Summer is ushered in with the return of Topanga Days festival

Photo by Julie Ellerton

Sunny skies, check. Great music, check. Delicious food, check. Good vibes, check. Tie dye, check, of course. And most importantly, strong community support, check, check, check. There were hundreds of happy faces the Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend to celebrate Topanga Days, the event that ushers in the summer and celebrates the close-knit bohemian mountain community of Topanga.

2022’s Topanga Days Country Fair was the 47th annual event with a two-year interruption due to COVID-19. This year would have been the celebration’s 49th year had not COVID-19 upended most community activity the world over. This year’s event was abbreviated to just two days rather than the typical three-day festival that draws up to 10,000 revelers high into the canyon for the annual holiday weekend event. Fewer tickets were sold this year as well in an abundance of caution due to the recent rise in number of COVID-19 cases.

Sunday and Monday, the picturesque mountain community was buzzing with artisans, musicians, nature lovers, and families, many who call Topanga home and others who slog through the canyon otherwise during their commutes. For visitors to the mountain hamlet, Topanga Days is a peek into the community that celebrates creativity and good vibes while also supporting neighbors.

The Topanga Days Country Fair is actually a fundraiser for the cherished Topanga Community House. The festival launched in 1973, founded by a group of actors, writers and musicians. Their original spirit of love and flower power still resonates today and also includes traditional family and children’s activities like an egg toss, face painting, a blowup slide, and bounce house. 

This year’s live musical soundtrack came courtesy of the bands Venice, Surge, Hallelujah Boy, Honeybee, and Boogaloo Assassins to name a few. Food trucks providing vegan fare to barbecue were on site to satisfy every taste.

The eclectic and vibrant Topanga Canyon parade kicked off Monday morning festivities featuring floats, horses and costumed revelers. But mostly importantly, the parade took time to remind residents of the hardships over the past two years and honored those who stepped up to help their neighbors in a time of need. A team of grand marshals — Inara George, Jake Kasdan, Jed Levy, and Kristina Rocco Levy — were chosen as a few “who made a huge impact on our community during the COVID-19 lockdown.” According to organizers, “These outstanding community members stepped up with the TCC & the Canyon Sages to feed & help our community’s seniors and those in need for over a year when the COVID pandemic hit. 

“They donated and delivered (with the help of many loyal volunteers) 17,000 meals, more than 1,000 food boxes and made more than 100 vaccination appointments for those struggling to get a vaccination time,” the organizers continued. “Their commitment to serve Topangans in need during the trying times of lock down as well as provide tasty dishes from Rocco’s Cucina was truly amazing. For this effort, and for decades of service to the Topanga community, the TCC chooses to distinguish them as our Parade Grand Marshals this year.”