Bakersfield’s fall events calendar is a busy one. Here are some highlights for visitors and residents alike.

A Bakersfield tradition since 1974, the Greek Food Festival will get underway Oct. 6-8 at St. George’s Orthodox Church. This popular festival will feature Greek music all day by the Olympians, along with all your favorite traditional Greek foods like souvlaki, gyro sandwiches, paidakia, feta fries, dolmathes, tiropites and spanakopita, plus incredible desserts like loukoumades, assorted Greek pastries and baklava sundaes. In addition, you can tour the church, shop from numerous vendors, and enjoy Greek folk dancing performances and lessons.

The 26th annual California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California returns Oct. 20-22 to Auto Club Famoso Raceway. This popular three-day event is a festival of speed and the perfect way to pay respects to the history of the legends of racing. It attracts fans worldwide and Bakersfield hotels will be busy.

Enjoy the sounds of four-part harmony when the Far Western District of the Barbershop Harmony Society convenes Oct. 19-22 at Rabobank Theater. This annual fall convention of all of the Barbershop chapters in California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii returns to Bakersfield after an absence of several years. Open to the public, the convention will feature quartet contests and chorus contests. The winner of the chorus contest will qualify to compete at the group’s international convention in July in Las Vegas.

On Oct. 21-22, Via Arte Italian Street Painting Festival returns to The Marketplace, bringing together the community and the visual arts as it has done since 1998. Using the asphalt as canvas, spectators watch each year as professional and student artists unlock their imaginations and turn the parking lot into a gallery of amazing chalk masterpieces.

Get your tartan on with the Eighth Annual Bakersfield Celtic Music Festival at the Kern County Fairgrounds Oct. 28. Enjoy six Celtic rock bands in a fun and energetic setting. Admission includes two full size beers of your choice, lawn games, scotch tasting, food, and vendors. This is a 21-and-older-only event sponsored by the Kern County Scottish Society.

Also on Oct. 28, guests of all ages are encouraged to wear costumes and trick-or-treat their way around California Living Museum for Boo at the Zoo. You can visit with the animals and experience the natural gardens just as the foliage is beginning to turn. Children 12 years and under are free and must be accompanied by an adult. There are spooktacular games, festive decorations, food and beverage booths and treats for all, plus a wildlife presentation and animal encounters.

The Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration returns to the Kern County Museum Nov. 5. Tons of fun, kids area, family tribute altars, food and vendor booths, sugar skull making, live entertainment and more! Children 6 and under are free.

The Second Annual Bakersfield Marathon takes to the streets of Bakersfield on Nov. 12. This annual, world-class event is a USATF-certified full marathon, half marathon, two-person half marathon relay and 5K. With the starting and finishing lines on the California State University, Bakersfield, campus, participants will run through dozens of iconic neighborhoods, past the Kern County Museum and Bakersfield College and finally along the Panorama Bluffs before returning to the finish line on the scenic Kern River Parkway.

A holiday tradition, Holiday Lights at CALM features a dazzling musical tree show and creative, animated displays with more than three million colorful, energy-efficient LED lights. This one-of-a kind event was voted Bakersfield Best Annual Event and named one of the 10 best holiday light shows in the West by the Los Angeles Times. Designed and installed by Josh Barnett and his company Lightasmic!, the event runs every night between Dec. 1 and Jan. 6, except Christmas. Enjoy free train rides on the Candy Cane Express and a giant merry-go-round.

Celebrate this Christmas with the experience taking North America by storm. Marking the 25th North American Anniversary Tour in 2017, Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker” features over-the-top production values and world class Russian artists at the Fox Theater. Larger-than-life puppets and nesting dolls and gloriously handcrafted costumes bring the Christmas spirit to life. Gather the family and see why the New York Times raved “knockout!”

For information on these and other Bakersfield events, check out the events calendar at

David Lyman, Ph.D., is manager of Visit Bakersfield. He and other members of Team More to Explore help visitors from throughout the world spend their money in California’s ninth largest city. They are available toll-free 866-425-7353 or at

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