-grown, natural food is everyone’s health and well-being. Eat Real also supports the non-profit Baykeeper organization that focuses on ensuring the bay is kept clean and pollution-free.

26th Annual Downtown Alameda Classic Car Show

Calling all classic car lovers! On October 12, Alameda will have its annual Classic Car Show between Buena Vista Avenue and Encinal Avenue (along Park Street). From showcasing muscle cars and hot rods to charming antique roadsters from the 1920s, Alameda’s car show is sure to be a fun, family-friendly day in the sun. Admission for all ages is free. However, registration for displaying classic cars is closed.

The parade of approximately 400 cars begins at 7:00 am and ends at 9:00 am. All cars registered to participate in the Classic Car Show will drive to their assigned parking spot at the festival.

New to the show in 2019 is the partnering of the Downtown Alameda Business Association and Alameda Municipal Power to provide the public with information about the advantages to owning electric vehicles. You can browse displays of EVs along Central Avenue at Park St., learn about charging electric vehicles and meet with EV owners.

Downtown Alameda businesses will be open on the day of the Classic Car Show. Before or after attending the show, you can shop, visit interesting boutiques and dine at one of dozens of great restaurants offering American, Italian, Asian and Mediterranean food.

Dia de los Muertos in Oakland

A free festival attracting thousands of people from Oakland and surrounding areas, this year’s Dia de los Muertos festival will be held on November 2 between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. It is famous throughout California for its Latin American live music, exciting rides, family-friendly entertainment and games and amazing Aztec dancers. California Congresswoman Barbara Lee advocated and succeeding in having this festival put permanently into the U.S. Library of Congress.

The location of the Dia de Los Muertos Festival is in Fruitvale Village at the intersection of 33rd Avenue and East 12th Street in Oakland.

Deck the Hulls Lighted Yacht Parade

Fall festivals in California become delightful winter festivals in California by mid-November. If you miss attending Oakland area fall festivals, you’ll be happy to know that on Saturday, December 7, 2019, the Deck the Hulls Lighted Yacht Parade at the Alameda Estuary is expected to boast the most boat entries ever in the history of the parade. No registration is necessary if yacht and boat owners wish to participate. Additionally, sponsors will be able to sponsor an individual boat if they wish. Local organizations and youth groups are encouraged to enter boats. Also, the parade committee is matching entries with sponsors to help with paying entry fees and lights.

Organizers of Deck the Hulls Lighted Yacht Parade are offering bigger prizes, more awards and, of course, the Skipper’s Bag this year. Yachts participating in the festival will begin staging between the Fortman Marina’s pier and Wind River at dusk. All boats start traveling down Alameda’s side past the Oakland Yacht Clubs and Encinal. Judges will evaluate each lighted boat as they proceed past them.

Don’t Miss California’s Fall Festivals

With so many fun, family-friendly and handicapped-accessible events to attend and enjoy, Oakland, CA is a popular place for people to move to and retire in the U.S. These and other festivals are common occurrences in the area, creating a vibrant, active community where families and adults can enjoy their time not just in autumn, but throughout the year.

At Lake Park, we encourage our residents and their friends, family and grandchildren to take advantage of local events. Our retirement community is located in a great area that provides easy access to many parts of Oakland and surrounding cities. Even better, our residents enjoy beautiful views of scenic East Bay Hills and Lake Merritt every day. If you would like to learn more about our beautiful, warm retirement community, contact Lake Park today.

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