Skip to main content

Breaking Down Annual Santa Cruz Events and Festivals

Breaking Down Annual Santa Cruz Events and Festivals

Explore the year-round brilliance of Santa Cruz's vibrant community by looking at all the city's annual events and festivals.


3 min read

June 18, 2024

Amy Jeske is a local Santa Cruz realtor that knows the area like the back of her hand. Making the move to a new town can be an intimidating experience, Jeske makes things easy with a wealth of experience and ensures every relocation is as smooth as can be. Amy Jeske is a member of the Recommended Business Program.

Santa Cruz, like many major cities in California, offers a diverse tapestry of cultures and experiences that creates a unique community. Santa Cruz isn’t just its beaches and iconic surf culture. There are plenty of annual festivals that bring the community together and highlights the depth found within Santa Cruz, both the city and the county. From longstanding races to cultural celebrations, Santa Cruz offers something for everyone throughout the year.

Surfer’s Path Runs

Kicking off the year with a burst of energy and enthusiasm, the Surfer’s Path Runs are a must for running enthusiasts and casual joggers alike. Held in February, the event features both 10k and 5k races, taking participants on a scenic route along the stunning Santa Cruz coastline.

In addition to the shorter races, the Surfer’s Path Half Marathon takes place later in the year in April. This race is a longer test of endurance, drawing in more seasoned runners who want the challenge of a half marathon. The course is designed to highlight the natural beauty of Santa Cruz, with stretches that offer breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean

The Santa Cruz coastline is one of the state's most beautiful natural areas.

Downtown Santa Cruz Greek Festival

Every September, the Downtown Santa Cruz Greek Festival delivers a lively celebration of Greek culture. Organized by the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church, this festival has been a beloved tradition for over 30 years. What began as a modest gathering in a courtyard has grown into a sizable party that draws thousands of attendees.

Visitors to the Greek Festival are treated to an immersive cultural experience. The air is filled with the enticing aromas of authentic Greek cuisine, from savory gyros to sweet baklava. Live music and traditional Greek dances create a celebratory atmosphere. It’s a day-long event where people of all ages can come together to enjoy the richness of Greek heritage.

Wharf to Wharf Race

On the fourth Sunday in July, Santa Cruz plays host to one of its most iconic events: the Wharf to Wharf race. First run in 1973, this six-mile race from Santa Cruz to Capitola-by-the-Sea attracts thousands of runners from across America and around the globe. The race is not only a test of speed and endurance but also a scenic journey along one of the most beautiful stretches of California coastline.

Participants and spectators alike revel in the festive atmosphere. Bands and cheering crowds line the route, providing encouragement and entertainment. The Wharf to Wharf race is a community celebration that showcases the spirit and beauty of Santa Cruz.

The annual Wharf to Wharf race has a 70-year history in Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz County Fair

The Santa Cruz County Fair takes center stage. This annual event is a celebration of the region’s agricultural heritage and offers a blend of traditional fair attractions and modern entertainment. There’s a variety of different exhibits showcasing local arts, crafts and other creations.

The fairgrounds burst with the community and food is in abundance to enjoy. This family-friendly event captures why the Santa Cruz community is so special, providing a space for residents and visitors to connect and celebrate together.

Watsonville Strawberry Festival

Held in nearby Watsonville, the Watsonville Strawberry Festival festival celebrates one of the region’s most famous agricultural products: strawberries. It’s a sweet and savory affair, with food vendors offering a plethora of strawberry-themed dishes, from strawberry shortcake to strawberry-infused beverages.

In addition to the culinary confections, the Watsonville Strawberry Festival features live music, arts and crafts booths, and activities for children. It’s a vibrant celebration of local produce and a testament to the importance of agriculture in the Santa Cruz area. It’s a full-featured strawberry bonanza.

Recomended businesses

Show me
Recommended Businesses near

Discover the best of California. Our recommended businesses are top-quality and are committed to their communities.

Santa Cruz Annual Chili Cook-Off

Every October, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk becomes a haven for food lovers and spice enthusiasts during the Annual Chili Cook-Off. This fiery competition sees local chefs and amateur cooks go head-to-head, crafting their best chili recipes to impress a panel of judges and the crowd of eager tasters. You wouldn’t normally associate Santa Cruz with chili, but rest assured the food here is crafted by experts. Enjoy sampling a wide variety of styles of chili that reflects the same diversity that makes Santa Cruz, and California as a whole, great.

Need help with a home improvement project? Get a free quote today!

Enter Your Zip Code

Enter Your Zip Code

RELATED Articles

Discover More

fueled by the power of California love
We're committed to helping you discover the places, people and businesses that make our state Golden. Our online publication, updated daily, brings you all the content you need to live your California dreams. And that's just the beginning…
Purpose section
Purpose section