Party in a parade, tour gardens and chicken coops and more ways to spend spring on the Peninsula.

The May Fête Parade is a Palo Alto tradition in its 98th year. (Photo by Veronica Weber)

The emergence of spring on the Peninsula isn’t quite as dramatic as in other parts of the country, considering we have mild California winters sans snow (well, except in rare instances). But we’ve all been eager for longer light-filled days, warmer temps and fun excuses to get outside, especially with the pandemic limiting springtime gatherings for the last couple of years. Here are 15 events happening in April and May that we’re especially looking forward to:  

Touch-A-Truck April 9: Know a kid who’s obsessed with all things on wheels? The popular Touch-A-Truck day is back at the Port of Redwood City on April 9 to allow kids to see and touch their favorite vehicles, meet the people who operate them and learn how they play a role in the community. Stick around to see the latest band in the port’s spring concert series, Pop Fiction, perform at 3 p.m. and buy fresh fish from local vendors.

Touch-A-Truck Saturday, April 9, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Port of Redwood City, 451 Seaport Court. Tickets can be purchased in advance and cost $8 per person or $25 per family (up to six people). Kids under 12 months get in free.

We Love Earth Festival April 16: Head to Menlo Park for a free day of educational and family activities, including live animal encounters with Sequoia the eagle and reptiles, storytimes, musical performances and plant-based cooking demonstrations using induction methods. Experts will be on hand to answer questions about everything from sustainable eating and climate advocacy to how to create a climate-friendly home.

We Love Earth Festival Saturday, April 16, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Flood Park, 215 Bay Road in Menlo Park. Event is free.

Big Bunny 5K and Kids Fun Run April 16: Don your bunny ears and head to Cupertino for a family-friendly 5K and fun run for kids 7 and younger. All ages and abilities are welcome.

Big Bunny 5K and Kids Fun Run Saturday, April 16, starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Cupertino Civic Center, 10350 Torre Ave. in Cupertino. The 5K registration fee is $50; kids fun run fee is $30.

Gamble Garden’s Spring Tour includes five private Palo Alto gardens. (Photo by Nadine Priestley/nadinepriestley.com)

Gamble Garden Spring Tour April 22-23: Tour five private, show-stopping gardens in Palo Alto ranging from large estates to narrower plots while being serenaded by harp and flute musicians. At Gamble, get your garden questions answered by experts and enjoy food and refreshments to the sounds of musical trio Left Bank/Rive Gauche. Peruse the marketplace featuring gourmet food, jewelry, home decor and other curated items. And from April 21-23 check out Over the Garden Fence, Gamble Garden’s sale of one-of-a-kind household furnishings, garden accessories, place settings and more.

Gamble Garden Spring Tour from Friday, April 22, through Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Gamble Garden is located at 1431 Waverly St. in Palo Alto. Advanced tickets cost $35 per person ($30 for volunteers or group tickets). 

Coastal Wildflower Day April 24: Celebrate the native wildflowers of the San Mateo County coast in Half Moon Bay at the annual Coastal Wildflower Day. Visitors to Half Moon Bay State Beach will be able to buy native plants and coastal-inspired artwork, take guided nature walks, and enjoy music from Coastside bands and food from Alibreje’s Kitchen. Gardening experts will also be on hand to offer advice for green thumbs and novices alike. 

Coastal Wildflower Day Festival Sunday, April 24, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Half Moon Bay State Beach, 95 Kelly Ave. The event is free but will be canceled if there’s heavy rain. Day-use parking is $10.

A celebration of native coastal wildflowers will be held at Half Moon Bay State Beach on April 24. (Photo courtesy California State Parks)

Kusamura Bonsai Club Show April 30-May 1: The Kusamura Bonsai Club hosts its 62nd annual club show for bonsai enthusiasts in Palo Alto with over 60 formal displays of trees in the Japanese style, as well as a coastal redwood bonsai demonstration Saturday and a style-off competition demo Sunday. Buy a bonsai tree and join members to learn about and practice some of the skills used in bonsai. Kids can create their own accent plants to take home.

Kusamura Bonsai Club Show Saturday, April 30, through Sunday, May 1, from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at Addison Elementary School’s multipurpose room, 1045 Webster St. in Palo Alto. The event is free.

Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival April 30-May 1: Take in Japanese culture and food at a festival honoring Cupertino’s sister city relationship with Toyokawa, Japan. Watch musical performances and Taiko drum groups, Japanese dancers and martial arts demonstrations and enjoy sake, sushi and mochi. Kids can stop by the petting zoo or take part in arts and crafts, and a gallery of Toyokawa student artwork from the city’s annual art exchange program will be on display.

Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival Saturday, April 30, through Sunday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Cupertino Memorial Park, the Quinlan Center and Senior Center, 21121 Stevens Creek Blvd. The event is free. 

The Stanford Powwow and Art Market began in 1971 as a means of greater representation for Native American Stanford students. (Photo by Adam Pardee)

Stanford Powwow and Art Market May 6-8: The Stanford Powwow and Art Market is a celebration of Native American cultures with dance, music, food and an art market featuring Native American crafts and handmade jewelry. Intertribal and competition dancing throughout the weekend are some of the most anticipated parts of the festivities, and past food offerings have ranged from fry bread to “Indian tacos.” The annual fun run and walk will be on Saturday morning. First held in 1971, the event started as a means of greater representation for Native American Stanford students.

Stanford Powwow and Art Market May 6-8 (times not yet announced) at the Eucalyptus Grove, Galvez and Campus drives at Stanford University. The event is free.

May Fête Parade May 7: Deemed Northern California’s oldest and largest children’s parade, Palo Alto’s May Fête event features a parade with costumed participants (including pets) and decorated floats that are judged for cash prizes. After the parade, head to Heritage Park for the May Fête Fair where you’ll find food trucks, games for kids and music by local school bands.

May Fête Parade May 7 at 10 a.m. along University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto. The event is free.

Silicon Valley Open Studios May 7-8, 14-15, 21-22: One of the Bay Area’s biggest annual arts events, Silicon Valley Open Studios gives people the opportunity to peruse and purchase art directly from hundreds of participating artists. Except for photographs and prints, all of the art is one-of-a-kind. The first weekend will concentrate on the San Mateo County Coastside, the second will include artists from San Bruno to Mountain View and the final weekend will focus on the southern stretch from Sunnyvale to Gilroy. Catch a preview of the artwork at the Los Altos Library through the end of April.

Silicon Valley Open Studios May 7-8, May 14-15 and May 21-22 at assorted locations (go online for the event directory). The event is free.

Pets and people dress up for the Los Altos Kiwanis Pet Parade, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. (Photo courtesy Los Altos Kiwanis Club)

Los Altos Kiwanis Pet Parade May 14: Celebrating its milestone 75th year, the Los Altos Kiwanis Pet Parade attracts thousands of people – and their dogs, cats, birds, chickens, turtles and worms – every Saturday following Mother’s Day. Kids often dress up in costumes and ride their bikes or in wagons during the parade, alongside marching bands and dignitaries in vintage cars.

Los Altos Kiwanis Pet Parade Saturday, May 14, at 10 a.m. on Main Street. The event is free.  

Half Moon Bay Wine & Jazz Festival May 15: Downtown Half Moon Bay will play host to this inaugural festival featuring California wineries, nationally known jazz artists and local food. Attendees will receive a commemorative wine glass and tasting tickets, and beer and food will be available for purchase.

Half Moon Bay Wine & Jazz Festival May 15 from noon to 4 p.m. on Main Street. Tickets cost $75 per person ($225/person for VIP), plus taxes and fees. 

Tour de Coop gives participants an opportunity to check out backyard chicken coops, gardens, beehives and urban farms. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)

Tour De Coop May 21: Tour backyard chicken coops by bike (or your preferred mode of transit), as well as beehives, gardens and urban farms one day only. Previous tours included over 30 coops and 11 different routes.

Tour De Coop May 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at various locations (go online for further information). The event is free. 

Boogie Music Festival May 21-22: Four stages of live music ranging from blues to classic rock, traditional festival foods and arts and crafts booths – what’s not to like? Head to downtown Campbell for the 43rd annual Boogie Music Festival in late May. A best-dressed contest, “wine central” and the KidsZone are all back for 2022.

Boogie Music Festival May 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and May 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Campbell. The event is free.    

San Carlos Hometown Days May 20-22: The 40th annual weekend of family fun in downtown San Carlos includes a parade Saturday, a 5K/10K fun run or walk and pancake breakfast Sunday and a full weekend of food, carnival games and live entertainment. Dress your four-legged friend up for a pet parade Sunday, and shop the market for handmade goods from local artists.    

San Carlos Hometown Days May 20-22 at Burton Park, 900 Chestnut St. The event is free (except for the fun run). 

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