This Weekend in Santa Cruz: January 5th – 7th, 2018

West Cliff Rainbow

Photo by Valerie Lemke

It’s the beginning of a new chapter and the first weekend of the New Year. What will your 2018 story be?

You can kick off the first weekend of 2018 with music, art and lots of fun and relaxation. There’s even an opportunity to train like a roller derby skating star! With a list of so many good things to begin your year, there is no time for January blahs. Enjoy!

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


First Friday Art Tour

Celebrate the first First Friday of the year by taking a First Friday Art Tour and connecting with local artists. Here are a few ideas to get started:

Check out the complete listing of venues and artists on the First Friday website.

First Friday Festival

When: 1/5 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Abbott Square
Cost: Free

Get free admission into the MAH for the entire day! The festivities begin at 5pm with live music, art activities for all ages, three floors of exhibitions and a no-host bar. Pan Dulce will bring their sweet blend of reggae, ska, and rock to Abbot Square’s outdoor stage where there’s plenty of room to dance your way into the new year.

Get more info here.

8 Tens @ 8 Short Play Festival

8 Tens

When: 1/5 – 1/6 from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Center Street Theater, 1001 Center Street, Santa Cruz (Arts Center)
Cost: $23 – $26

The winning plays from Actors’ Theatre’s annual international playwriting contest will be hitting the stage.  Each night will have a performance of eight plays that are 10 minutes long. A total of 16 plays will be split into A and B nights.  This event is popular and always sells out. Get your tickets soon. This festival runs January 5 through February 4.

Get more info here.

Also on Friday

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David Bowie Birthday Bash 2018

When: 1/6 from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am
Where: The Crepe Place
Cost: $10

A celebration of rock legend David Bowie featuring a lineup of Bay Area bands performing his music at this 3rd annual celebration. Dress up in your favorite Bowie style and get ready for some fun. This event sells out, so get your tickets in advance.

Get more info here & buy tickets here.

Pacific Mambo Orchestra featuring Herman Olivera

When: 1/6 at 8:00 pm
Where: Cocoanut Grove Ballroom
Cost: $35/Advance $40/Door

This group honors the Latin big bands of the 1940s with sounds such as mambo, salsa and jazz. Grammy winning singer, Herman Olivera, joins a band of musicians who have performed with many greats such as Carlos Santana, Poncho Sanchez and more.

Get more info here.

The Coffis Brothers

When: 1/6 at 9:00 pm
Where: Moe’s Alley
Cost: $12 Advance, $15 Day Of Show

Spend an evening out listening to this local favorite band from our own Santa Cruz Mountains as they perform their own blend of folk, blues, R&B and rock. Local band Crooked Branches will be opening.

Get more info here.

The Lost Boys featuring James Durbin

When: 1/6 at 9:30 pm
Where: Crow’s Nest
Cost: $7

Join local favorite singing sensation James Durbin for his birthday show as he performs with The Lost Boys. Come out for food, drink and a rocking birthday celebration!

Get more info here.

The Essence Show Comes to Santa Cruz

When: 1/6 at 2:00 pm and 6:30 pm
Where: Louden Nelson Community Center
Cost: $15 – $30

This performance is a collaborative piece celebrating the oneness of humankind through dance. Each artist brings his/her individual cultural art form enabling us to celebrate one another and see the world as smaller and more peaceful.

Get more info here.

8 Tens @ 8 Short Play Festival

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.


SCDG Winter Boot Camp 2018 Info Session

Santa Cruz Derby Girls bootcamp

When: 1/7 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where: SCDG Practice Facility in Scotts Valley
Cost: Free

Learn how to be a roller derby star with this boot camp from the Santa Cruz Derby Girls. In this 7-week course, you’ll learn skating skills, teamwork and what it takes to be in the game. Check out the website for details on required gear.

Get more info here.

Louden Nelson Community Center hosts “Open House” to celebrate recent renovations

louden nelsonWhen: 1/7 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Louden Nelson Community Center
Cost: Free

The center has gone through some big changes and it’s time to show them off. Their brand new sign will be unveiled and tours will be offered to view  all of the recent renovations. Celebrate with live entertainment and refreshments.

Get more info here.

8 Tens @ 8 Short Play Festival

See Description Under Friday Section

Also on Sunday

Featured Upcoming Event

save our shores

What: Sanctuary Stewards Volunteer Training
Where: Save Our Shores – 345 Lake Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
When: January 17, 2018 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm 

Do you want to make a real difference and help conserve our oceans and waterways? Save Our Shores has volunteer opportunities to do just that. With choices from beach cleanups, outreach, data entry or education, there’s sure to be something just for you.

Get more info here.

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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.