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A Thanksgiving Tradition: The San Diego Jazz Festival

How about soundtracking your Thanksgiving-time visit to America’s Finest City with a little jazz?

That’s the beauty of the San Diego Jazz Festival, bringing for its 37th run musicians from all around the country—including plenty of regional representatives—to town around T-Day!

This beloved “crown jewel of jazz festivals” takes place November 23 through 27 at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, and features, as always, an impressive range of musical styles: traditional jazz, Dixieland, swing, ragtime, gospel, rockabilly, and more.

An Eclectic Lineup

La Jolla’s High Society Jazz Band and our very own Sue Palmer (“San Diego’s Queen of Boogie Woogie”) and Her Motel Swing Orchestra usher in proceedings on Wednesday evening.

Then you’ve got artists such as Tom Rigney and Flambeau, who’ll bring Cajun, zydeco, and other Louisiana stylings to the affair; San Diego’s Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra and its period-costumed dancers; Chicago’s Lakeshore Syncopators, delivering 1920s-style jazz and dance tunes; and the delightful San Fernando Valley Banjo Band—among scores of other performers. (Check out the full festival lineup right here.)

Swing Dance Battling, Jamming It Up

Among the special events during the San Diego Jazz Festival are the Swing Dance Extravaganza on Saturday, November 26, which’ll feature a “Battle of the Bands” between Dave Stuckey and His Hot House Gang and Joe Smith and the Spicy Pickles as well as, naturally, a Swing Dance Competition rewarding the winning couple with $500. Friday through Sunday, JazzSea Jams will offer participants the opportunity to participate in open jam sessions steered by Dick Williams on cornet.

The festival’s Friday and Saturday offerings, meanwhile, include an array of dance classes for mastering the two-step, the Balboa, and other classic swing-dance moves. And Sunday morning’ll kick off with a gospel “Hymn-A-Long” by the Night Blooming Jazzmen of Claremont.

Make It a Jazzy Thanksgiving

Come stay with us here at the Sofia Hotel for the 37th annual San Diego Jazz Fest! It’s an easy drive from our downtown hotel to the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center—or hop on public transportation to the Fashion Valley Transit Center, a mere 10-minute’s walk from the festival site.

You can learn more about the San Diego Jazz Fest and purchase tickets at the official website. We hope to see you there!