Beach Festival gears up for inaugural event

When the Capitola Begonia Festival wrapped up its 65-year run in 2017, many in the community refused to let it go.

Among those was now-Capitola Mayor Michael Termini, who asked the festival's committee if another event could take its place.

Festival past president Laurie Hill said that was the spark that ignited the Capitola Beach Festival, a new event that will take over Capitola Village on Sept. 29-30.

"The majority of the volunteers stepped up to be a part of it," said Hill, who is helping with promotion for the inaugural festival. "They were part of the Begonia Festival, they are experienced, they are enthusiastic, and said, 'sure, let's get this party going.'"

Hill said the new festival is focusing on the family-friendly activities that proved popular for the Begonia Festival. Among those are the horseshoe tournament, fishing derby, sand sculpture contest, rowboat races and more.

New for the Beach Festival is the inaugural Little Wharf 3-Miler on Sept. 29. Put on by Wharf to Wharf Race, Inc. the event begins with a family fun run/walk starting at the East Cliff Village Shopping Center, which makes its way along the coastline and finishes at the Capitola Esplanade.

In addition, the Lighted Nautical Parade will wend its way down Soquel Creek on Sept. 29. Twelve lighted barges will be guided down the creek between the trestle and the lagoon.

"Continuing a festival is a way to honor what the Begonia Festival was and all the generous people over all those decades that helped put it on," Hill said.

Explaining to the community why the Begonia Festival ended is still a challenge, Hill said.

Golden State Bulb Growers, which grew the begonia blossoms in Marina and donated them to the festival for decades, retired from the business.

In a statement, the company said there were many factors in the decision, one of them being that it is "no longer being profitable to grow flower bulbs in California."

"Golden State Bulb Growers, formerly the Brown Bulb Ranch and the Brown Family, have been honored to donate the begonia blooms to the Capitola Begonia Festival for decades," the statement read. "It has been a symbiotic relationship benefitting both of us."


Spots are still available for the Lighted Nautical Parade. To register, call 239-1611.

For information, and to register for other events, visit


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