Monterey by Air, Land, or Sea

Surf and turf. Earth and sky. The delicate balance and perfect pairing of our world’s mediums is part of every day of our lives, in nature, in art, even dining. This weekend, Monterey celebrates our earth’s amazing contrasts with celebrations by air, by land, and by sea.

By Air

California International Air Show

While a few weeks ago Monterey was in the spotlight with the world-famous Concours d’Elegance auto show, the focus this weekend switches from automobiles to aircraft with the California International Airshow, one of the prime air shows in North America (September 23–25 at the Salinas Municipal Airport). With the support of the community, it has raised over $7 million for local needs since its start more than 30 years ago. The CAI Airshow is also a sponsor location for this year’s US Navy centennial celebration, displaying top aircraft including the MV-22, Growler, Super Hornet, and SeaHawk. And there are fun events for families: a performance by the Monterey Bay Symphony Orchestra, a fireworks display, and a kids-only, ‘Just Plane Fun Run,’ where kids 14 and under can race on the runway. An exciting way to enjoy the weekend and support our troops!

Birds of a Feather

There’s another kind of airshow down in the bay: the 7th Annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival, now through September 25 in Watsonville. A brilliant weekend for birders of all ages, the festival holds seminars and presentations on falcons, condors, field sketching, nature and wildlife photography, bird identification, and the answer to why birds have names like ‘Woodpecker,’ ‘Warbler,’ and ‘Waxwing.’ Well-known instructor and nature expeditions leader Debi Shearwater (of Shearwater Journeys) is also giving a presentation on ‘The Big Year,’ a year-long race around North America to find the most species and earn the title of Big Year birding champion of North America. Look for Debi played by Angelica Huston in the upcoming movie ‘The Big Year’ with Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson, due out October 14. In the meantime, come get a sneak peak at what the birding world is all about.

Plus: We love birds in Pacific Grove too! Drop by Science Saturday at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History for this month’s theme, ‘It’s for the Birds,’ where you can learn all about the ins and outs of a bird’s life.

By Land

Grape Crush

Carmel-by-the Sea has plenty going on this Friday through Sunday. The Harvest Wine Dinner at the Chateau Julien Wine Estate in Carmel celebrates September with a grape crush—literally tons of grapes will be prepared for winemaking, followed by a gourmet estate dinner. Long since the days of the ‘manual’ grape crush, where crushers would have to stomp the grapes by foot (remember that episode of I Love Lucy?), the time-honored harvest tradition continues under the stars with the best wine, friends, food, and fun…come enjoy a new vintage at the estate’s most popular event!

Bright Ideas

Monterey has been a place of ideas and inspiration since the time of John Steinbeck and Robert Louis Stevenson. Now there’s a festival especially for the love of books and ideas, the Carmel Authors and Ideas Festival at the Sunset Center in Carmel, September 23–25. Attracting movers and shakers like 2010 guest speakers Condoleezza Rice and David Brooks, this year the city is proud to welcome 35 outstanding authors and idea-makers to the event, among them Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Barry, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and sports writer Rick Reilly. But the festival isn’t just for authors. Opening with a reception and continuing with workshops, seminars, book signings, and the chance to talk one-on-one with bestselling writers, this weekend is for anyone with a passion for pages.

Family Fun

Don’t miss the annual Carmel Mission Fiesta, this Sunday starting at 11am. The well-loved community event is fun for the whole family with live music, activities for kids, delicious BBQ, and arts and crafts.

Rocks & Minerals

Over fifty years of fun and still going: the 51st Annual Gem & Mineral Show kicks of this Saturday and Sunday at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. With jewelry, fossils, and every type of geographic treasure you can imagine, the society brings the community together to delve into earth’s natural beauty. Visit the CV Gem and Mineral Society’s website for a coupon off admission fees.

Heroes!

Right here in our hometown of Pacific Grove, the Asilomar Conference Center is hosting a very special Weekend with Heroes, honoring those who have made an impact on our society through their contributions in service, thought, and compassion. Guest speakers include Dr. Phil Lombardo (Can You Imagine Being a Hero?), Christine Benninger (Reinventing Humane Society Silicon Valley), and Evans Wadongo, a Top 10 CNN Hero 2010 (Use Solar, Save Lives). Visitors will also get to snack on organic refreshments from local farms and spend the evening roasting marshmallows around a cozy bonfire!

By Sea

Otter Days

The world is a better place thanks to sea otters! So what can we do to help protect our threatened otter population? Now is your chance to visit, learn about, and nurture these irresistibly cute creatures at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Otter Days, September 24 and 25. The MBA has a schedule chock full of activities: otter feeding and training sessions, a You Otter Know game show, Green Cuisine with chef Barton Seaver, plus a book signing for his new cookbook, Otter Dress-up, and more. Also check out their website for adorable otter antics and catch the story of Kit, the rescued sea otter pup attending Otter U to learn how to become a surrogate mom for other stranded pups.

Up Close and Personal

If you want to experience more otters, sea lions, and marine life, try taking a kayak adventure! Pacific Grove Inn offers special accomodation packages for two fun tours, especially great for families with children 3 and up: the Monterey Bay Adventure Tour, and the Elkhorn Slough Adventure Tour on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, some of the best wildlife viewing along beautiful Highway 1. Both tours include necessary gear, life jackets, and your choice of sit-on-top, double, or triple kayak. Stop by our website for more details.

Wherever you are, the Monterey Peninsula is calling you to a weekend of outdoor fun! Whether you come by air, land, or sea…

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A Diamond Anniversary

The Monterey County Fair is celebrating 75 years of fun this Labor Day weekend! Each day has a special theme, whether it’s Kids’ Day, Military Appreciation Day, or Fiesta Day, fueled by family activities like KWAV’s West Coast Got Talent Show tomorrow, a Quiz Whiz Game Show, live music (don’t miss Blue Oyster Cult on Friday!), Dueling Pianos, Cowboy Bootcamp, even a Best Dressed Goat Contest. Also new this year is a Cupcake and Ice Cream eating contest, courtesy of the Ice Cream Shoppe/Beatles & Rock Museum right here in Pacific Grove and Mrs. Delish’s Cupcake Boutique.

From traditional fair favorites to spicy Fiesta flavors, no one goes hungry at the MC Fair. McDonald’s is joining the event with free samples of Fresh Fruit Smoothies and the McDonald’s Picnic Day on Labor Day, plus there’s much more to sample, whether it’s artisan lettuce or award-winning wines from the Central Coast Wine Competition at the fair’s Wine Tasting event today. In celebration of the 75 year mark this year, the fair has also put together a special anniversary Monterey County Fair Cookbook available online from their website.

Come enjoy Monterey County’s best on the fairground’s 22 acres of nonstop fun!

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