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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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.

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.

MGMT, the Mazda Raceway, and getting creative with summer

Monterey ROCKS! And here are three ways you can rock with us, Wednesday, August 10…

Tomorrow night in Big Sur, the Henry Miller Memorial Library is hosting east coast indie rockers MGMT, performing hits off their album, ‘Congratulations.’ Check out the website for a list of the library’s myriad upcoming events for music lovers, and don’t forget to click on the MGMT link to ‘waitlist’ your tickets! henrymillerlibraryhome.eventbrite.com

If you’ve ever dreamed of being on the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, now’s your chance! Once every month, cyclists of all levels get the opportunity to ride its historical tracks for the Twilight Ride, tomorrow from 5:30-7:30pm. It’s two miles, eleven turns, and a 300-ft ascent of raceway magic and memories…not to mention an unforgettable cruise around the world-famous Corkscrew. Bring your bike, helmet, $10 entrance fee, and a lot of energy!

And for all of you artists, why not try swapping out your summer vacation scrapbook with a vacation sketchbook? Ignite your creativity! Tomorrow morning kicks off The Traveler’s Sketchbook, a three-day workshop for budding and blooming artists of all levels with illustrator Chi Birmingham from Brooklyn, NY. Enjoy beautiful outdoor locations while studying artistic topics like perspective, proportions, and more! For more information, visit bigsurarts.com/aug-10-11-12-drawing-from-the-land.

PGIF: Kicking off the weekend in Pacific Grove

It’s the weekend at Pacific Grove Inn! Lots to do in Monterey this weekend…here are just a few highlights.

Looking for something fun to do with your family? MY Museum (Monterey County Youth Museum) is gearing up for a fantastic fall with their Back to School Bonanza, today from 3-5pm. Decorate backpack tags, catch up on the latest school supplies, and have a blast getting set as the back-to-school countdown begins.

Or if you’re in the mood for a musical, head down to the Bruce Ariss Wharf Theater for your favorite show tunes in BROADWAY: A Musical. Experience the classics from Oklahoma!, Guys and Dolls, Grease, and more right on Fisherman’s Wharf.

The Concerts in Carmel concert series kicks off tonight at Carmel Plaza. Every Friday (except August 19) from now through September 30 will feature world-class musicians, a sampling of the best local wines and bites, and a special Monterey charity.

And speaking of concerts, there’s nothing better than an evening of music by the Bay. At the Evenings by the Bay concert series hosted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, two unique worlds unite, combining the talent of Monterey Jazz Festival musicians with gourmet food and wine, a peaceful atmosphere, and the breath-taking galleries of our fantastic aquarium. Bump elbows with a California Sea Lion, or toast to a Northern Elephant Seal in an unforgettable evening of friendship and fun. Book a Monterey Bay Aquarium package at PGI and get two days’ admission for the price of one!

Enjoy the town tonight…we’ll leave the light on for you.

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