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10 Things to do this weekend in Northern California | September 13-15

With several festivals, block parties, pepper eating contests(?!) and more, there's a lot going on this weekend to keep you busy! Read on.

SACRAMENTO, California — Great locally grown food, wine, and even a pepper eating contest are some of the staples of this weekend's events.

It will be another pleasant weekend outdoors and several festivals will be taking advantage of the great weather. 

One of the more unique events this weekend is going down in Auburn. If your idea of fun is testing your mettle against some of the hottest peppers and sauces, you won't want to miss the Pepper Festival.

Down in the Bay, you can get to vote for (and more importantly taste!) what will be crowned the "Best Bloody Mary in San Francisco" at the 6th Annual Bloody Mary Festival.

Or you could head up Highway 50 and you can go to El Dorado Hills' first-ever Brewfest. Organizers boast that there will be more than three dozen local brewers participating. Keep driving and you can try out Tahoe's version of the Farm-to-Fork Festival, "Sample the Sierra."

If you want to stick closer to home, Franklin Boulevard is celebrating Mexican Independence Day with their Annual "Back to the Boulevard" event. Or head over to Midtown for the final "This Midtown Block Party" of 2019.

And if you're looking for a unique movie night, you can see one projected on the side of Sutter's Fort on Saturday at Gather: Movies at the Fort.

Scroll on down to see more about what's happening this weekend.

Do you have an event idea? Send your suggestions to mnuttle@abc10.com

Gather: Movies at the Fort

When: Saturday, Sept. 14 | 5 to 9 p.m.

Where: Sutter's Fort, 28th and L Streets, Sacramento

Gather: Movies at the Fort will wrap up their second successful season of hosting free movie nights at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park this Saturday. 

“We’re thrilled to expand our summer outdoor movie program to offer two free, family-friendly movies each month in Midtown,” Emily Baime Michaels, executive director of the Midtown Association, said.

Since June, Gather has taken its guests on a trip through the decades beginning in the 80s. This Saturday's event wraps up their 2019 run with a 20-10's theme, complete with two popular movies from this decade: Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse and Zootopia.

“Given our already robust offering of events and activities, free movie showings on the iconic walls of Sutter’s Fort provide yet another signature experience to encourage the community to visit and linger longer in our amazing district,” Michaels said.

The event (did I mention it is FREE to attend?) begins at 5 p.m., first with a DJ performance, beer, wine and other cocktails for the adults in attendance, a lounge area, and an art market. Movies begin at Sundown, shown simultaneously (so pick which movie you really want to see the most) and projected on the west and east side walls of the fort.


  • FREE!
Credit: Midtown Association

This Midtown 2019 Finale

When: Saturday, Sept. 14 | 5 to 10 p.m.

Where: 20th and K Streets, Sacramento

“This Midtown Block Party” returns this Saturday for their final event of 2019.

This wildly popular event fills the streets in the Lavender Heights District in Midtown Sacramento.

The finale event features musician Anna Lunoe to bring a close to a summer filled with amazing performances. Supporting acts this Saturday include Mike Diamond, My Cousin Vinny, Anthony Romero, Alexx Gold, JayTwo, and DJ Mosean.

All ages are welcome to attend. Of course, you have to be 21+ if you want to drink. Food, beverage, and merchandise vendors will be on-site, too. And if you RSVP, you can get in for FREE!


Credit: dannikonov
Silhouettes of people at a rock concert in front of the stage.

Back to the Boulevard

When: Sunday, Sept. 15 | Noon to 6 p.m.

Where: Franklin Boulevard, 12th to 26th Avenues, Sacramento

Back to the Boulevard is the Franklin Boulevard Business District’s celebration of Mexican Independence Day.

For the 13th iteration of this event, the district decided to convert their typical parade to a car show and shine event, out of a demand by the community and their local car clubs.

This year’s event will have 350(!) cars cruising the district, the area of Franklin Boulevard between 12th Avenue and 26th Avenue, as well as food vendors, local brews, and plenty of fun things to do for children who attend.

You can even register to show off your car if you’d like. Early registration costs $35 and day-of registration is $50. Check-in starts at noon, followed by a mini-parade at 1:45 p.m. Then there’s the cruise topped off by the show and shine.


  • FREE!
Credit: Franklin Boulevard Business District

El Dorado Hills Brewfest

When: Saturday, Sept. 14 | 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Serrano Visitors Center, 4525 Serrano Parkway, El Dorado Hills

The inaugural El Dorado Hills Brewfest is set to kick off this Saturday at the Serrano Visitors Center.

Almost 40 breweries will be on hand for this event, including some wineries, cideries, meaderies, and sake-makers. And, in case you were wondering, there will also be food, too. 

Food trucks, as well as complimentary pairings, will be featured at this event. There will also be live music, games and other forms of entertainment on-site to round out the evening.

The El Dorado Chamber of Commerce started up the Brewfest, which it anticipates will be an annual event, “to showcase our wonderful community to the Sacramento Region, with the ultimate goal of someone deciding to relocate here or better yet, relocate their business here.”


  • Early bird pricing is already sold out.
  • $30 – Party pack. Includes unlimited tastings and a souvenir tasting glass.
  • $35 – General admission. Includes unlimited tastings and a souvenir tasting glass.
  • $50 – VIP admission. Includes early entry (2 p.m.), unlimited tastings, a larger souvenir tasting glass and a re-usable swag bag.
  • $15 – Designated driver admission.
Credit: Beers in Sac

Lodi Grape Festival

When: Thursday, Sept. 12, 4 to 11 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 13, Noon to Midnight; Saturday, Sept. 14, Noon to Midnight; and Sunday Sept. 15, Noon to 11 p.m.

Where: 413 East Lockeford Street, Lodi

With hundreds of vendors and grapes galore, the Lodi Grape Festival is an event that truly has to be seen to be believed.

Going back more than 80 years, the Lodi Grape Festival is one of the flagship festivals in California. More than 70,000 people attend the Grap festival each year.

“It’s a celebration of the harvest every year,” Grape Festival CEO Mark Armstrong said. “There’s every variety of grape that you can imagine here.”

RELATED: Everything you need to know for the Lodi Grape Festival

And although the grapes and the wine take center stage, there are still plenty of other entertaining aspects, including live music, food vendors, a carnival and petting zoo for the kids, and other stage performances.


  • Adult admission, ages 13 and older - $10
  • Youth admission, ages 6 to 12 - $6
  • Ages 5 and under – Free
Credit: ah_fotobox/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sunset over vineyards with red wine grapes in late summer

Auburn Pepper Festival

When: Saturday, Sept. 14 | 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Gold Country Fairgrounds, 1273 High Street, Auburn

The Pepper Festival and Hot Sauce Expo is bringing the heat to Auburn this weekend.

More than 25 small batch hot sauce companies will be on hand offering a wide range of fiery concoctions sure to test your mettle.

There will be food trucks, an adult bounce house (you read that right), and a kids’ play area. There will even be celebrity chef and master gardener workshops, local vendors and more, just in case your mouth needs a chance to cool down.

Guests will also enjoy live musical performances by Riff/Raff (an AC/DC tribute band), Petty Luv (a Tom Petty Tribute group), and more!

But that’s not all! The event is highlighted with a showdown between two pepper eating champions: From the United States, Dustin “Atomik Menace" Johnson versus England’s champion, Shahina “UK Chilli Queen” Waseem. This contest is preceded by the Pepper Festival’s own hot pepper eating contest at 6 p.m.


  • $15 – General admission
  • $150 – VIP admission*

[*Includes private dinner the night before the festival. VIP Dinner includes a catered meal, beverages, live entertainment, and a sponsor swag bag.

Entry into VIP Lounge, the building next to the main stage, with refreshments, food, air conditioning, and an outdoor patio right up against the stage to enjoy the live bands & entertainers.

Each VIP ticket holder will receive a 2019 Pepper Festival T-shirt, Pepper Festival Hot Sauce and other swag to be determined.]

Credit: Pepper Festival & Hot Sauce Expo

Sample The Sierra 2019

When: Saturday, Sept. 14 | Noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Bijou Community Park, 1201 Al Tahoe Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe

The 10th Annual Sample the Sierra, Lake Tahoe's farm-to-fork-festival, is going down this Saturday at South Lake Tahoe's Bijou Community Park.

More than 60 vendors will be on hand to offer guests "a comprehensive taste of the unique flavors of the region." Festival-goers can expect farm-fresh produce, incredible beers from local brewers, and locally made wines and spirits.

Sample the Sierra even goes the extra mile to offer guests paring suggestions for all participating food and drink vendors at the festival.

There will be live musical performances beginning at noon with local band Rebel Tahoe Heart on the Main Stage until 2 p.m.

Also back this year is the Sierra Chef Challenge featuring Michael Sheldon, an amateur chef who was on Gordon Ramsay’s “Masterchef,” Michael Lynard of Cold Water Brewery & Grill, Andrew Anderson of Gunbarrel Tavern and Eatery, Lonny Huot of Edgewood Tahoe, and Dean Hiatt of Poor Red’s Marketplace, according to event organizers.


  • $50 – Full tasting ticket. Includes unlimited food, wine, beer and spirit tasting, along with a commemorative tasting glass.
  • $40 – Designated driver ticket for those attending who are not drinking alcohol or for those under 21 years of age.
  • $7 – 10th-anniversary canvas tote bag.
Credit: Matt Morning
Sample the Sierra 2014

9th Annual Barbera Festival

When: Saturday, Sept. 14 | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Terra d'Oro Winery, 20680 Shenandoah School Road, Plymouth, Calif.

The 9th Annual Barbera Festival is set to take over the meadow at the Terra d’Oro Winery in Plymouth this weekend.

The festival has live music, interactive stations (you don’t want to miss the “Rescued Raptors” station), arts and crafts vendors, and, of course, wine tastings with more than 60 participating wineries. Five caterers will also participate in this year’s event, with menus designed to pair perfectly with your wine selections.

In addition to all of the festivities, there will also be live musical performances by Jesse Hendricks, Patrick Walsh, and Jasmine Bailey.

In case you were wondering, Barbera is an Italian wine grape. According to festival organizers, the grape was first brought to Amador County in the 1970s as one of the first “new” grape varieties planted commercially.


  • $55 – General admission (early bird).
  • $70 – Wine & Dine package. Package includes admission to the festival and $16 in Barbera Bucks.
  • $25 – Designated driver entry. Includes $10 in Barbera Bucks and unlimited non-alcoholic beverages.
  • $60 – Heritage Group ticket.

[After September 10, tickets can only be purchased on the day of the event at the gate. Day-of general admission tickets cost $60. There are no “wine & dine” tickets available on the day of the event.]

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Hands toasting red wine glass and friends having fun cheering at winetasting experience - Young people enjoying harvest time together at farmhouse vineyard countryside - Youth and friendship concept

Vaca Art, Wine, And Brew Stroll

When: Saturday, Sept. 14 | 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Downtown Vacaville, 1 Town Square Place, Vacaville

Downtown Vacaville will be packed this weekend for their 20th Annual Art, Wine and Brew Stroll.

The day starts with a “meet-the-merchant” stroll through downtown with more than 10 pairings of food, beer and/or wine. There will also be plenty of opportunities to shop from local vendors, not to mention displays from local artists. Local band “Yuppie Liberation Front” will also be performing in Town Square.

Admission is free, but if you want in on the tasting and the raffle drawing, you have to purchase a ticket.

This year’s event is part of Vacaville’s inaugural citywide VACA Arts Week going on from Sept. 13 to Sept. 22.


  • $20 – Early bird ticket.
  • $25 – General admission at the gate.

[Guests receive a souvenir glass, a map, and a passport/raffle card.]

Credit: ABC10

San Francisco Bloody Mary Festival

When: Saturday, Sept. 14 | Session times vary

Where: SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan Street, San Francisco

Billed as the largest event of its kind, The Bloody Mary Festival is back in San Francisco for their sixth annual event in the Bay.

This national cocktail festival brings innovative and crafty mixtures for everyone's favorites brunch beverage. All of the Bloody Mary mixtures are curated by a team of aficionados and made by some of your favorite local bars and restaurants.

Guests can try as many as they'd like and vote for their favorite. A "People's Choice" will be awarded. There will also be a panel of professional judges who will ultimately select the "Best Bloody Mary in San Francisco!"

Participants for the 6th Annual Bloody Mary Festival include: The Front Porch, Seawolf Public House, The Ramp, Foreign Cinema, St Mary's Pub, Cliff House, The Valley Tavern, Crown & Crow American Bar, Bluestem Brasserie, Rum & Sugar, Agave, Barrel Proof, Pablito's Michelada Mix, Demitri's Gourmet Mixes, McDuff's Mixers, and McVicker's Pickles. More are expected as the event draws closer.


  • $45 – General admission into Session 1 (11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
  • $55 – “Bloody Baller” VIP early admission into Session 1 (10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
  • $45 – General admission into Session 2 (3:45 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • $55 – “Bloody Baller” VIP early admission into Session 2 (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
Credit: The Bloody Mary Festival

Do you have an event idea? Send your suggestions to mnuttle@abc10.com

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