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4 most adventurous festivals in Temecula

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When most people think of Temecula, they think of wine and....desert. But Temecula is so much more than that. In the past few years, it has gained notoreity for several adventurous festivals and events it hosts. Here's a look at some of our favorites that don't break the bank.

1. The Great Bull Run and Tomato Royale

In the grand tradition of the running of the bulls for the festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain, Temecula has decided to put its own twist on things by hosting its very own bull run for the 18 and over set. Some things are a bit different: the track is only a quarter mile long, and the bulls are not fought, abused, or killed during or at the end of the run. Runners who register receive a bull run t-shirt, bandana, and beer (if they're of age, naturally), as well as access to the live bands and food provided for the festival. Risking life and limb not your thing? No problem. The festival is also hosting "Tomato Royale," a Temecula version of the massive tomato food fight "La Tomatina" in Spain, for those 14 and older (kids 13 and under get free entrance, but may not participate in the Great Bull Run or Tomato Royale). A free beer is also included for food fighters who are 21 and older. The event is happening Saturday, April 12, 2014, and costs $70 for the Bull Run and $45 for Tomato Royale at the venue entrance. There are ticket deals leading up to the event that can be located by registering on the website before the event. Happy dodging!

2. Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival

The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival is a popular event taking place on May 30, 31, and June 1, 2014 at Lake Skinner. It's a giant weekend festival featuring sunrise hot air balloon rides and launches, California wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, craft areas, and a food court. Major headliners perform all weekend; in 2013, The All-American Rejects, Eve 6, and Berlin, appeared in concert. Campsites are available for reservations on March 4 at 8 a.m. and sell out quickly, usually the same day. Prices for parking and entrance vary and can be found online at the event website.

3. Western Days and Chili Cook Off

Old Town Temecula hosts the free annual Western Days and Chili Cook Off, from 10 am-5 pm on May 17 and 18, 2014. With over 5,000 participants last year alone, this shindig is perfect for those with young ones, or just young at heart. The festival features costumed characters, pony rides, western music, a staged bank robbery, roping, and stagecoach rides. The ICS Regional Chili Cook Off People's Choice tasting goes from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and the 30 competitors have a chance to continue on to the World Chili Championships. Who said you can't be a taste tester?

4. Temecula Mud & Wine Festival

Saturday, April 12, 2014, Temecula is hosting the annual Temecula Mud and Wine Festival (also known as the Mud Run). The charity event benefit Jacob's House and Police Activities League for a S.A.F.E. Valley. Featuring tunnels, mounds, pits, pounds, and walls, completion of the 5k mud obstacle is followed by food stands, wine, and beer for those of age. Wash down stations are at the site, and bring a change of shoes and clothes. Costumes and groups are encouraged and a free shirt is included at the end. Parking is $10 and you can register online starting with $44 for individual adults. Check online for details and updates!

Running of the Bulls
Running of the Bulls Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Running of the Bulls

Each year, thousands upon thousands of people participate in the annual festival of San Fermin, or the running of the bulls, in Pamplona, Spain.  Temecula is attempting to replicate the world-famous festival this coming summer.

Hot Air Ballon Blow Up
Hot Air Ballon Blow Up AFP/Getty Images

Hot Air Ballon Blow Up

Pilots crouch around a hot air balloon as they inflate it for customer rides, which typically reach a height of around 2,000 feet.  Hot air balloons come in many different colors, shapes, and patterns.

Cowboys Watch a Rodeo
Cowboys Watch a Rodeo Fairfax Media/Getty Images

Cowboys Watch a Rodeo

Cowboys and rodeo clowns line the edges of an arena to watch comrades try their hand at riding a live, angry bull. Riders attempt to stay on for as long as possible while the bull tries to buck the rider off.

Mud Run Hill
Mud Run Hill Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Mud Run Hill

Several enthusiastic Mud Runners careen down a giant, slippery slope during one of the many mud running events held throughout the world every year.