Ojai is situated in a small east-west valley, north of Ventura and east of Santa Barbara. It is approximately 15 miles inland from the Pacific coast.
Since Ojai is lined up with an east-west mountain range, it is one of few towns in the world to have a "Pink Moment" occur as the sun is setting, when the fading sunlight creates a brilliant shade of pink for several minutes on the Topatopa Bluffs at the east end of the Ojai Valley, over 6,000 feet above sea level. It is a rare and magical moment that thousands of visitors come to Ojai annually to see.
The Ventura River flows through the valley, draining the mountains surrounding Ojai to the north and east and emptying into the Pacific Ocean at the city of Ventura. The town of Ojai and its surrounding area is home to many unique recreational activities. Los Padres National Forest borders the town on the north, and many backcountry areas within the forest are accessible from Highway 33, which is the major highway through town south to north.
Special Events in Ojai
The Ojai Music Festival, founded in 1947, is an annual festival of performances by some of the world's top musicians and composers, and occurs on the first weekend after Memorial Day. Notable appearances include Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Pierre Boulez, who was festival director in 2003.
The Ojai Poetry Festival began in 2003 as a biennial gathering of poets for two days of readings and discussions. It features poets of national repute such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Galway Kinnell, Jane Hirshfield, Robert Bly, Coleman Barks and Gary Snyder.
The Ojai Wine Festival which began in 1987, draws approximately 4000 people and 60 wineries each year to the shores of Lake Casitas in the Ojai Valley. The event is held at the picturesque site of the 1984 Olympic Rowing competition and features approximately 200 wines, a selection of beer, 10 local restaurants, live music, free boat rides, and many art and craft vendors. Many of the wineries consider this festival to be their favorite as it is the best combination of good weather, great scenery, and enthusiastic people who come to enjoy the food and wine culture of the Ojai Valley. The event is held annually on the second Sunday in June.
The Ojai Big Chili Cook off, held on the first Saturday in October each year, brings thousands of eager tasters and approximately 50 cooks together for the areas largest chili and salsa competition. The chili village is set on the shore of Lake Casitas and includes live music, free boat rides, a kids area, food, beer, and wine. The cooks compete in multiple categories for over $4000 in prize money. Attendees taste a wide variety chili and salsa and participate judging.
Ojai Visitors' Bureau: Ojai California is a travel and tourism destination where you will find wonderful spas, festivals, shopping, wineries, restaurants and more!
Ojai hosts the oldest competitive tennis tournament in the United States, known as The Ojai, which has been held since 1893.
The outdoor bookshop Bart's Books, subject of news programs and documentaries, has been in Ojai since 1964.
Ojai is home to the annual Ojai Playwrights Conference, a two week playwrights festival that brings professional writers and actors from across the country to Ojai.Over a period of just a few years, the Conference has become one of Southern California's most eagerly anticipated annual cultural events.