KQED Guides

Guide to the Bay’s Most Offbeat Events

Updated: June 2, 2014

San Francisco Mime Troupe

Introduce these oddball events into your social network and watch your Klout score climb. Of course, what might be offbeat elsewhere is often a cultural mainstay in the Bay Area. Warning: Your trendsetting may vary.

GILROY GARLIC FESTIVAL
July 25 – 27, 2014
Christmas Hill Park, Gilroy
$20
The annual Garlic Fest is described as the “Ultimate Summer Food Fair,” with three days of food, beverages, arts, crafts and live entertainment. Don’t worry, you won’t be the only one who needs a mint.

Flickr:MayWong

BERKELEY KITE FESTIVAL
July 26-27, 2014
Berkeley Marina
FREE
A quirky festival for more than just kids, the Berkeley Kite Festival features artistic kites, high-flyers, and plenty of opportunities to make your own.

UP YOUR ALLEY @ THE FOLSOM STREET FAIR
July 27, 2014
Dore Alley at Folsom, San Francisco
FREE
This is the ultimate fetish fair with 15,000 “leatherfolk” in attendance. Not for the traditional tourist, and even more hardcore than the Folsom Street Fair, Up Your Alley invites you to dig into your naughty drawer and flaunt it for a day!

Flickr:Michael R Perry

COTATI ACCORDION FESTIVAL
Aug 16–17, 2014
350 La Plaza St, Cotati
$17 for one day or $25 for both
The humble accordion, most associated with generations past, has experienced a revival of late, championed by bands like DeVotchKa, Beirut, Arcade Fire and Gogol Bordello. While none of those bands will be at this year’s fest, dulcet accordion music from Zydeco to Polka will be wafting through the air. Even better, proceeds from multi-generational, multi-cultural Accordion Festival benefits local youth groups.

SAN FRANCISCO MIME TROUPE
Various locations, starting July 4th, 2014, in Dolores Park
check each venue for prices
Through September 1, 2014
These mimes are far from traditional, and are not afraid to talk — especially about controversial subjects. This year’s play, Ripple Effect, will almost certainly skewer San Francisco’s most cherished stereotypes, lovingly and hilariously. For full event calendar, visit the site.

SOUNDWAVE ((6)) SonicLAB
July 6 – September 8, 2014
cost per event varies
Soundwave’s sixth biennial, Water, is designed to “explore developing ideas about the ecologies, stories and properties of our most important natural resource.” The festival features commissioned performances and pieces of art at various indoor and outdoor venues throughout San Francisco.

Check out KQED Arts for more arts-related ideas.

- By Nicole Zeichick and Adrienne Blaine