With the fall season, Southlanders have many opportunities to celebrate. These five festivals combine traditions both native and transplanted to California. From LA urban culture to European, and from Aztec to indigenous maritime cultures, these celebrations are a sharing of moderns with the spirits of our diverse pasts. All are welcome, and it’s all about enjoyment as we say goodbye to the summer and hello to the holiday season.
El Dia de Los Muertos
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
6000 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
El Dia de Los Muertos is a traditional Mexican national holiday, celebrated much like Halloween to the north, which commemorates those who have passed before us. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the resting place of Hollywood’s early immortals, and surely they would welcome a celebration such as this. With processions, dancing and rituals, the pre-Colombian Aztec culture comes to the Southland full-force, but it’s a celebration of life as much as a commemoration of the dead. From vendors with food, arts and crafts, to costume contests and exhibits, there will be no lack of entertainment at this annual event.
Farmers Market Fall Festival
6333 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Oct. 19 and 20
The Farmers Market is a decades-old iconic open market where vendors come together selling a cornucopia of produce, meats, baked goods and more. For these two days, visitors will celebrate the fall harvest with crafts and entertainment. Special plays, carnival games and petting zoos have been popular with children. For adults, there will be special activities and musical bands. In all, it’s an all-day, non-stop event and shopping spree.
Moompetam: Native American Festival
Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802
Sept. 21 and 22
Long before the European discovery of the Americas, the Southland and Central Coast was a highly populated and culturally distinct area. The Moompetam: Native American Festival is an authentic traditional celebration of the coastal tribes of the Kumeyaay, Tongva, Acjachemen, Costanoan, Luiseño and Chumash. These tribes combined are a unique culture as compared to groups popularized in the media. This ninth festival brings, once again, educational programs, demonstrations and storytelling. The art, craft, dance and music brings to life California’s past as practiced by the descendants of the ancients.
Washington Blvd. and Dusquene Ave.
Culver City, CA 90034
“California’s best kept secret” is Culver City’s street festivals held every third Wednesday during the fall. It’s a staycation amid the tree-lined downtown with nearby restaurants, shops and theaters. Each third Wednesday is a great opportunity to sample menus from some of Culver City’s most exclusive restaurants and bars. Festival goers can also shop at some of the great boutiques which promote special offers during the festival. Work up an appetite with some fun activities that rotate each festival night. Appropriate for families, live music, vendors and the downtown’s ambiance combine to sustain this urban cultural center.
Oktoberfest at the Alpine Village
Alpine Village Center
833 W. Torrance Blvd
Torrance, CA 90502
Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 23
Oktoberfest is a 200-year-old German celebration that is all about a good party. Fridays and Saturdays are centered on adult entertainment, while Sundays have family-friendly activities. The annual event has many attending in traditional German dress and practicing traditional group dancing. Since 1968, it remains to be the biggest Oktoberfest celebration in the Southland. Big bands, beer and German food make the festival a real taste of Germany. Everyone will be a Deutschlander for a day.
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Robert Cuthbert is a freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. His work can be found on Examiner.com.