Buellton Wine and Chili Festival

It's a meaty, merlot-esque kind of March party around the wine country town.

BUELLTON BEVS AND BITES: Picture, if you will, charming Buellton, which sits right along the 101 in Santa Barbara County. If you're stopping in town, you might be doing a Santa Ynez Wine Country kind of day, or strolling Mendenhall's Museum of Gasoline Pumps, or simply savoring those rolly-hilly views, views that are so of the area that they couldn't possibly be anywhere else. We'll also wager, if you're dining or having a drink in Buellton, that you may be supping or sipping from some sort of liquid-holding vessel. It could be a beer glass — Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. does have an outpost in Buellton, after all — or it might be a soup bowl, if you're enjoying some classic pea-based goodness at the famous Andersen's Pea Soup, a longtime landmark of the area. But if you happen to be in Buellton on Sunday, March 19, you may be enjoyed liquid deliciousness in two other forms. For that is not only the last Sunday of winter, and a prime time to say farewell to frostier days, but it also happens to be the day of the...

BUELLTON CHILI AND WINE FESTIVAL: Over "...30 wineries and 20 chili/salsa cooks..." will be on the grounds of the Flying Flags RV Resort, with 21-and-over visitors trying both the hot (chili/salsa) and the cool (vino) out as they stroll in the (fingers crossed) soft sunshine the area is known for. There's a Brew Bus from Santa Barbara — it's $25 bucks — or a number of stay-over spots around Buellton and the region. Your ticket to the tasting-filled fest? It's $45, plus an additional fee. A chili-only ticket is available, too, so go over all of the goodness. As for pea soup and local suds? If you make a Buellton-kind of weekend of it, you can experience it all.

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