Fall is a lovely time to discover a cornucopia of wineries as the weather turns crisp, from boutique tasting rooms in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto and Midtown Lompoc to beautiful estate vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills. Since the early days, Lompoc Valley’s tradition of growing grapes and making wine dates back to the Mission period, from approximately 1787-1835. Lompoc’s La Purisima Mission had its own vineyard for the production of wines for sacramental offerings and was known worldwide for its pear brandy. In 1971, the first two wine vineyards were planted in what would become the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, situated between Lompoc and Buellton. With a total area of 30,720 acres, the Sta. Rita Hills AVA today is recognized internationally for its award-winning wines and is home to more than 59 vineyards, totaling 2,700 hundred acres and more than18 cool climate wine grape varieties.
With three art events planned in October, fall is also an ideal time to see Lompoc’s art offerings. Visitors can take a leisurely self guided stroll to view 40 different larger-than-life colorful murals in on street corners, in alley ways, and on sides of prominent buildings. These magnificent works of art that have turned Old Town Lompoc into an outdoor art gallery are one of the city’s top attractions, depicting scenes of Lompoc’s heritage, flower industry, historic sights, ethnic diversity, scenic beauty and more. Most of the murals are curated by the Lompoc Mural Society, a local non-profit dedicated to revitalizing historic old town and the valley’s economy through cultural tourism, and using art as a tool to help build bridges across barriers between ethnic and cultural groups.
LOMPOC ART EVENTS
Mural in a Weekend: October 6-7
Always wanted to paint a big mural? Now’s your chance! Lompoc Mural Society’s Mural in a Weekend set for October 6 and 7, when a new mural will be added to the impressive collection of nearly 40 murals in Old Town Lompoc during the two-day event slated for October 6-7, 2018. Presented by the Lompoc Mural Society and Explore Lompoc, visitors and residents alike are invited to partake in mural painting from 8 am to 5 pm, at the back east wall of 100 South H Street in Lompoc. Created by Master Artist Art Mortimer, the new mural entitled “Chautauqua,” will depict the traveling shows that flourished in US at the turn of 19th century. As part of the festivities, a mural dedication ceremony is slated for Sunday afternoon, October 7 at 5 p.m.
Lompoc Chalks – October 12-14
Embrace all things colorful at Lompoc Chalks festival, one the newest festivals on the art front planned October 12-14. Presented by The Lompoc Theatre Project, the Chalk Festival will showcase chalk artists from around the country, performing artists, art vendors, food trucks, live entertainment and a wine and beer tent.
Lompoc Art Hunt: October 18-21
An art collectors dream is in store at Lompoc Art Association’s Art Hunt, October 18-21, in Old Town Lompoc. Art lovers can partake in a real scavenger hunt to uncover hidden art works of fine art, including watercolors, line acrylics, pottery, glass and gourds. Art enthusiasts get to take home each piece of art they uncover. The three-day event is FREE and concludes with a reception on Sunday, October 21 at Lompoc’s Cypress Gallery where the public can meet the 30 resident artists from the Lompoc Valley Art Association who donated their works of art for the event.
LOMPOC HARVEST EVENTS
Harvest Mission Day at La Purisima Mission: September 15
Meander over to 2,000-acre La Purisima Mission State Historic Park to stomp grapes and thresh wheat at the end-of-the-season harvest and enjoy other traditional Mission activities from yesteryear on September 15 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. as part of Harvest Mission Day. Costumed docents and staff offer an exciting opportunity to experience early mission life back in the 1820s with special demonstrations and activities. Considered of Lompoc’s top attractions, the awe-inspiring attraction provides an in-depth encounter of what life was like for the first Spanish settlers to Lompoc Valley. The Park is the site of the stunning, extensively restored and furnished La Purisima Mission, founded in 1797. Set in the beautifully maintained environment, the Mission hosts seasonal living history events and the Park boasts 10 buildings, 25 miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding, a Visitor Center, Exhibit Hall, and livestock.
Harvest in The Ghetto: October 6-7
Revel in a harvest wine tasting at its best in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto – a collection of more than 20 urban boutique wine tasting rooms located in a raw industrial park within the city limits. Here, wine lovers can sample award-winning locally-made small-batch wines and meet the artisan winemakers, enthusiastically sharing their craft. Most of the wineries are clustered together within a few short blocks, so wine lovers can park in one location and stroll from one tasting room to the next. Toast the coast and celebrate the seasonal harvest at the Lompoc Wine Alliance’s Harvest in The Ghetto set for October 6-7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Get ready for a weekend of fun that highlights wine tasting specials, a food truck with savory barbecue, live entertainment by the band “The Story,” glass blowing demonstrations, scavenger hunts and grape stomping.
Celebration of Harvest: October 12-14
Sip in Santa Barbara County, where Lompoc is located, at the annual Celebration of Harvest that brings together wine lovers in a three-day weekend October 12-14 at various locations throughout Santa Barbara County, including dozens of wineries in Lompoc. Foodies will delight in a host of wine dinners, vineyard excursions, and winery open houses and tasting room events, presented by the Santa Barbara Vintners Association.
During the Celebration of Harvest weekend, make time to see the spectacular vineyards in fall glory surrounding Lompoc in the Sta. Rita Hills. On Route 246, wine goers unearth Babcock Winery & Vineyards, Foley Estates and Melville Vineyards & Winery. South of Lompoc on Santa Rosa Road, visit the iconic Sanford Winery & Vineyards, home to the very first vineyard planted here more than 40 years ago. Lompoc wineries have been praised by Sunset Magazine as the “New Wine Country” and are known for award-winning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Rancho San Julian Pumpkin Patch:
Join cattle ranchers Elizabeth Poett and Katie Hames every weekend in October beginning October 6 for a FREE family-oriented event at the historic Rancho San Julian as it celebrates the 2nd Annual REAL Pumpkin Patch that offers 15 varieties of gorgeous pumpkins and winter squash.
Dare to Dream Farm Stand
While in Lompoc, stop by family owned and operated Dare 2 Dreams Farms Farm Stand open (Thursdays – Sundays) from 11 a.m. to dusk and witness where regional produce/food is locally grown. Pick up fresh Dare 2 Dream Farms produce, free-range chicken/duck eggs, and dairy products from the Farm’s mini-Nubian goats. Planned for September and October (dates TBD) are several farms tours where visitors can be guided on narrated tours of the farm and learn about sustainability and organic farming.
As if the sylvan backdrop and coastal vistas alone were not enough to entice visitors, add to the mix a world-class wine region and vibrant art, and discover an ideal autumn getaway just around the bend in Lompoc on California’s Central Coast. For more info visit www.ExploreLompoc.com.