PGIF: October Fests and Columbus Day Weekend

October. A time for pumpkins, festivals, Fleet Week, theater, beer, and celebrating the fall, our nation…and especially California. Here’s our quick list of just a few ways you can enjoy Columbus Day weekend 2011:

Further Back
It was around this time many years ago that Monterey housed the debates that have led California to where we are today: Statehood. Now you can see how it all began at the Monterey History Fest this weekend, October 8–9, at the Custom House Plaza and other venues around Monterey. It’s a fun way to dig deep into the richness of Monterey’s heritage, with historical reenactments, musket and cannon firing demonstrations, a Native American puppet show children will love, and Civil War encampments—plus a military camp of the California Historical Artillery Society, the largest mounted artillery group in the US. There will also be a special commemoration of the 162nd Anniversary of California’s Constitution Day, scripted from actual state records. Come be a part of history!

Further On
Grateful Dead founding members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir are coming to the area with their band ‘Further,’ on tour now. And Monterey is throwing a festival just for them! The Further Festival at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, October 7–8, will feature an outstanding lineup of musicians, including Jeff Chimenti, John Kadlecik, Joe Russo, Sunshine Becker, and Jeff Pehrson, as Further lights up the Peninsula with their signature jams and stellar style.

Pure Jade
The 20th Annual Big Sur Jade Festival kicks off this Friday, October 7–9, at the Pacific Valley School across Highway 1 in Big Sur. Peruse long tables covered with the precious stone and enjoy live music, good food, and lectures and demonstrations including how to carve a jade bangle. One of the world’s largest shows of its kind, the three-day event is perfect for craft-makers, collectors, hobbyists…just about anyone.

Photo by Digital Sophia

Footloose and Fancy Fare
If you’re in the mood for something sweet and savory with a little ’80s panache, try a Taste of Carmel, one of the top wine and dine events in the area, Thursday, October 6, at the historic Carmel Mission. Sample a variety of flavors from some of the best local restaurants and wineries—Cantinetta Luca, Merlot Bistro, Lula’s Chocolates, Morgan Winery, and Chateau Julien, to name just a few. You’re also invited to wear your ’80s best for this year’s theme, ‘Footloose and Fancy Fare,’ with a DJ and dance party.

Mini Mention
They may be small, but they are mighty: miniature ships at the Society of Miniature Ship Collectors Meeting, Northern California chapter, October 8 at the Portola Hotel & Spa, Monterey. Hundreds of models will be displayed, drawing exhibitors and visitors from all over the world. You might even see some Naval ships passing through the area, part of San Francisco’s Fleet Week.

Weekend Shorts
There are too many events to list this weekend! Here are a few more you might enjoy:

October 7
First Fridays Art Walk, downtown Salinas. A great way to observe California Arts Day!

Robinson Jeffers Fall Festival, Robinson Jeffers Tor House, Carmel. The festival runs Friday to Sunday with poetry readings, lectures, and an Annual Jeffers Poetry Walk on Carmel River Beach.

October 8
Beerfest at Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, Cannery Row, Monterey. Beer and live music, Octoberfest style.

Photo Safari, Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing. Beginner to advanced photographer, anyone can join this fun cruise through some of the most beautiful scenery in the area, taking photos of the wildlife and making memories for a lifetime.

October 9
First Annual Monterey Beer Garden, Memory Gardens, downtown Monterey. Hosted by Peter B’s Brewpub of the Portola Hotel & Spa, the evening offers over a dozen brews, BBQ, and some great fall fun.

October 7-9
Romeo & Juliet, Outdoor Forest Theater, Carmel. A classic, right here in Monterey.

There’s no wrong way to celebrate Columbus Day weekend. We hope you celebrate with us!

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Pizza secrets, and a concert with the Bacons

How about a hand-crafted pizza tomorrow, Thursday, 9/29, in Carmel? Make a lunch date at Cantinetta Luca, voted ‘Best Restaurant in Carmel’ by readers of Monterey County Weekly, for their ‘Pizza Secrets Class.’ You can discover the secrets to great handmade Italian cuisine right in their restaurant. Learn how to make their famous pizzas in a beautiful ‘Californean’ setting, then sit down and enjoy!

And later tomorrow night, at 8pm, enjoy a special concert with the Bacon Brothers, actor Kevin Bacon and film composer Michael Bacon, at the Sunset Center in Carmel. An unforgettable night of what The New Yorker calls ‘sharply executed rock that has a blue-collar, rootsy edge.’ Plus, come early for dinner at Cantinetta Luca and receive a discount off your check…a gourmet deal just for concert-goers!

How about that for a weekend warm-up?

PGIF: Music, racing, and good ol’ California wine

Here in Monterey, we are passionate about the weekend. As summer turns to fall, the kids are back in school, and work settles into a steady routine, Monterey starts up their world-famous Monterey Jazz Festival, the American Le Mans racing series, California Wine Month, a beach party, and more.

The way they do the things they do
And it’s the way they do the things they do that has made The Temptations one of the most successful Motown groups of all time. After more than 40 years, the hit-making trendsetters (My Girl, The Way You Do the Things You Do, Get Ready) are bringing their unique sound and unparalleled talent to the Peninsula for this one-night-only concert, tonight, September 15, at the Sunset Center in Carmel. What better way to ease into the weekend than velvety vocals, soothing grooves, and a relaxed atmosphere just a stone’s throw from the Pacific.

‘Any good music must be an innovation…’ Les Baxter, American Musician and Composer

And Monterey must be a haven of innovators. This weekend features a staple of every musician’s and music lover’s diet: Jazz. The Monterey Jazz Festival, September 16-18, is the world’s longest-running celebration of its kind, voted “World’s Best Jazz Festival” three times by JazzTimes Magazine readers. And it’s no wonder, with 500 outstanding artists, 5 arena concerts, 7 different stages spread over the fairground’s 20 acres, and 30+ hours of live music, as well as cuisine, a bazaar, and endless activity. The festival is held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, just 10-15 minutes from Pacific Grove Inn.

Featured artists for 2011 include Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins, both praised by the legendary Miles Davis for their exceptional skill, as well as India.Arie, Idan Raichel, and Huey Lewis and the News. Check out their incredible bios and resumes on the festival’s website: http://www.montereyjazzfestival.org/2011/artists/arena.

Ready. Set. Race.
Yes, Monterey loves cars. The racing continues with the American LeMans Series (ALMS) this Friday through Sunday at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It’s a six-hour adrenaline-surge for drivers and engineers alike, racing their 1000+ pounds of pure force around the world-famous track with its formidable Corkscrew. With makes from Acura to Porsche, there’s something for everyone.

A (Post) Midsummer Night’s Dream
In case you didn’t get enough summer this year (who did?), now’s your chance to catch just one more summer night with a beach party, a featured event of California Wine Month. The Pinotfest Monterey kicks off this Friday at Del Monte Beach, with music, dancing, BBQ favorites, samples from 20+ local wineries, and a silent auction to benefit Ag Against Hunger. All this at a newly-renovated beach party house on Monterey’s gorgeous shores alight with tiki torches and a star-studded sky. It’s everything you’d ever want a beach party to be.

For other ways to celebrate California Wine Month, check out these options:

Fromage Friday at Taste Morgan. Ask our innkeeper about your free entry to this weekly wine tasting.

Harvest Wine Dinner at the Chateau Julien Wine Estate, next weekend, September 23. Make your reservation now!

Click here for a full list of featured California Wine Month events.

FallFest/Oktoberfest

Two other fantastic Monterey Bay festivals going on this Saturday and Sunday:

The FallFest Arts and Crafts Faire at Monterey State Historic Park exhibits the talents of our local artists and artisans with sculptures, paintings, and jewelry of all kinds. Enjoy great food while watching live entertainment, and browse all kinds of creative treasures. You can even meet the artists!

The Monterey Bay Oktoberfest at the Barnyard Shopping Center in Carmel opens the tap on “foamy fun” with traditional music, Bratwurst, Pretzels, and of course…beer. The brew of choice is Spaten, one of the few to reach “Oktoberfest beer” status in Munich. Don’t miss this cherished centuries-old Bavarian tradition!

If it’s that easy to plan your weekend by the coast, why settle into back-to-do blues? When the going gets mundane, let the mundane get to Monterey.

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