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One of my favorite summertime events, the Strauss Festival of Elk Grove, starts Thursday, July 25 and runs through Sunday at Elk Grove Regional Park’s Strauss Island. As you might guess from the name “Strauss,” the show features the music of the family of Johann Strauss performed by the live, 32-piece Camellia Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Jay DeWald. What first-time show-goers might not expect is how visually stunning the performance is. Dancers—all volunteers, mind you—waltz (and polka) their way through the show’s storyline. (This year’s performance is “All Hallows Eve,” based on the 1954 film Brigadoon). The men wear tuxedoes; they look fine. But it’s the women who dazzle in their vibrantly colored ball gowns. It’s truly mesmerizing. So much so, I sometimes find myself not paying attention to the show! Whether you go for the story or just the music (I know one guy who closes his eyes through the performance and just listens to the music), it’s a fun way to spend a summer night. The prelude, which provides the audience a chance to take photos of the dancers as they promenade through the park, starts at 7:45 p.m.; the performance starts at 8:15 p.m. But get there early to enjoy a picnic dinner. There’s a whole art form to getting the “perfect” seat at the Strauss Festival and the SF folks explain it quite splendidly, so click here. The Strauss Festival is free, but be prepared to spend $10 to park. It’s suitable for all ages, making it perfect for a family outing or a romantic date night. Fireworks at the conclusion of the show close the evening with a bang.
What: Strauss Festival of Elk Grove
Where: Strauss Island, Elk Grove Regional Park
When: July 25–28
Cost: Free, but parking is $10