(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

There are so many fall festivals throughout the Bay Area all season long that each weekend is filled with a different themed event. Find the festivals you want to attend and schedule them in now. Read on for five terrific festival suggestions coming this fall, and most have FREE admission.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival 2016
Ghirardelli Square
900 N. Point St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
(510) 343-8429
Dates: Sept 10-11, 12 pm–5pm, $20-$50
Ticket Information: www.eventbrite.com

We would be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like chocolate, and to find the most chocolate lovers in one place, look no further than the much-anticipated annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival presented by world renown chocolatier, Ghirardelli. A Bay Area original and still a favorite, Ghirardelli calls all chocolate devotees to enjoy this wonderfully sweet two-day celebration of chocolate in all its many shapes, tastes and culinary incarnations and Indulge for the Cause. The event truly makes life sweeter as 100 percent of the festival’s profits are donated to non-profit Project Open Hand, an organization that provides meals to seniors and the critically ill. What a delectable way to contribute to this hardworking effort, and donating never tasted so good! Come and learn from local culinary experts as they work their magic and spin some deliciousness with — what else? Chocolate, of course. Plus, sip the best local wines, brews and spirits as you savor gourmet dessert sam

ples, learn about the art of chocolate-making on the “Chocolate School” tour plus a whole lot more. Visit the website for full details.

(credit: Steven Restivo Events)

6th Annual Bay Area Blues Festival
Main St. at Alhambra Ave. to Court St.
Martinez, CA 94553
(800) 310-6563
Dates: Sept 24-25, 10 am-6 pm, FREE admission

Historic downtown Martinez is the ideal location for one of the Bay Area’s most anticipated fall festivals. A merger of two past separate festivals, the Downtown Martinez Italian Street Painting Festival and the San Francisco Polk Street Blues Festival, the Annual Bay Area Blues Festival brings the best of both communities into one mega-entertainment event. Of course, some amazing Blues music is the highlight here, with music on two stages, plus Arts & Crafts exhibitors, a slew of quality vendors offering gourmet food booths, local restaurants, craft beer and wines, a farmers market, kids activities, community booths, and a festival favorite, chalk art! Chalk is available for purchase so kids can create their own art designs and be creative! Historic warm, friendly Martinez makes for a great escape from the big city crowds for a wonderful family, friends or date time together.

(credit: Randy Yagi)

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
Hellman Hollow, Golden Gate Park
100 John F Kennedy Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
Dates: Sept 30/noon-7 pm, Oct 1- Oct 2/11 am-7 pm, FREE admission

Come out and enjoy three full days of free live music in the open green of Golden Gate Park. The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival began in 2001 as a strictly bluegrass music festival, but over time the range of musical genres has expanded, and includes a broad range of artists and music sounds for an incredible diverse and talented lineup of more than 100 music acts on seven stages. This is a family-friendly event and quality festival food will be available for purchase, but not alcohol. You are free to bring picnic coolers, blankets, and low backed chairs. Visit the website for FAQ and to view and download the 2016 music schedule.

14th Annual Art Jazz & Wine Festival
Downtown Pleasant Hill
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 687-0700
Dates: Oct 1/10 am-8 pm, Oct 2/10 am-5 pm, Saturday evening concert 6:30 pm-8:45 pm, FREE admission

This Annual Art Jazz & Wine Festival is rated a lot of fun in the warm and sunny early fall East Bay climate. The festival offers live music, kids entertainment, jewelry, fine arts and crafts booths, premium wine tasting and a beer garden tent spread out over several blocks, with too little signage. So explore before settling on food and wine booths. While jazz is in the name, the musical genres are varied with several musical groups on the schedule. Visit the website closer to the festival date to view the music and bands schedule, food, art and crafts vendor list, and wine and beer purveyors.

(credit: Philipp Guelland/Getty Images)

E. Campbell Ave. and N. 1st St.
Campbell, CA 95008
(408) 378-6252
Dates: Oct 15/10 am-6 pm, Oct 16 /10 am-5 pm, FREE admission

Oktoberfest Campbell is like no other festival of the same name, and uber popular in small town Campbell. The event welcomes more than 40,000 festivalgoers over the two-day event, so be prepared for a spirited beer-loving crowd. The celebration features German food favorites including bratwurst, sauerkraut, potato salad, and a variety of beers and ales, plus more than 100 arts and crafts vendors for strolling and shopping rolled into one. Be ready to tap your feet to the sounds of live music and a marching band to help highlight the action.

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She writes on adult education, art and culture, business, and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a part of the Bay Area independent film community. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.