If you live in the Central Valley, you have probably heard people say (and perhaps have said yourself ) that there is nothing to do here. Hopefully from reading this blog you know that this simply isn’t true. We are surrounded by vibrant, small communities that offer unique family friendly festivals and we also have access to urban events in the City, so it is truly the best of both worlds. At the beginning of each month we will be posting a list of family friendly things to do, some off the beaten path and some in your own neighborhood. We hope this list inspires you to try something you haven’t done before and gets you out into the community.
May 5th & 6th
Clovis Trail Fest: Trail Fest is a new family event held on the Old Town Trail and Dry Creek Trail between Fifth street and Dry Creek Park. This is a free event that you may start at any point along the three-mile section of the trail. Bike, walk, run, skate, or scoot along and look for signs indicating activities, demonstrations, snacks and entertainment for all ages at over 20 locations along the route. Come enjoy a healthy, fun day on the trail. May 5th.
Mariposa Butterfly Festival: Every year on the first weekend of May, vendors, musicians and celebrants from all over the world gather in the small rural community of Mariposa, California, for a family event that seeks to educate and celebrate the Butterfly along with our beautiful Mariposa County in the Gold Country foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. This event includes a 5k, 12k and Kids Run event, a classic car show, food vendors and craft booths, a parade and the release of 5,000 butterflies. The festival takes place both Saturday and Sunday. May 5th & 6th.
Selma Raisin Festival: This family‑oriented community event includes a carnival, food, craft and commercial booths, business & industry displays, art competitions, baking, floriculture, photography and poetry celebrating the raisin industry. This festival has been around since 1980 and is a great way to learn more about the agriculture that surrounds us in the central valley and have fun at the same time. May 2nd – 6th.
Raffi in Concert: North America’s preeminent family entertainer, turns 70 this year, and he is marking the occasion with a new album and a series of #belugagrads concerts. His spring tour includes stops in Fresno and Modesto. Raffi is a singer, songwriter, producer, author, lecturer, and tireless advocate for children. He is best known for his work as a children’s entertainer and advocate whose string of gold and platinum-selling recordings includes his iconic song, “Baby Beluga,” Once called “the most popular children’s singer in the English-speaking world. He will be playing on Saturday May 5th at 1:00 PM at Tower Theater.
Fresno Grizzlies: Catch some baseball and enjoy the fiesta on Cinco de Mayo at Chukchansi Park, presented by Tecate! The Tulare Street plaza will open early at 5:00pm with plenty of music and entertainment in store. Saturday’s game starts at 7:05 PM and there is also a game on Sunday that starts at 1:05 PM (after the game kids can run the bases!).
Wilderness Falls at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo: I am so excited about this one! Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s newest attraction, Wilderness Falls opens Friday, May 4th. This area will allow children to cool off and make a splash in the waterfall, follow the footprints and explore the wilderness, discover the fire lookout tower and more! This attraction is free with regular zoo admission. Wilderness Falls will be open during regular Zoo hours. The water features will be on from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
May 12th & 13th:
Kids Garden Day at the Garden of the Sun: Features fun and educational hands-on activities for children including composting, vermicomposting and Botany On Your Plate. Children can enjoy seeing bees, reptiles, and birds of prey and learn how they impact backyards. A bug/insect display and related activities are always a big hit with children. Hands-on activities for children of all ages may include a seed planting or transplanting activity, making a toad house to take home, and a tree leaf art/craft activity. A focus on nutrition features a citrus variety display and a hands-on citrus juicing activity. May 12th.
Peter Pan at the Enchanted Playhouse in Visalia: Soar away to Neverland in this magical adoption drawn from the beloved novel. Children will love this classic story or adventure! Tickets are $5-$7 and the show starts at 4:00 PM on May 12th.
Disney’s the Little Mermaid: Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film (a personal favorite of mine as a kid), Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a love story between a mermaid and a prince and features a wicked sea witch. With music by eight-time Academy Award winner, Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater and a compelling book by Doug Wright, this fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs, including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.” Sunday, May 13 – 1pm (Special Brunch Performance).
Mariposa Pow Wow: At the Mariposa County Fairgrounds in Mariposa, California the American Indian Council of Mariposa County (AICMC) – aka the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation – organizes a traditional Native American celebration. To most people this celebration is known as the Mariposa Pow Wow but, to the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation it is known as Chi-Tock-Non Kote-U-Pu. The pow wow is important to Native American culture, song and dance but also, more importantly, helps to fund the Nellie Tucker Scholarship. The Nellie Tucker scholarship, administered through the AICMC, provides funds for local Native students who are trying to further their education. Several dance performances and contests are featured at the Mariposa Pow Wow. Men and boys compete in Fancy Dancing, Grass Dancing and Traditional Dancing. Women and girls compete in Fancy or Shawl Dancing, Jingle Dress and Traditional Dancing. May 12th and 13th.
May 19th & 20th
Fresno Pirate Festival: A two day celebration for kids of all ages, will include cannon firings, weapon demonstrations, sword fights, pirate naming, a pirate ship for the kids to board, and a scavenger hunt for Pirate Treasure. May 19th & 20th at Kearney Park.
Chowchilla-Madera County Fair: Fun for the whole family, including daily entertainment. Starting at 12:30 on Saturday and 3:30 on Sunday, Circus Imagination will perform. Circus Imagination gets kids out of the audience and transforms them into instant circus performers, teaching kids how to use their imaginations so they can have fun outdoors at anytime with a few props from around the house. Also included are livestock exhibits, food and vendors. May 17th – 20th.
May 26th and 27th
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: Enjoy a showing of “Did an Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs at 2:00 PM and “Cleopatra’s Egypt” at 3:00 PM at the Downing Planetarium at California State University, Fresno. May 26th.
Open Cockpit Day: Make and take model building for kids, Food Court (burgers, hot dogs, ice cream and more), helicopter rides available, dozens of historic aircraft open for viewing, flight simulators and numerous children’s activities (all of which will be in a shaded area), military and law enforcement displays and more. May 27th.
There is so much happening in and around Fresno and the Central Valley. I hope this post gets you excited to go out and try something new with your family this month. If you do, tell us about it on Instagram and use the hashtag #thebeautifulwandering. We love to hear what you are up to!