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This article is sponsored by VenturaCountyWest, home to the idyllic destinations of Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura and the California Channel Islands. To learn more about the stunning region, visit

Whether it's surprising mom with a relaxing Mother's Day weekend, celebrating the coming of summer over Memorial Day weekend or just taking in the variety of upcoming music, food and wine festivals, there is a reason to visit VenturaCountyWest (cities of Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura) as spring turns to summer.

Surprise Mom
Sure, you can take mom out to a local restaurant on Mother's Day and she'll be appreciative, but why not do something extra special? Whisk her away from her never-ending “to-do” list to a weekend of shopping, pampering and, of course, a Mother's Day brunch.

Get to VenturaCountyWest a day early and stop at the Camarillo Premium Outlets so she can pick out her Mother's Day present. She'll have plenty to choose from. The mall features 160 stores, all filled with discounted name brand items. If she's into antiquing and one-of-a-kind finds, she'll love Main Street in Ventura. Or maybe she’ll want to stroll into the stores at Ventura Harbor Village for a new sun hat or bathing suit. Her day isn't done yet. Treat her with a relaxing massage or facial at Diane Loring Spa, located a few yards away at the Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort. While she's indulging herself, you can take the kids for an electric boat ride or a visit to the arcade with its indoor carousel.

For your Mother's Day breakfast, you can go upscale with breakfasts/brunches at Coastal Grill Restaurant at the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel & Resort in Oxnard or at C-Street Restaurant at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach (both steps from the shore). Or keep it casual at Mrs. Olson's Coffee Hut in Oxnard, said to have the best breakfasts in Ventura County. 

Now that's a Mother's Day weekend she'll remember.

Start Your Engines
What better way to rev up for summer action and celebrate the Memorial Day holiday than at the Ventura Raceway at the Ventura County Fairgrounds? On Saturday, May 25, the raceway will feature motorcycle and quad races. It's fun for the whole family. Gates open at 3 p.m., with races beginning at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $11 for students, military and seniors with i.d., and free for kids 12 and under.

If all that racing inspires you, check out Jim Hall Kart Racing. Located at Seaside Park (10 East Harbor Blvd., Ventura, across from the fairgrounds), older kids and adults race 4-stroke gas engine karts around a 1/3 mile outdoor track. A helmet and driving gear are included. Parent and child classes are available. There are no age restrictions but there is a minimum 4' 6" height requirement.

For those who want to spring into summer by getting away from all the noise and back in touch with nature, there is nothing more reinvigorating than a day of kayaking around Anacapa Island, one of the smaller Channel Islands. Blue Ocean Kayaking takes care of all the details: The boat ride to the island, kayaking equipment and an introduction to kayaking -– you just bring your lunch, drinks and enjoy the Anacapa caves, sea lions and blow holes.

Fabulous Food and Music Festivals
Island adventures, motorcycle and kart races aren't for everyone. If exceptional music, food and wine is more your speed, a number of festivals in VenturaCountyWest may whet your appetite.

Casa Pacifica Food & Wine Festival--June 2, 1:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Voted the 2012 “Best Food & Drink Festival” of Ventura County, Casa Pacifica Food & Wine Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Held at California State University, Channel Islands in Camarillo, this not-to-be missed event attracts thousands of food, wine and beer aficionados while raising money to benefit programs and services of Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families. Continuous live entertainment is in store while guests sample beverages from over 30 wineries and breweries throughout California and taste dishes from 55 restaurants and catering companies. Tickets are $125 and include all food and beverages.

Fifth Roadshow Revival--A Tribute To The Music of Johnny Cash - Saturday, June 15, 11:00 a.m.- 6:30 p.m.

The Fifth Roadshow Revival--A Tribute To The Music of Johnny Cash features music from the likes of Junior Brown, Robert Gordon, Chris Spedding, The Blasters, Cash'd Out and The Walking Phoenixes--all set to pay homage to Johnny Cash, considered to be one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Besides good music and food, hot rods and motorcycles will be on display. The event is at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Admission is $25 for adults, $5 for kids 6 through 12 and free for kids 5 and under.

35th Annual Ventura County Greek Festival--June 23, 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Be Greek for a day! The 35th Annual Ventura County Greek Festival, held at St. Demetrios Greek Church at the Camarillo Airport, is a joyous celebration of all things Greek. The festival features five dance groups including the spectacular dancers from The Greek at the Harbor. Feel like dancing yourself but don't know how?  Lessons are happily provided. Be adventurous with your taste buds by trying such Greek cuisine as kebabs, pastichio, keftedes, dolmathes and roasted lamb. Admission is $3 for adults; kids 12 and under are free.

For a full list of inspiring hotels, restaurants, and entertainment options in Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura, visit VenturaCountyWest.

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