Begonia Bash: Capitola's Mondo Party

Flowery floats are a sweet favorite at this Labor Day Weekend festival.

"WHEN I'M 64": The Beatles had a catchy and heart-sweet message in one of their most beloved love songs, but the message behind the ditty could also apply to festivals that reach their 64th annual outing. It's a fabulous milestone, in short, and it reveals that yearly party has gathered enough fans, and traditions, and general community love, to keep on keepin' on whatever it is doing. And if you look to Capitola over Labor Day Weekend, that keepin' on is all about a particular flower, one that's seen on everything from hats to floats to art: the begonia. You got it, the Capitola Begonia Festival is heading into its 64th annual celebration in 2016, and the tried-and-true must-dos remain, the ones that draw the fans, and participants, to the banks of Soquel Creek. Why yes, we are referencing the...

NAUTICAL PARADE, which is one of the state's best-known blossom processions. Unlike the Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year's Day, however, this one is A) on Labor Day Sunday and B) on the water. Small floats (though some are of notable size) are decked out in delightful rows and bursts of begonia beauty, while those steering the ship are wearing togs to suit the festive occasion. Cheering on the 64th annual Nautical Parade isn't the only lively, farewell-to-summer happening on the schedule, however. Look for...

A SAND SCULPTURE CONTEST, the making of a "wall of flowers" (begonias are very much involved, yes), a fishing derby, concerts in the park, rowboat races, and horseshoe throwing out on the sand. You don't need to arrive with a begonia pinned to your lapel, but chances are you'll come across a few (or a few hundred). As flower festivals go, well, California has some biggies. At a sweet 64, Capitola's confab keeps on blooming in a most spectacular, and sea-worthy, fashion.

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