Santa Cruz Weekend Events: Sep. 24-28, 2015

santa cruz weekend events sep. 24, 2015According to the calendar, it’s officially fall, but local’s summer is still going strong.

You could easily plan the weekend around the beautiful weather we have in store, the exciting possibility of seeing whales close to shore, and a full moon so rare we won’t see another like it until 2033.

But wait! There are actual organized events in and around town that you won’t want to miss.

See our picks for the top events each day this weekend:

Thursday – Saturday

2015 Beneath The Waves Film Festival

When: 9/24 – 9/26
Where: 35 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz; Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center, across from Santa Cruz Wharf
Cost: FREE admission

beneath the waves film festivalThis short film festival will showcase fun and educational films on ocean science, conservation, and ecology. Thursday includes an opening night reception, film screening, and panel discussion with local marine scientists. Friday’s Family Night is geared toward a younger audience and includes interactive hands-on activities. Saturday will conclude with an encore screening of all films and exhibitors.

Get more info here.

Monterey Bay Birding Festival

When: 9/24 – 9/26
Where: Watsonville Civic Plaza, 275 Main Street, Watsonville
Cost: $20 – $75

Beginning and seasoned birders can immerse themselves in all things avian at the 11th Annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival. This 3-day event offers a full program of field trips, workshops, water adventures, and lectures, plus some bird-watching activities just for families.

Get more info here.


Queer Queens of Qomedy

When: 9/25 at 8:00 pm
Where: Kuumbwa Jazz
Cost: $25 – $40

Skip the gym and get your ab workout in at the Kuumbwa with this all lesbian comedy show, starring Poppy Champlin and Jen Kober. In the words of Poppy herself, “I know if you come to one of our shows you will leave happier, lighter, and filled with more hope.”

Get more info here.

Faith Ako at Pono

When: 9/25 at 6:30 pm
Where: Pono Hawaiian Grill

It’s Aloha Friday at the Pono which means live Hawaiian music, hula dancing, and maybe an island style cocktail or two. Auntie Faith Ako takes the stage at 6:30, but arrive early for good seats and delicious eats from Pono’s menu—try the Poke!

Get more info here.

Also on Friday

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Big Basin Founders’ Day and Redwood Jubilee

When: 9/26, from 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Where: Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Cost: $10 for day-use parking

The day is packed with activities celebrating the majestic old growth redwoods of California’s oldest state park. A melodrama, history hikes, old-fashioned games for kids, and an evening campfire complete with marshmallow roasting add up to educational fun for the whole family.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Storytelling Festival

When: 9/26 from 2:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Where: Branciforte Small Schools Campus
Cost: $8 – $56

If you love to listen to really good stories, head to this fundraiser for the Branciforte Small Schools Library. Storytellers, musicians, and spoken word artists will come together for two performances on Saturday, an afternoon show perfect for the whole family and an evening performance created for a mature audience. In between, you can sign up for the Community Story Swap and share your own 5-minute story.

Get more info here.

Kid’s Food Fest!

charlie hong kong kids festWhen: 9/26 from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Where: Charlie Hong Kong
Cost: $5

A festival honoring kids and healthy eating? Oh yeah…only in Santa Cruz! The fun includes games, music, face painting, art projects, photo opportunities, roaming veggies, and a special buffet lunch for children and their parents. Charlie Hong Kong will be closed to the public during this private event.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival

When: 9/26 from 11:00 am – 6:30 pm
Where: Downtown Boulder Creek
Cost: Free admission

Harvest season is here! Bring your family and friends to Downtown Boulder Creek for a day of music, great food, beer and wine, amazing artists, and sustainable living demonstrations. Enjoy kids’ activities and hay rides, too!

Get more info here.

2015 Elkhorn Slough Reserve Open House & Native Plant Fair

When: 9/26 from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Where: Elkhorn Slough Reserve
Cost: Free

Celebrate National Estuaries Day at Elkhorn Slough Reserve. The day’s activities include arts ’n’ crafts for the kids, plants for sale, walks and talks with land stewards and researchers, plein air painting, and hands-on science at the education lab.

Get more info here.


Holi Festival of Colors, SAnta CruzWhen: 9/26 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: San Lorenzo Park Benchlands
Cost: $5.50, Kids 12 & Under Free

In India, Holi announces the arrival of spring and the passing of winter. In Santa Cruz, the Holi Festival of Colors will usher in the fall with mantra bands, interactive dance, DJ’s, yoga, and of course, the playful throwing of colored powder. Wearing all white is highly encouraged!

Get more info here.

fashionART Santa Cruz

When: 9/26 at 7:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
Cost: $35

Celebrate a decade of fashion and art in Santa Cruz at this year’s 10th Anniversary show. Models will strut down the runway in hand crafted, wearable art and the latest collections from Bay Area designers. After the show, shop at the trunk show and walk away wearing the runway.

Get more info here.

T-Birds on the Wharf

When: 9/26 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Wharf
Cost: Free

Cruise down the wharf for the 18th Annual Thunderbirds on the Wharf, an event that brings together on display nearly 100 Classic, Vintage, and Retro T-Birds. Talk shop with owners from all over California and Nevada, participate in a scavenger hunt, and enter to win raffle prizes. Bring your camera to capture these preserved and restored beauties against the backdrop of the Monterey Bay.

Get more info here.

Also on Saturday

santa cruz instagramKeep up with us all weekend long, and see which events we’re attending, by following Santa Cruz Life on Instagram.


Music at Skypark


When: 9/27 from 2:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Where: Skypark in Scotts Valley
Cost: Free

Head up to Scotts Valley on Sunday for the final summer concert at Skypark. Local Scotts Valley bands, The Bourbon Brothers and The Coffis Brothers will play.

Get more info here.

Open Studios Preview Exhibit Public Reception

When: 9/27 from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Art League
Cost: Free

Held at the Santa Cruz Art League September 26 – October 18, the preview exhibit will be a feast for the eyes and a great way to choose which artists and studios you’d like to visit during the Open Studios Art Tour, taking place the first three weekends in October.

Get more info here.

Fall Harvest Festival

When: 9/27, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: UCSC Farm
Cost: $5 General/ Kids 12 under FREE

UCSC Farm & Garden invites visitors of all ages to welcome the fall with live music, great food, farm tours, hay rides, kids’ crafts, workshops, and much more.

Get more info here.

Also on Sunday


Alzheimer’s Beer Back Night @ Beer Thirty!

Alzheimers Beer back night at beer thirty and carpos

When: 9/28 from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Where: Beer Thirty

Dine for a cause! Beer Thirty is donating $1 of every beer and Carpo’s is donating 15% of all food sales to the Alzheimer’s Association when you mention this event. Enjoy a live DJ, sweet treats, awesome raffle prizes, and more!

Get more info here.

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About Christine Candelaria

Christine Candelaria is a local mom of four who enjoys sharing her Santa Cruz adventures. You can follow her #santacruzlife on Instagram at @theaumsmama.