This Weekend in Santa Cruz: Sep. 29th – Oct. 1st, 2017

West Cliff Sunset

Photo by Valerie Lemke

The leaves are starting to change color and pumpkins are on display once again as a warm fall weekend is approaching quickly. Soak in the sunshine and fresh air with several fall festivals, a celebration in California’s first state park and even a gathering of food trucks with a theme from a galaxy far, far away.

From Arabic poetry to an event about vanilla, this weekend has it all.

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


Santa Cruz Surf Film Festival 2017

When: 9/29 & 9/30 @ 6:00 PM & 8:30 PM
Where: Rio Theatre
Cost: General: $16 / Groms 12 & under: $10 / All-screening pass: $50

The best action surf movies from around the world all shown in one evening. Take a virtual ride and watch the action as surfers of all ages take on the craziest of waves.

Get more info here.

Vanilla Festival & Dinner

When: 9/29 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Food Lounge
Cost: $55

The food lounge plays host to the second annual Vanilla Festival this Friday. This year’s event includes a four course dinner, full bar, and a silent auction and raffle. All this plus a virtual tour of tropical vanilla farms from around the world.

Get more info here.

Event Santa Cruz: Block Party at the Mill

When: 9/29 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: 131 Front St.
Cost: Free but RSVP

Super fun block party alert! Event Santa Cruz celebrates fall and their 4-year anniversary by bringing together local breweries, food, artists, vendors, and a whole bunch of surprises.

Get more info here.

Actors’ Theatre presents The Mountaintop

When: 9/29 – 9/30 at 8:00 pm & 10/1 at 3:00 pm (Runs through Oct. 15)
Where: Actors’ Theatre
Cost: $25 General | $22 Senior/Student

This story is set in Memphis in 1968 on the night before Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. An insightful tale of a conversation between King and a hotel maid that opens up an interesting discussion.

Get more info here.

Food Trucks In San Lorenzo Park: Star Wars

When: 9/29 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Where: San Lorenzo Park
Cost: Free

Come to the “park side” for some good local food that will surely be out of this world. Star Wars themed fun, food, drinks, prizes and trivia. Come solo (get it?) or bring a friend and dress as your favorite Star Wars character.

Get more info here.

Words: Readings in Two Languages

When: 9/29 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Santa Cruz MAH
Cost: Free

An evening of poetry with Ahmed Al Mulla, Saudi poet, who brings his poetry in both Arabic and English translation to the MAH, along with poet Francesca Bell. Musical accompaniment on the oud by Fattah Abbou of Aza Music.

Get more info here.

Also on Friday

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Fall Fest

When: 9/30 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where: Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center
Cost: Free

Join the center for their annual festival in the street in downtown Santa Cruz. This street fair will be held in the middle of Walnut avenue and will feature live music, food, beer, wine and activities for kids. Funds raised will support this important community organization.

Get more info here.

Hard Core Cider Tour

When: 9/30 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: San Lorenzo Park
Cost: $30 – $50

With the goal of bringing back the craft of making hard cider, this tour will give you a sampling of this long lost brew. Cider, food, live music, and lawn games to enjoy. Fundraising will be for Life Lab.

Get more info here.


When: 9/30 Session 1 – noon to 2:30pm; Session 2 – 3:00pm to 5:30pm
Where: Venus Spirits
Cost: $20 – $40

Cocktailbeerfest is pretty straightforward, but there will also be delicious food by Ate3One and Gordo Gustavo’s, treats from Penny Ice Creamery, coffee from Cold Craft Brewing, and live music including McCoy Tyler and Naked Bootleggers. “Brewers Unite for David” will be on tap and ticket proceeds plus 15% of food purchases will be donated to the VMC Foundation for David Purgason, Venus Spirits distiller who was injured on the job.

Get more info here.

Harvest Faire & Steam Festival

When: 9/30 & 10/1 at 11:00 am
Where: Roaring Camp Railroads
Cost: Admission is free, Parking $10

Learn about the world of steam power at this steam and harvest themed festival. Have fun making a scarecrow, make a candle or pan for gold. Steam and belt-powered equipment will be displayed. Children with a Steam Train ticket get to pick out a free pumpkin from the Harvest Pumpkin Patch on Bear Mountain.

Get more info here.

Thunderbirds On The Santa Cruz Wharf

When: 9/30 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf

The wharf will be brimming with Thunderbirds at this classic car show. A must see for all of you T-Bird and classic car fans. The Monterey Bay Classic Thunderbird Club hosts this event as clubs from California and Nevada caravan to the wharf.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival

When: 9/30 from 11:00 am to 6:30 pm
Where: Downtown Boulder Creek
Cost: Free Admission

Boulder Creek Recreation and Park District hosts this annual fundraising festival with music, food, art and demos on sustainable living. Money raised will go to support local non-profits and companies.

Get more info here.

Agency’s Two-Year Anniversary Party

When: 9/30 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Agency, 1519 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz
Cost: Free

This store that is known for “great stuff for great spaces” is hosting their two year anniversary celebration. Come in for a spin of the color wheel for prizes and discounts.

Get more info here.

Founder’s Day and Redwood Jubilee

When: 9/30 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Cost: Event is free; day-use parking fee is $10

Come out and support our parks and celebrate California’s first established state park . Take historic hikes and have some family fun while honoring all those who have shaped Big Basin over the last century.

Get more info here.

Benefit To Aid David Purgason featuring Babewatch And Van Goat

When: 9/30 at 9:00 pm
Where: The Crepe Place
Cost: $10 to $20 sliding scale

Head over to the Crepe Place this Saturday for a Benefit show for David Purgason. David is a local brewer who is recovering from burns sustained in a brewing accident this summer. The local brewing community has joined forces to support David’s recovery and now you can show your support as well.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Surf Film Festival 2017

See Description Under Friday Section

Actors’ theatre presents The Mountaintop

See Description Under Friday Section

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.


SafeRx-Talk About: Prescription Drug Community Solutions

When: 10/1 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Garfield Park Church
Cost: FREE

A free family and community event to support prevention of opioid addiction. Learn what is being done to stop this crisis and what you can do to help.

Get more info here.

Holy Cross Fall Carnival

When: 10/1 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Where: Mission Plaza
Cost: Free

Fall is here, and it’s a great time to celebrate at this event for the whole family. Booths, prizes and great food from local restaurants and community.

Get more info here.

Fall Harvest Festival at the UCSC Farm

When: 10/1 at 11:00 am
Where: UCSC Hay Barn
Cost: $5 general admission; free for kids 12 and under, UCSC students with ID, and Friends of the Farm & Garden members

Celebrate the harvest season at the farm. Live music, kids’ crafts, food, hay rides, workshop, tours and more. Do you think you make an apple pie that deserves recognition? Well then, you can even enter the apple pie contest.

Get more info here.

Magic Men Live!

When: 10/1 at 8:00 pm
Where: Civic Auditorium
Cost: $37.75-101.25 (including all service charges & fees)

A fun ladies’ night experience with your friends for this live tour. Ages 18 & up.

Get more info here.

Actors’ theatre presents The Mountaintop

See Description Under Friday Section

Harvest Faire & Steam Festival

See Description Under Saturday Section

Also on Sunday

Featured Upcoming Event

An event for everything baby. Pregnancy, childbirth and nursing information at booths, workshops and demonstrations. Shop at a pop-up marketplace and more.

Get more info here.

What: Bellies, Birth & Babies
Where: Pacific Cultural Center
When: Saturday, October 14 at 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM PDT 

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About Valerie Lemke

Valerie Lemke is a transplant from the Bay Area to Santa Cruz County over 25 years ago, and hasn't looked back since. She is a local freelance writer and photographer who loves writing about and photographing one of the most beautiful regions in the world, the Central Coast.