COUNTING THE DAYS... ahead of the annual Olive Festival, the one that makes the middle of August extra juicy 'round Paso Robles, is not only a-ok but perfectly understandable. After all, fans of festivals held under the sky, with a strong summer-fun social component -- oh, and good eating, too -- like to anticipate when the party celebrating their favorite food will roll around again. (And surely olives are up there on the favorite food charts for many people. Surely? Surely.) But the wine-nice, vista-nice, weather-warm, food-lovely Central Coast burg gets the whole summer conviviality revved up well ahead of the middle of August; in fact, it revs up ahead of summer, at least technically. We know, we know: Memorial Day Weekend, while not actually part of summer, is the traditional beginning to the summer season, as observed, and Paso is right in there, at the starting gate, with PASO ARTSFEST.
CASTLES TO CUISINE: While the heart of the party is a festival in the downtown park, revelers will also hit the road for a few festivities, notably a sunset reception and tour at Hearst Castle. Back in Paso there's an Artmaker Dinner, too, which goes on the idea of a Winemaker Dinner, but rather than hobnobbing with vintners you'll be meeting the creatives who paint and sculpt. And a hands-on section of the Saturday festival is a draw for the grown-ups to make art. Called CREATEspace, adults will try their hand and fashion visual artworks. If you've ever seen the kids' area for this, at various art gatherings, you've likely been a little jealous that such an area for grown-ups does not exist. But it does, in Paso Robles. Dates? The whole shebang goes down from May 22 through 24, so best choose what you'll want to do before going Central Coast.