This Weekend in Santa Cruz: March 22nd – 24th, 2019

The first weekend of spring has arrived!

Family-friendly events take center stage, including a day-long kids festival, a youth rock show, and a showcase of summer activities.

Other highlights include a red carpet awards show at The Rio and a polar plunge at Rio Del Mar Beach.

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


This week’s roundup is brought to you by the 2019 NEXTies. Don’t miss this 10th anniversary celebration of the innovative and creative do gooders in our community taking things to the next level!

See the full list of winners and grab your tickets here.


World Water Day

When: 3/22 from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Allterra Solar
Cost: $10+ Donation in Advance, $15+ Donation Door/Day Of

World Water Day is all about bringing attention to the global water crises and helping to find solutions. Come out and celebrate water and be inspired to help with one of humanity’s biggest challenges. There will be live art, music, raffles, beverages and the viewing of a new short documentary filmed in Vietnam.

Get more info here.

Opening Night Of DNA’s Comedy Lab With Joe Sib- SOLD OUT

When: 3/22 from 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Where: DNA’s Comedy Lab
Cost: $20 SOLD OUT

The Riverfront Theater comes back to life this weekend as a comedy venue! The grand opening kicks off with Santa Cruz legend, comedian Joe Sib, as he headlines the first show. Come out for an evening of laughs and support this brand new comedy theater in Downtown Santa Cruz!

Get more info here.

Youth Rock Show in Abbott Square

When: 3/22 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Abbott Square
Cost: Free

The rock bands of Rio Del Mar Elementary School and Aptos Junior High School, as well as the Celtic rock band, the Pub Grubs, will be performing in Abbott Square. Enjoy some food and drink  and even take a stroll next door to the MAH for some interactive art and history.

Get more info here.

The 2019 NEXTies


When: 3/22 at 6:00 pm
Where: Rio Theatre
Cost:  $25 – $35 +service fee

This year marks The NEXTies 10th year shining a spotlight on the area’s best and brightest doers! Don’t miss this evening of celebrating those in Santa Cruz County who inspire our community.  Come get to know these do-gooders and enjoy some amazing musical guests including Anthony Arya, Mira Goto, Henry Chadwick, Jesse Daniel, and Cement Ship.

Get more info here.

Also on Friday




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Bellies, Birth & Babies

When: 3/23 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Where: Pacific Cultural Center
Cost: Free, preregistration encouraged

This is a wonderful opportunity for new and expectant parents to learn about some of the amazing community resources Santa Cruz County has to offer. There will be a pop-up marketplace, hands-on demos, workshops, free mini massages, prizes, and more.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Polar + Puppy Plunge

When: 3/23 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Where: Rio Del Mar Beach
Cost: Fundraiser minimum $125

Take a quick run into (and right back out of) the chilly water at Rio Del Mar Beach and support Special Olympic athletes! You can even skip the dip and register as a “chicken” to enjoy the festivities without all the dampness. Everyone is encouraged to dress in costume. You can even register your dog for the Puppy Plunge! 

Get more info here.

Midtown Spring Fling

When: 3/23 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Midtown on Soquel from Seabright to Pine
Cost: Free

Celebrate the beginning of spring as you stroll through midtown neighborhood shops. Meet your midtown merchants and enjoy pop-ups with local artists, sidewalk sales, and delicious local goodies from food trucks on site.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Warriors vs. Agua Caliente Clippers

When: 3/23 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Kaiser Permanente Arena
Cost: From $27

Come out to the Kaiser Permanente Arena and support your local Santa Cruz Warriors as they take on the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario. The first 1,500 guests will receive a rally towel. Bring your family and friends for a night of NBA G League action!

Get more info here.

Summer Activity Fun Fair

When: 3/23 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where: Civic Auditorium
Cost: Free

It may seem like the rain will never stop, but summer is around the corner and it’s time to start planning! Parks and Rec offers this opportunity to meet summer staff, counselors, coaches, etc. You can set up your family account while the kids romp and play.

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.


Kids Day Downtown

When: 3/24 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Downtown Santa Cruz

Kids Day Downtown is back! This day long festival showcases all the great community resources for kids, including education, sports, arts, science, dance, and theater. Kids can participate in hands-on activities, watch fun performances, and enjoy in-store specials and giveaways.

Get more info here.

The Seasons of Our Children With Cantabella Children’s Chorus

When: 3/24 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: Holy Cross Church 123 High Street, Santa Cruz
Cost: General $25 Seniors (62+) $20 Students $5

The Santa Cruz Chorale joins the Cantabella Children’s Chorus for a concert performance featuring songs about children and the seasons. Experience childhood with folk songs, sprituals and premiere works from around the world.

Get more info here.

Come Be Curious with George: A Curious George Storytime

When: 3/24 at 4:00 pm
Where: Bookshop Santa Cruz
Cost: Free

Bookshop Santa Cruz presents an interactive story time with storyteller, Susan Freeman. This special half hour will be filled with stories, puppets, pictures and music for children in preschool and Kindergarten.  Sponsored by the Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival and Temple Beth El.

Get more info here.

Also on Sunday






Upcoming Events You Don’t Want to Miss

Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai 31st Annual Exhibit

What: Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai 31th Annual Exhibit
Where: MAH – Museum of Art and History
When: April 6 & 7 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Everything you wanted to know about Bonsai and more! See demonstrations from Bonsai Masters to learn the techniques of creating these artistic and beautiful trees. Enjoy performances by Watsonville Taiko (Saturday) and The Nori Project (Sunday), as well as Sumi-e Japanese ink paintings and origami demonstrations. We highly recommend buying raffle tickets for this one!

Get more info here.

Earth Day Santa Cruz

What: Earth Day Santa Cruz
Where: San Lorenzo Park
When: April 20 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Come and enjoy a fun environmental celebration for the whole family! Event highlights include a kid zone with hands-on activities, live music by SambaDa, sustainable food vendors and a beer garden, electric vehicle showcase including ebikes, and plenty of green business informational booths.

Get more info here.

Sanctuary Exploration Center 2019 Docent Training

What: Sanctuary Exploration Center 2019 Docent Training
Where: Sanctuary Exploration Center
When: Info sessions on March 27th at 5:30 pm & March 31st at 10:00 am

Here’s your chance to share your love for the ocean and wildlife with the public. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is offering docent training at the Sanctuary Exploration Center.

Docents attend educational field trips, support special events, assist with school field trips, and guided tours.

Learn more about becoming a Docent by attending an Informational Meeting on either Wednesday, March 27th at 5:30 PM or Sunday, March 31st at 10 AM at the Sanctuary Exploration Center.

The 2019 Docent Training Program will be held from April 10th – May 15th on Wednesdays from 6 PM – 9 PM at the Sanctuary Exploration Center.

For more information and to apply, please contact the SEC Volunteer Coordinator at or call (831) 425-4182.

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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.