Food Celebrations in Oregon and California

Fall brings out the best in festivals celebrating food, wine and beer throughout the West Coast. This year is no exception with pumpkin carvings to posh chef demonstrations.

Foodies and families will want to mark October 14-16 on the calendar to remember to attend the 29th Annual Hood River Valley Harvest Fest. It’s held at the Hood River event site overlooking the Columbia River at 110 Portway Avenue. Join in the old-fashioned harvest festival that features local produce and food products, arts and crafts, wine- and beer-tastings and live music. One highlight is the carving of an 800-pound pumpkin by the Guinness Book Record Holder. Admission is $6; kids 12 and under are free.

The 8th annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is a fantasia for lovers of premier wine and spirits, chefs, culinary personalities and gourmet foods. Coming up the week of November 16-20, 2011, the event is a benefit for the American Institute of Wine & Food culinary arts scholarship program. More than 170 wineries, 70 of San Diego’s top restaurants and 30 gourmet food companies plan to participate. The Grand Tasting Event is Nov. 19, 12-3 pm, and tickets are $125 in advance or $150 at the door at Embarcadero Park North behind Seaport Village. It’s the finale of the five-day festival.

In north San Diego County, The Gourmet Experience returns to O’Brien Hall at the Del Mar Fairgrounds October 8 and 9, 11 am‒5 pm. The event features hundreds of culinary, luxury, home and lifestyle products and services catering to your refined and sophisticated tastes. Test out and purchase kitchen equipment and gadgets, get up-close with celebrated chefs and taste new gourmet foods and wine.

-Josef Aukee