There's always something exciting happening in the Monterey Bay Area. Whether you are looking for live music or the latest in gourmet cuisine, you can find it within a short drive of Pajaro Dunes Resort!
Marine Mammal Research Tour -- Tours most days each week
Location: Seymour Marine Discovery Center, End of Delaware Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA (831) 459-3800. 2:15 P.M. to 3:15 P.M. Learn about the work of Scientists and their studies of dolphins, sea lions, elephant seals and harbor seals.
UCSC Arboretum Tours -- Open daily 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. -- Tour 1st Saturday of each Month
Location: UCSC, 1176 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA (831) 427-2998. 11 A.M. Tour the Arboretum's world-class collections with a knowledgeable guide to see what is blooming.
Downtown Santa Cruz Antique Street Fair -- 2nd Sunday of each Month
Location: Lincoln Street between Pacific and Cedar, Santa Cruz, CA (831) 476-6940. 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. (weather permitting) Vendors offer an eclectic blend of antiques and unique items.
Docent led Tour of Elkhorn Slough -- Saturdays & Sundays
Locations: Elkhorn Slough, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville, CA (831) 728-2822. Saturdays and Sundays 10 A.M. & 1 P.M. Meet at the reserve and then learn about the unique area on a guided tour. Open Wednesday thru Sunday, 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Moonlight Steam Train Dinner Party -- Roaring Camp Railroads
July 2nd, August 27th and October 1st. 5401 Graham Hill Road Felton, CA 831-335-4484. Ride a steam train through Northern California's redwood rain forest at its dramatic best, and learn fascinating information about the ecology and seasonal changes of this unique environment.
Santa Cruz Winegrowers Association Passport Program -- January thru December
Various wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains. 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. (831) 685-8463
Mountain Winery Concerts -- June through October
Location: In the hills overlooking vineyards and the city of Saratoga, CA.
Name artists performing all summer.
Guided Elephant Seal Walks -- December Through March
Location: Ano Nuevo State Reserve, Highway 1, Pescadero, CA 800-444-4445. Winter is the prime season to view thousands of elephant seals, including pups, mothers and giant bulls. Ranger-led tours last 2.5 hours, covering 3 miles. Reservations required.
2019 Fall Events
September 13 - 14, 2019 -- 37th Annual Capitola Art & Wine Festival
Capitola Village, Capitola, CA, (831) 475-6522. Art, wine, food and music. A magical way to say farewell to summer at the water's edge. 10 A.M. – 6 P.M. both days.
September 27- 29, 2019 – 62nd Annual Monterey Jazz Festival
Monterey Fairgrounds Monterey, CA (831) 394-2652. Every year we ask: how can this longest-running jazz festival in the world get any hotter? And then the line-up of artists comes out, and we say: oh, that's how. In 2005, look for artists-in-residence Branford Marsalis and John Scofield, headliners like Tony Bennett, Sonny Rollins, the Pat Metheny Trio and Carla Bley Big Band featuring Steve Swallow, plus Lee Ritenour with Dave Grusin, Larry Carlton with Sapphire Blue, the Clifford Brown-Stan Getz All-Stars, and over 500 artists appearing on seven stages.
September 11 - 15, 2019 -- Santa Cruz County Fair
County Fairgrounds, 2601 East Lake Avenue; Off Hwy 152 Watsonville, CA (831) 724-5671. Six days of fun and festivities, including a large carnival. Safe, FUN and affordable.
September 20 - 22, 2019 -- Monterey Grand Prix
1021 Monterey-Salinas Highway Salinas, CA 93908 (831) 242-8201. Grand -Am Rolex Reserve, featuring wheel to fender-bending action of more than 50 Daytona Protypes and GT sports cars.
October 26, 2019 -- 10th Annual Chili Cook Off
9 A.M. to 10 A.M. -- Preparation Period (no heat): 10 A.M. to 1 P.M. Cooking period starts at 1:00 P.M. Public tasting at 4:00 P.M. Winners announced. Location: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
Wineries' Passport Program -- Summer & Fall
Various wineries in Santa Cruz County (831) 479-WINE (9463). A special opportunity to visit wineries that are not open to the public at other times. Meet the winemakers. 11 A.M. to 5 P.M.
2020 Winter Events
January 10 - 12, 2020 --- Santa Cruz Fungus Fair
Louden Nelson Center, 301 Center Street, Santa Cruz, CA. Enjoy fabulous mushroom display, delicacies, mouth watering cooking demonstrations, and bring mushroom for identification. 10 AM to 5 PM
February 3 - 9, 2020 --- AT&T Pro-Am Golf Tournament
Location: Pebble Beach, California on 3 different golf courses.
February 22 - 23, 2020 --- Annual Clam Chowder Cook-Off
Location: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. 10 AM to 4 PM. A Santa Cruz tradition featuring "supper" recipes, wacky chefs, nautical decor, and teams competing for best-tasking Boston or Manhattan Chowders.
2020 Spring Events
March TBA, 2020 --- Eggstraordinary Egg Hunt
Roaring Camp Railroads Felton, CA (831) 335-4484. Kids take the steam train to Bear Mountain to hunt for thousands of Chocolate candy eggs hidden by the Easter Bunny in a redwood forest and win prizes.
May TBA, 2020 -- Annual Steinbeck Festival
National Steinbeck Center, 1 Main Street Salinas, CA 93901 (831) 775-4737. Three days of films, speakers, panels, theater, and bus or walking tours, all celebrating Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck
May TBA, 2020 -- Ferrari Challenge
1021 Monterey-Salinas Highway Salinas, CA 93908 (831) 242-8201. Round 1 of the 2019 Ferrari Challenge North America kicks-off at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
May 15 - 17, 2020 -- 27th Annual Carmel Art Festival
Devendorf Park Carmel, CA (831) 642-2503. Gallery events, lectures, receptions and demonstrations at 43 art galleries and a Plain Air Painting competition. Outdoor art show featuring bronze, glass, stone, marbles and acrylic sculpture.
May 23 - 25, 2019 -- 39th Annual Civil War Battles and Encampment
Roaring Camp Railroads Felton, CA (831) 335-4484. Visit encampments of Union & Confederate soldiers. See battles at one of the longest-running Civil War reenactments. 10 A.M. to 4 P.M.
May TBA, 2020 -- 36th Annual SCLU Longboard Invitational
Steamers Lane 700 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. “The best longboard contest in the US. Longboarders from across the state take over Steamer Lane each Memorial Day weekend, as nearly 200 contestants compete in the longest-running longboard surf contest on the West Coast!”
2020 Summer Events
June 6 - 7, 2020 - Castroville Artichoke Festival
Castroville, CA (831) 633-2465. Sample the many unique flavors of the artichoke in an atmosphere of pleasure, tasteful treats, musical entertainment, arts and crafts. Enter the AGRO-Art competition, too!
June 6 & 7, 2020 –California International Air Show
Salinas, CA (831) 754-1983. Prepare to be dazzled by fantastic flying exhibitions by high-flying jets and helicopters, aerobatics, skydiving, and much more.
June TBA 2020 -- 44th Annual Monterey Wine Festival
Know as "America's original Wine Festival" the Monterey Wine & Fine Living Festival has continued to grow since 1976. More than just a showcase for great wine, the festival is a major educations forum for wine connoisseurs as well as members of the restaurant and food service industry.
June TBA, 2020 -- Father's Day - Hats Off to Dad
Roaring Camp Railroads Felton, CA (831) 335-4484. A lucky dad rides from Bear Mountain in the cab of each steam locomotive. Reservations recommended. 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.
July 4, 2020 -- Aptos 4th of July Parade
Soquel Drive & State Park Drive Aptos, CA (831) 688-1467. "World's Shortest Parade". Pancake breakfast before the parade. Party in the park afterwards with music. 7:30 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.
July 4, 2020 -- Old Fashioned Family 4th of July
Roaring Camp Railroads Felton, CA (831) 335-4484. Celebrate Independence Day 1880’s style with gold panning, candle making, a toy frog flume, stream train & car rides. 12 P.M. to 3 P.M.
July TBA, 2020 -- Old Fashioned Family 4th of July
1021 Monterey-Salinas Highway Salinas, CA 93908 (831) 242-8201. Racing at its best! Operated by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula.
July 18 - August 1, 2020 -- Carmel Bach Festival
Carmel, CA (831) 624-2046. America's preeminent festival of Baroque music will celebrate its 80th season with 100 musicians from around the world, performing in venues including Sunset Center, Carmel Mission Basilica and the Church in the Forest, Pebble Beach, and All Saints Church.
July 16 - 19, 2020 -- California Salinas Rodeo
1034 North Main Street Salinas, CA 93902 (800)-771-8807 or (831) 775-3100. The California Rodeo Salinas promises edge-of-your-seat thrills for the entire family. Top pro competition in steer wrestling, bull riding, calf roping, are back bronco riding, and barrel racing. Enjoy parades, night shows and great food booths.
July 24 - 26, 2020 -- Gilroy Garlic Festival
Gilroy, CA (408) 842-1625. Gourmet garlic food fair with arts and crafts, cooking demonstrations, children's area, three stages of musical entertainment and 65 food booths
July 26, 2020 -- Moss Landing Antique Fair
Downtown Moss Landing, CA (831) 633-4501 A community know for its many antique stores show their wares in the stores and on the streets.
July TBA, 2020 -- Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music
Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church Street, Santa Cruz, CA (831) 420-5260 (Box Office). Hailed as the most distinguished ongoing festivals of New Music in the United States.
August 1 & 2, 2020 -- Strawberry Festival
Downtown, Watsonville, CA (831) 728-6183. Ripe strawberries take center stage at the weekend celebration featuring strawberry delights, foods, arts & crafts. 10 A.M. - 7 P.M.
August 13 - 16, 2020 -- Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Monterey, CA (800) 327-SECA. The Monterey Historics brings out the best of racing's past from rare pre-war racers adorned with nameplates like Bugatti and Alfa-Romeo to 70’s and 80’s cars from Lola and McLaren. This year's featured marquee is Chaparral, part of an overall tribute to "Great American Specials" that is paying homage to American ingenuity in the early days of big-time motor racing.
August 16, 2020 -- Concourse d' Elegance
Pebble Beach, CA (831) 622-1700. This spectacular event exhibits some of the most unusual prewar and post war marquees along with the latest in concept car designs, all in the beautiful setting of Pebble Beach. General Admission Tickets $325 in advance, $375 day of show.
August 27 - 31, 2020 -- Monterey County Fair
Monterey County Fairgrounds Monterey, CA (831)372-5863. The County Fair is always fun for all, with livestock exhibitions, a wine-tasting booth, amusement midway and delicious foods, plus great live entertainment.