Begun in 1952, the Capitola Begonia Festival continues to be a popular destination for families to come out and play over the Labor Day weekend.
It is organized by a committee of 100% volunteers who are dedicated to continuing this longstanding tradition. The Capitola Begonia Festival Association is an independent, non-profit organization, whose sole purpose is to host this event year after year. There are plenty of ways for volunteers to become involved. We are always looking for new members and new ideas. If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out our Volunteer Form.
Meetings are held at 6:15 PM on the 1st Monday of each month (except December) in the Capitola City Chambers at 420 Capitola Ave, Capitola,CA. Just show up and introduce yourself!
|Past President & Publicity||Teresa Green|
|VP, Nautical Parade||Thea Luiten|
Festival planning begins early in January with the selection of a theme for the year, shortly followed by selections of the poster artist, bands, and movie. We work with Times Publishing Group to produce the colorful summer edition of the Capitola Begonia Festival Program, and produce our own tri-fold brochure. Activities ramp up in the summer months as we plan the merchandise that we will make available at the festival.
This all culminates in four frenzy-days of the Capitola Begonia Festival on Labor Day Weekend. Volunteers from all around the area come out to staff the merchandise booth, each event location, and provide logistics support for the weekend. We make sure the dancers have a place to make their costume changes, and the sound engineer has their music. We set up the beach for the sand sculpture contest, and have trophies available for the winners.We bring begonias from the field so visitors can put them Head-to-Toe and make a beautiful mural. We coordinate the band set-ups. We bring in popcorn and a movie to watch on the beach! We organize supplies for chalk art and children's art events. We put on an awesome Nautical Parade! And then we have fishing derbys and rowboat races. When all is done, we celebrate our successful festival!
Golden State Bulb Growers
The Begonia Festival would not be possible without the support of the begonia growers at Golden State Bulb Growers. They are the descendants of Brown Ranch and owners of the Antonelli's Amerihybrid begonias which were historically grown in Capitola. They now have greenhouses in Watsonville, and their begonia fields are in Marina, CA. They are gracious to allow us to visit their fields during the Begonia Festival weekend to pick blossoms for use in the Nautical Parade floats, the Begonias-to-Go event, and also the Begonia Mural.
Our Sister Festival
Ballarat, Australia holds a festival annually very similar to what we do. Begonias have been planted in their Botanical Gardens since 1887 and were internationally famous by the 1930s. In 1938 the first Flower Festival was held. In 1952 the city declared an annual Ballarat Begonia Festival to commence in March 1953. (Being in the Southern Hemisphere, March is the peak of their begonia-growing season.) Their festival has similarities to ours. It is held for 3 days each Labour Day weekend (in March). They feature a Floral Carpet of begonias, and offer paddleboats, canoes, and rowboats in Lake Wendouree. There is a twilight cinema, children’s crafts, and live entertainment. – free to all.
Begonia Flower Carpet in Brussels, Belgium
Every other year, a giant carpet is constructed at the Grand Palace in Brussels. Belgium is the largest producer of the begonia and grows somewhere around 60 million per year. In 2014, the carpet measured 79 x 253 ft. and used over 750,000 blossoms. Our Begonia Mural mimics their Flower Carpet on a small scale.