Capitola Flower Wow: Begonia Fest

Delightfully decorated vessels take to the water over Labor Day Weekend.

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Capitola Begonia Festival

MANY THINGS HAVE BEEN SAID... about the nature and habits of the Golden Stater, and what it means, ultimately, to be a Californian. We love the beach (true) and mountains (true) and we're open to finding ourselves (true, but surely that's a plus). We'd bask in the sunshine all day, if we could (absolutely) and we always order extra avocado on any dish that comes with the alligator pear (because a couple of slices of the greeny good stuff are never enough). And we really, really like to stick flowers on moving vehicles. There's no denying this claim, and we wouldn't even try. There's the Rose Parade on New Year's Day in Pasadena, a procession that's pasted millions of petals on thousands of floats over the decades. And there's the Capitola Begonia Festival, a Labor Day Weekend revelry which isn't just about applauding all of the capital-ness that is Capitola but also flowers, many flowers, a specific flower, the bud in the party's very name. Nope, people don't simply walk around holding begonia bouquets; rather, they stick them all over floating vessels, prettily, and take to Soquel Creek. These vessels -- and, yes, they are referred to as floats -- get decorated the weekend of the festival, all in time for...

THE ANNUAL NAUTICAL PARADE: It has been around for over six decades, and many flower fans show up to line the creek's banks, the better to get a view of a begonia-bedecked float. The floats head from the Soquel to the Lagoon, so arrive before 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6 to nab a good spot. You can also watch the decorating process, or do another nifty thing during the weekend. While the floating flower wonders do get a lot of attention, much goes on, from concerts to a sand sculpture contest to movies on the beach to a fishing derby and more, more, more. It's oh-so-community-sweet, and colorful as all get out, and it stands tall as one of California's most floral festivals. Quirky? Yes. Costume-y? On occasion. More proof that we Californians like a lot of flowers stuck all over things that move from point A to point B? Totally, and that's that way we like it.

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