MLK Weekend in Santa Cruz: January 12th – 15th, 2018

Photo by Valerie Lemke

Monday is a day we can make a difference in our community as we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Santa Cruz County will offer many opportunities this holiday weekend to help celebrate his dream. From a newly partnered MLK March downtown, several volunteer opportunities to help in our community, and even an afternoon dedicated to our youth, we have some great choices for you.

This January weekend will also be filled with food, fundraising and even fungus! Surfing Prime is also back this year for some first-rate competition on the waves. Enjoy!

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


Paradigm Sport Presents – Night with the Pros – A Benefit for Santa Cruz Little Leagues

When: 1/12 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Paradigm Sport
Cost: Free

Support Santa Cruz County Little League and get a chance to chat with nine professional baseball players who will be on site for a Q & A session. A silent auction and raffle will help raise funds for Aptos, Capitola/Soquel, Live Oak, Pajaro Valley, San Lorenzo Valley, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Watsonville Little Leagues.

Get more info here.

Night Market at Food Lounge

When: 1/12 from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Food Lounge
Cost: Free Admission

Come out for an evening of amazing food and fun. Local pop-up food vendors, cocktails and live music are featured at the Food Lounge’s monthly market event. This month, tantalize your tastebuds with Hanloh Thai Cuisine, My Mom’s Mole, Il Biscotto Italian Desserts, 11th Hour Coffee and more.

Get more info here.


When: 1/12 from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm and 1/13 – 1/14 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Louden Nelson Community Center
Cost: Friday – $5; Sat./Sun. – $10; Students & Seniors (60+) – $5; Kids under 12 – free

Did you know we wouldn’t have bread, cheese, wine or beer without fungi? Learn more fascinating and fun facts about your favorite fungi at this annual fair and see many varieties on display in the recreated woodland forest. The weekend-long event also features speakers, cooking demonstrations, a kids room (Saturday and Sunday only), mushroom delicacies for sale, and more. You can even bring your own mushroom finds for identification by the experts.

Get more info here.

USA Surfing Prime

When: 1/12 – 1/14 from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Steamer Lane
Cost: Free

It’s that time of year again for this popular annual surfing competitive event that has been taking place here since 1967. Come out and support your favorite surfers as they hit the rugged January waves.

Get more info here.

The Wild California Coast Ride

When: 1/12 at 7:00 pm
Where: Meet at The Bike Church

Ain’t no party like a Santa Cruz Bike Party! Seriously, where else can you meet at a Bike Church, dress as your favorite wild thing—plant, flower, fungi, animal, sea creature, yourself!— and go for a fun and festive group ride with music and dance breaks along the way? Besides a wild and crazy time, you’ll receive a free pass to see the MAH’s latest exhibition, California’s Wild Edge, plus $10 off a new membership during opening weekend.

Get more info here.

Also on Friday

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John McCutcheon

When: 1/13 from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Rio Theatre
Cost: $25 Gen, $40 Gold Circle

This songwriter, folksinger and master of the dulcimer, as well as a dozen other traditional instruments, comes to the Rio for an unforgettable performance. Advanced tickets are recommended.

Get more info here.

Dream BIG

When: 1/13 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where: Food Lounge
Cost: $30 plus fee; $10 plus fee (bring your daughter 18 and under)

What are your dreams for 2018? Get all the motivation you need to make your dreams come true at this event. Create a vision board and listen to top motivational speakers while enjoying food, music and good conversation.

Get more info here.

Second Saturday on the Farm

When: 1/13 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: Agricultural History Project Center & Museum – Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds
Cost: Free

Have some good family fun at the farm at this monthly event. Kids can milk a wooden cow and even learn how to drive a real or virtual tractor. The Ag History Project focuses on a different area of agriculture each month and this month’s theme is #ARTSHOW. Enjoy agricultural art through the ages and create your own agricultural masterpiece that will then be displayed.

Get more info here.

MLK #youthday

When: 1/13 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Resource Center for Nonviolence
Cost: Free

Celebrate the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his message of equality at this MLK Youth Day event. Enjoy an afternoon of education, food, activities, art and music with a focus on empowering youth. MLK weekend continues in the evening with an NAACP Gospel Night Celebration from 7pm to 9pm at this same location.

Get more info here.


See Description Under Friday Section

USA Surfing Prime

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.


Santa Cruz Contra Dance

When: 1/14 from 5:40 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Veterans Memorial Building – Santa Cruz
Cost: Suggested admission donation is $12 regular, $8 for full-time students w ID card.

Bring a partner or come alone for an evening of New England folk dancing fun!  Contra Dance is a traditional style of folk dancing with two lines of dancers and a caller who teaches each step. No experience is necessary.

Get more info here.


When: 1/14 from 8:00 pm to 12:00 am
Where: The Catalyst
Cost: $23 / $27

A full evening of music and an experience to remember as Ozomalti combines their performance with a message of culture and activism along with their distinct sound of Salsa, Jazz, Funk, Reggae and Rap.

Get more info here.

The Adventures of the Salty Little Sliders, Reading & Signing

When: 1/14 at 4:00 pm
Where: Bookshop Santa Cruz
Cost: Free

Family friendly alert! Local author and artist, Dave Gardner, will read his new book about four young people and their experiences living by the ocean. The Adventures of the Salty Little Sliders was also published locally by Sawyer Land + Sea. Enjoy treats, a raffle for kids, as well as special guests and a Q & A session.

Get more info here.


See Description Under Friday Section

USA Surfing Prime

See Description Under Friday Section

Also on Sunday

Monday – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

MLK 2018 March For The Dream

When: 1/15 from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
Where: Cathcart St. between Cedar & Pacific to Cooper Street
Cost: Free

The NAACP Santa Cruz County Branch and the Santa Cruz Police Department invite everyone to join in on their first partnered march in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Come out and walk to share and celebrate Dr. King’s message of freedom, justice and peace. After the march there will be guest speakers and MAH sponsored family activities on Cooper Street.

Get more info here.

MLK Day of Service 2018 – Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz

When: 1/15 Various starting times
Where: Various locations
Cost: Free

Make this coming Monday a day on, not off. Honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by registering for a community volunteer project with the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County. Opportunities include making cards for Meals on Wheels recipients or Jacob’s Heart families. You can make a difference in the environment with a  beach or creek cleanup as well as school garden or cemetery restoration and beautification.

Get more info here.

Film – “KING: From Montgomery to Memphis”

When: 1/15 at 2:00 pm
Where: Resource Center for Nonviolence

Watch the classic 1970 American documentary film biography of Martin Luther King Jr. on the big screen.

Get more info here.

Featured Upcoming Event

What: Rhapsody in Brew
Where: Elkhorn Slough Brewing Co.
When: Sunday, January 21 at 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM PST 

Have a fun evening out and celebrate two years of brewing! Try new and specialty beers and receive a tasting glass, a 4oz pour of each new beer and a small food plate to complement each brew. Enjoy live music by James Murray. Tickets are $45.

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.