Music, Art, Movies and Mole Sauce: Free Summer Series at Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park

mission santa cruz events

The following is a guest post by Jennifer Squires. Jennifer is a writer who works with Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. She lives in Aptos.

Head inland just a little this summer to enjoy the third annual Summer Series at the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park.

The park, which dubbed itself “Your State Park Downtown,” will host seven events with a wide spectrum of cultural experiences, fine art and outdoor movies, culminating with the third annual Mole & Mariachi Festival on Sept. 19.


First Friday Events

The 2015 Summer Series kicks off May 1 with the first of three First Friday Art events, featuring a FashionTEENS showcase. The FashionTEENS program invites fashion-oriented middle and high school students from throughout Santa Cruz County to explore art and creativity.

pivot fashionTwo other First Friday art events will be a part of this year’s Summer Series. PIVOT Fashion will have a show June 5 and, on Aug. 7, several local artist groups will come together for Plein Air in Action. The Watercolor Society of Santa Cruz, Urban Sketchers and the Plein Air Meetup group will converge on the Santa Cruz Mission for a live Plein Air event.

All First Friday Art events run 5-8 p.m.

Music @ The Mission

The Summer Series also includes a concert and two outdoor movies screenings.

The concert, called Music @ the Mission, will feature the Mylo Jenkins, a Santa Cruz-based Americana band. Families are invited to picnic on the lawn during the show, 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, May 30.

Movies @ The Mission

The inspirational surfing movie, Soul Surfer, will be shown for the first Movies @ the Mission night, Saturday, July 18. The Disney classic, The Gnome-Mobile, which was partially filmed in Big Basin, will be shown on Saturday, Aug. 22. Both films are family-friendly selections, and attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets to get cozy in the outdoor space at the Mission. The Snack Shack will be open, with proceeds from food and beverage sales to benefit the park.

For Movies @ the Mission, doors open at 7 p.m. and films start at sunset.

Mole & Mariachi Festival


The popular — and tasty — Mole & Mariachi Festival returns Sept. 19, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and the park will be full of music, food and children’s activities. Tasting kits will be for sale to allow tasting multiple, mouth-watering private recipes from local chefs.

Applications for mole chefs, festival food purveyors and festival arts & crafts vendors are now available here.

All of the events will be at the Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, 144 School St. in downtown Santa Cruz. One of just four adobe buildings left in Santa Cruz County — and sometimes confused with the nearby replica mission chapel — it is the only building of its kind preserved as a museum in the State of California. Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks saved Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park from closure in 2012.

Photo Credit: Dusty Nelson


2015 Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park Summer Events




May 1

First Friday:

5-8 pm

May 30

Music @ the Mission:
Mylo Jenkins

4-7 pm

Jun 5 

First Friday:
PIVOT Fashion

5-8 pm

Jul 18

Movies @ the Mission:
Soul Surfer

7 pm, movie at dusk

Aug 7

First Friday:
Plein Air Art in Action

5-8 pm

Aug 22

Movies @ the Mission:
The Gnome Mobile

7 pm, movie at dusk

Sep 19

Mole & Mariachi Festival

11 am - 5 pm

Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park

​144 School St

Santa Cruz, CA 95060​

Connect With Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

friends of santa cruz state parksFriends, an entrepreneurial nonprofit sustaining the legacy of local state parks and beaches, funds interpretation services and a portion of park operations, and also runs the Mission ParkStore.

Founded in 1976, Friends is passionately dedicated to the preservation of the region’s spectacular natural environment and rich cultural history.

Connect with Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks: