Attending the Sunset Celebration Weekend

Many years ago while flipping through Sunset Magazine I came across an ad for their annual Celebration Weekend. Sunset had long been one of my favorite magazines and a festival held on their grounds sounded fantastic. But as things go I never quite made it up to Menlo Park to attend. Then came the news that the historic headquarters (home to the magazine since 1954) had been sold and this would be the last celebration held on the grounds. Lickety split, I booked a hotel room, bought my tickets and last weekend, with my best bud in tow, I headed up north to finally attend.

Sunset Celebration Weekend

Determined to make the best of it we arrived at the headquarters soon after the opening time of 10am. Though we had to trek a bit we found ample free parking in the vicinity. We then joined a lengthy line that moved surprisingly quickly. Kudos to the organizers for being so…well…organized.

Once in we were overwhelmed (in a good way) by what was on hand. Countless booths, buildings and events going every which way. We had booked an 11am wine seminar so we briefly enjoyed an iced coffee before heading on over.

Sunset Celebration

The seminar was given by Conn Creek Winery and taught us all about blending wines. After a brief lecture we had a hands on session of tasting and blending various reds from their vineyards.

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After the seminar it was lunch time so we headed to food truck row to discover the foods of the Bay area. We also made sure to purchase our tasting tickets as throughout the grounds were booths offering tastes of wines and beers of the west. As for the food, we settled on empanadas from El Portenos out of San Francisco.

El Porteno Empanadas

I love a good empanada and these did not disappoint. Mm, mm, mm…I know what truck I’m going to track down next time in the city.

After lunch it was time to explore. The grounds were divided into themed areas such as travel, gardening, home, etc. Some areas were a bit disappointing while some were incredible. We didn’t spend much time in travel (mostly booths with brochures and items for sale) but lingered for a long time in garden as the grounds are simply stunning. I couldn’t help but take tons of pictures of the beauty I saw.

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When looking at these pictures my heart breaks that these grounds will soon be gone. The magazine will be splitting its offices between Oakland and Sonoma and the future of the headquarters is up in the air. Seeing that it was sold to a real estate investment firm I can only imagine what nondescript shopping center or subdivision will take its place.

Back to the good stuff. The wine tasting was fantastic. We were given glasses and were able to stroll around sampling what interested us.

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I also loved that we were able to visit the buildings on site and were even offered a tour of the test kitchens.

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We were so enamored of the grounds and the celebration that we spent the entire day there. It was such a wonderful experience that I’ll never forget.

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