Spring's best fairs and festivals

Our picks for top food, fragrance, and general outdoor revelry this season

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Our vote for pope: scene from last year's DogFest
PHOTO COURTESY DOGFEST

caitlin@sfbg.com

Corn Dog Day (March 23, free entry with RSVP. SoMa StrEat Food Park, SF) Observe this very important holiday with savory dogs from SoMa's superb outdoor food truck court and catch the game while you're at it — the first weekend of March Madness will be showing on several screens around this gourmand parking lot. Sponsored by that online encyclopedia of awesome, FunCheapSF. sf.funcheap.com/corn-dog-day-funcheap

International Chocolate Salon (March 24, $25-30. Fort Mason, SF) With over 40 purveyors of dark, milk, white, bitter, etc., you will most likely be a mess of sugar high halfway through your tour of this expo's floor. Take a break to inhale artisan perfume in the connected fragrance salon, or check out an expert talk by food critics and chocolatiers. www.sfchocolatesalon.com

Whiskies of the World (April 6, $120. Hornblower Yacht, Pier 3, SF) Thank goodness for the world's heaviest buffet (steak and potatoes like whoa) at this world-class whiskey expo. You'll need that tummy padding to tackle the hundreds of rare and delicious scotches, bourbons, etc. This year it's on a boat, so you can blame your swerve on faulty sea legs. www.whiskiesoftheworld.com

DogFest (April 13, free. Duboce Park, SF) McKinley Elementary scored big when it thought up this daylong parkside dog-a-thon fundraiser for its kiddos. Daniel Handler, author of the Lemony Snicket series, hosts contests for the pup with the best tail, trick, bark, lookalike, and other superlatives. Bouncy castle and other activities to boot! www.mckinleyschool.org/dogfest

Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival (April 13-14, 20-21) Check out Japantown's premier celebration of neighborhood culture. You can watch this year's Cherry Blossom Queen crowned on April 13 and on April 21, the fest's grand parade. Drop by the Sanrio kid's corner with your little guy for sand painting and kawaii games. www.sfcherryblossom.org

Earth Day (April 20, free. Civic Center Plaza, SF) A "trashion" show by Truckee High School students, a sustainable cooking showcase, and mass yoga classes will be highlights of this year's city celebrations for Mother Earth's big day. www.earthdaysf.org

Maker Faire (May 18-19, early bird prices: $25 one-day, $45 weekend pass. San Mateo Event Center) DIY heads of all stripes will swoon for this mega-collection of self-made projects. Last year featured weird food, wacky wiring art, sports mania, and more. www.makerfaire.com

Bay to Breakers (May 19, race registration $58. See website for route) You need to mark this costumed wackadoo of a footrace on your calendar for one of two reasons: to prep your liver for definitely not drinking on the parade route or so you can set up cyclone fencing to prevent errant streams of urine from over-hydrated toga partiers and people in gold bodypaint. www.baytobreakers.com

North Beach Festival (June 15-16, free. North Beach neighborhood, SF) Tell us that all the neighborhood street fairs are essentially the same amalgamation of elephant ears, "quirky" accessory vendors, and pleasant live music. Untrue — North Beach's massive edition of the tradition includes a church dispensing blessings for animals, so bring your bush python through! www.sresproductions.com

 

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