Fun. Fantastic. Fall.

Watermelon to pumpkin pie. Sandals to sweaters. Rolex Monterey Motorsports to Porsche Rennsport. As we fall deeper into a clear, crisp autumn, you might find yourself craving some fall fun. So whether you’re out for a nice steaming cup of hot chocolate, a hay ride round the pumpkin patch, or a seat right by the track, Monterey knows how to do each season in style. Here are a few highlights…

Big Dreams, Big Screen
If you love art, film, music, and celebrities all in one fantastic place, come to the Carmel Art & Film Festival, now to October 16. This week the dreamlike city by the sea is proud to host a ‘Kaleidoscope of Ideas,’ showcasing a variety of mediums in a display of extraordinary talent. Check out our blog post for more info!

Porsche Plus
There’s never a dull moment at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This week the world-famous track will honor one of the most prized cars of our time, the Porsche, at the Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV, October 14-16. Fans will have the chance to meet 50 top Porsche drivers, get autographs, and see almost 1,000 Porsches on display. The reunion is only every three years, so you won’t want to miss it this time! Two bonuses: an exclusive viewing point usually off-limits to the public, and this year’s co-Grand Marshals Jerry Seinfeld, comedian and Porsche enthusiast extraordinaire, and legendary engineer Norbert Singer. Double bonus: If you’re looking for more Porsche action, stop by the Porsche Race Car Classic on October 16 at Carmel’s Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club.

Just for (Fall) Fun
Monterey has plenty going on for families!

Saturday, October 15
Fall Festival, The Farm in Salinas Valley,with hayrides, pumpkin races, a scarecrow contest, and a puppet show.

Fun Fall Days, Earthbound Organic Farm in Carmel, offering squash and seed tasting, cornhusk doll making, pumpkin poles, pumpkin carving demonstrations, games, and crafts.

Sunday, October 16
Fiesta del Mar, Monterey Bay Aquarium.
It’s ocean conservation and a cultural celebration in one for this fun annual event. Live music, Aztec Dancers, crafts, bilingual feeding shows, and all the marvels of the Monterey Bay Aquarium—plus a brand new Great White Shark exhibit. This little guy looks pretty happy in his new home.…you might even see him smile.

Grateful Life Festival, Monterey County Fairgrounds. Open-air concert with Cedar-N-Sage and Cecil Allen (Clay).

Eat, Drink, and Be Marina
Here’s a great chance to sink into coastal life and get to know our neighbor, the city of Marina. You’re invited to ‘Fall into Flavors’ at the 7th Annual International Flavors of Marina on October 13. Sample over 20 of the best local wineries and eateries, and a little bit of life on the bay at The Dunes on Monterey Bay, a new Catalyst Project community planned for completion by 2020. The new development is across from Fort Ord Dunes State Park, the area’s newest park, and will focus on sustainability and community growth. It’s set to have a regional light rail, biking and hiking trails, shopping, and new affordable housing by Pulte Homes and Shea Homes. Enjoy the local flavors and maybe even find your own dream house by the sea.

‘Fast Planes and Hot Cars…’ That’s what the Marina Air Faire is all about this Saturday, October 15. The annual fair gives you nonstop great times from 10am to 4pm: Wine Tasting from Hahn Estates, Scheid Vineyards, and more, an art show and sale, classic car show, aircraft display, silent auction, Community Chili Challenge, even plane rides. And the profits will go to local charity.

Swiss Miss Bliss
Chocolate tastes better on the bay. On the Hot Chocolate Sunset Cruise with Elkhorn Slough Safari, you can enjoy a brilliant coastal sunset while warming up with some hot cocoa in Elkhorn Slough, one of the best viewing places for local wildlife. This is a special tour available only in the fall! Elkhorn Slough Safari is also setting out on a Sea Otter Focus Tour Sunday, October 16, where you can talk with experts and spend quality time with this amazing (endangered) species.

Deep Blue Sea…
Closer to home, there will be a lecture here at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History: ‘Green Seas, Blue Seas—Conveying Science, Conservation and History through Public Art,’ with Frank Schwing, Senior Policy Analyst with the National Oceans Council.

The weekend is almost here! From race cars to art and film, there is a Kaleidoscope of Ideas to choose from. And a trip to Monterey might be the best idea yet.

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Labor Day in Monterey: Anything but Labor

Barbecues, pool parties, parades, the last of the season’s warm summer evenings on the patio with family and friends…however you choose to celebrate this Labor Day, Monterey makes it happen. Here are just a few things to do in Monterey this Labor Day weekend.

Parade to the Park

The city of Marina is one of the few places in Monterey to organize a parade, embracing a richly colorful custom that has spanned more than a century in the US since our nation’s very first parade in 1882. Marina’s parade begins at Reservation Rd and Crescent Ave, leading up to a festival from noon to 2pm at the Marina Shopping Center.

My Big Fat Greek Weekend

Every labor day weekend, Monterey hosts the annual Greek Festival at the Custom House Plaza right on Fisherman’s Wharf. Enjoy all things Greek at this three-day fest, with traditional Greek recipes passed down through hundreds of years of history, live music, Greek dance performances as well as interactive dance lessons, and the chance to experience the Mediterranean lifestyle on the beautiful coast of Monterey Bay.

It’s Labor Day for Sharks too…

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is open this weekend, with another new guest: Great White Shark Jr., 4’7″ and just over 43 pounds. The young shark was found near Malibu, CA, earlier this month and brought to the aquarium’s new Open Sea Exhibit on August 31. Plus, this is the last weekend for Evenings by the Bay, the aquarium’s summer concert series starring musicians from the Monterey Jazz Festival and the MBA’s majestic marine life. But if your weekend’s already booked, the series ends only to set the stage for the Monterey Jazz Festival just around the corner: September 16-18 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds.

Monterey County Fair

In honor of its Diamond anniversary this year, the fair is debuting lots of first-ever and one-time-only opportunities, and this year is billed to be the largest carnival in its 75-year history. Rodeo performances are free this Thursday through Saturday, and the fest boasts new thrills with its Zero Gravity ride and T3 Triple Twist. You can even check out some rides previously owned by Michael Jackson, the Zipper and the Wave Swinger.

Cheers!

It’s no secret that the Peninsula and surrounding areas are home to countless fine wines and wine events, and this weekend is no exception. Today, September 1, is a special wine tasting event at the Monterey County Fair, as well as a Wine Dinner by Jordon Winery held at The Clement Monterey on Cannery Row. And each weekend means Fromage Friday at Taste Morgan in Carmel—ask your innkeeper at Pacific Grove Inn about our special coupons to this event!

Feliz Soledad

Celebrate the weekend Fiesta style with Soledad Fiesta Days, September 1-4. Music, activities for children, a talent show, and more, all under a summer sun with the hint of fall…what’s not to love?

No matter where you are or what you’ve got going on this Labor Day, we hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Happy Labor Day from Pacific Grove Inn!

PGIF: Monterey–the Other City that Never Sleeps

After all the bustle and business of last weekend’s world-famous Concours, auctions, and races, you might think the town would take this weekend off.

But not Monterey.

Today is the “Kick-Off Party” of the 10th Annual Sand City West End Celebration, jumpstarting the three-day festival of live music, art, cuisine, and any number of Monterey’s top creative talent. Join in tonight’s party with live entertainment from Blues master Chris Cain, Red Beans & Rice (voted best local band in Monterey for 11 years in a row), and John “Broadway” Tucker (winner of the Monterey Bay Blues Festival’s Mobay Award), plus a special performance by the Monterey Bay Blues Festival’s Blues in the School Honor Band.

The celebration sets up a great lineup of musicians every year, drawing such acts as last year’s Los Lobos (the Grammy award-winning band you may know best from their hit cover of Ritchie Valens’ ‘La Bamba’). Some of 2011’s artists include Honeymoon, Jackie Greene, and Matt Masih and the Messengers.

With the many exhibitions, vendors, music, sculptures, and paintings, there’s plenty for everyone here this weekend. Plus, it’s easy being green at the festival’s ‘Green Scene,’ where you can find out more about raw cuisine, green living, and environmental health.

Saturday, August 27

If you missed any of last week’s festivities, the car shows continue! Tomorrow is the 7th Annual Mopars by the Bay Car Show at Monterey State Historic Park. In case you’re wondering, Mopar is short for Motor Parts, a term coined by Chrysler in the 1920s, which has come to describe any member of the Chrysler family, including Dodge, Plymouth and Jeep. It’s a whole day of entertainment, raffles, and awards, all free to the public.

Science rocks in Monterey! It’s Science Saturday at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. This month’s feature is Rocks and Minerals, with lots of activities to help you explore nature’s geological secrets right here in our own back yard of Pacific Grove.

‘Shop for a Cause’ this Saturday, and treat yourself at Macy’s and macys.com to support the community! All proceeds go to the Marina Foundation, which grants scholarships and funds to residents, education programs, and organizations that enrich our area. You’ll also get the chance to win a $500 Macy’s gift card. This is Macy’s sixth nationwide event, which has raised more than $38 million for charities.

Sunday, August 28

The Marina Certified Farmers Market continues this Sunday, with a special addition: an Otter Day event, celebrating the return of Cal State Monterey Bay’s student Otters. The day is packed with fun activities—a scavenger hunt, healthy cooking workshops with Kari Bernardi and Dale Presson, a fashion show, drawings, live music and a DJ…plus the market’s weekly display of organic produce, crafts, and more.

‘Today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic…’ MY Museum (Monterey Youth Museum) is hosting a Teddy Bear Picnic for children 5 and under, with games, snacks, and songs. And don’t forget to bring the guest of honor—your favorite bear.

One of the best parts of the weekend is Sunday Brunch! Try something new at the annual Jewish Food Festival and Crafts Faire in Carmel, this Sunday starting at 10:30am. Explore Jewish delicacies from challah bread and latkes to blintzes and strudel, plus watch a reenactment of a spirited Jewish wedding, shop from an assortment of fine Israeli and American crafts, and dance along to traditional Klezmer music.

And as a special sneak preview, there’s plenty of fun scheduled for the Monterey County Fair, starting next Tuesday, August 31–September 5. Stop by the website to buy tickets and find listings of all the fantastic upcoming events and sponsors for 2011!

Talk about things to do in Monterey! With this much to do and more year round, Monterey may well be the other city that never sleeps. The laid-back ease of coastal life combined with an exciting social calendar and the unique seaside charm of Monterey make the Peninsula a treasure for travelers and locals alike. We look forward to welcoming you!

Running Events: Music, Music, Music!

Concerts in Carmel: Fridays at Carmel Plaza
Annie the Musical: Weekends through September 25 at the Outdoor Forest Theater in Carmel.
Music on the Mall: Del Monte Shopping Center. Saturdays in August. This Saturday is the last one, so hurry if you want to catch some great music and shopping this summer!
Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa concert series: Fridays at the Monterey Plaza Hotel.
Sunday Music by the River: Every Sunday from 1-5pm at the Big Sur River Inn.
Evenings by the Bay + Aquarium Sleepover: Saturdays and Sundays through September 4.

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