This Weekend in Santa Cruz: September 23rd – 25th, 2016


There is so much going on this weekend, we can’t even contain ourselves!

Our fair city continues its 150th anniversary with a celebration of the iconic wharf. The wharf will also welcome Thunderbird cars Saturday.

Anniversary celebrations will also be had for event creator, Event Santa Cruz, as well as the Santa Cruz Guitar Company.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival Radical Reels Tour takes place at The Rio and fall kicks off with the Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival and Halloween prep in a class series designed to have you dancing Michael Jackson’s Thriller choreography.

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


Event Santa Cruz Collaboration on the Lot Party


When: 9/23 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Venus Spirits Distillery
Cost: Free Admission

If you haven’t been to an Event Santa Cruz event yet, you’re missing out, but it’s not too late. The organization that celebrates local businesses and community by bringing people together for learning and networking is putting on the event of all events to celebrate its 3rd year anniversary. This time, there won’t be any speakers, just a big party with over 20 food and drink vendors.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Guitar Company: Love Your Local Artist Night

When: 9/23 at 7:30 pm
Where: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Cost: $15

Some of the best local Santa Cruz guitar players come out tonight to kick off Santa Cruz Guitar Company’s 40th anniversary weekend celebration. Come check out the talent and the variety of artists and styles.

Get more info here.

12th Annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival


When: 9/23 – 9/25
Where: Multiple Locations including Monterey Bay, Elkhorn Slough, and Pinnacles National Monument
Cost: Full 3-Day Festival Pass: Adults $75; Youth/Students with ID $35
One-Day Pass: Adults $40, Youth/Students with ID $20
Single Lectures or Workshops $10
Children are free when attending with adults.

Are you a fan of our feathered friends and the great outdoors? If so, this weekend’s events will be right up your beak. Three days of field trips, lectures and workshops all focused on birds are available. Register online and browse the agenda.

Get more info here.

City of Santa Cruz 150th Anniversary Event

When: 9/23 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Wharf
Cost: Free

As part of the array of events celebrating out city’s 150th anniversary, come explore the historic wharf. Did you know it’s the longest timber wharf in U.S. waters? You’ll learn about the past, present and great future of the city’s treasured wharf, recognized as a world class architectural treasure.

Get more info here.

Also on Friday

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Thunderbirds on the Wharf


When: 9/24 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Wharf
Cost: FREE

A parade of about 100 stylish T-birds rolls in and fills up the wharf today. Come and admire everything from classic 50s to vintage 60s and retro early 2000s. No matter the year, they’re all impressive machines. Enjoy music, raffles, and a day on the wharf. Proceeds benefit Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition.

Get more info here.

Pie for the People


When: 9/24 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Homeless Garden Project Farm (Shaffer Road @ Delaware)
Cost: $5+ per person

You had us at pie. We’re marking our calendars for this community pie potluck benefitting the Homeless Garden Project. In true Santa Cruz fashion, bring a sweet or savory vegetarian pie to share along with your own plate, fork, spoon, napkin, and mug. Those who lack time or baking skills are welcome to attend and donate an extra buck or two.

Get more info here.

Big Basin Founders’ Day and Redwood Jubilee

When: 9/24 from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Where: Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Cost: Free; Day parking $10

This day celebrates gorgeous Big Basin with a vast selection of hikes and walks throughout the day tailored to teach you about the history and habitat of California’s oldest state park. The afternoon hosts kids games like they used to play in days gone by. The day concludes with a bonfire complete with roasted marshmallows.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival


When: 9/24 from 11:00 am to 6:30 pm
Where: Downtown Boulder Creek
Cost: Free Admission

Nothing says welcome to fall like the Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival. Browse items from local artists and farms and leave with something to decorate your home and bring in the season. Live music, food and beverage for sale and sustainable living demonstrations will be part of the festivities. Money raised from kids’ activities and adult drinking glasses go to helping local non-profits and companies and organizations in need.

Get more info here.

FashionART Santa Cruz 2016


When: 9/24 at 7:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
Cost: $24 – $35.50

This 11th annual fashion show features local models strutting creative styles by Bay Area designers. Stick around afterward for a trunk show in the parking lot. If you had your eye on something, now is your chance to make it yours. Over 25 designers, artists and trunk show vendors contribute to FashionART.

Get more info here.

Ocean’s Edge Food Truck & Artisan Fair


When: 9/24 from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm
Where: The Lighthouse on West Cliff Drive
Cost: Free

Steamer Lane, food trucks, art, and gorgeous weather…what could be better? Bring your picnic blankets and appetite and enjoy lunch, dinner, or both!

Get more info here.

Thriller Dance Class

When: 9/24 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Where: Louden Nelson Community Center
Cost: Free

Ever wanted to learn the moves from the iconic Michael Jackson video for Thriller? Now’s your chance! Free Thriller dance classes will be offered at the Louden Nelson Community Center weekly on Saturdays beginning September 24th and through October 15th in preparation for a performance October 29th at the Halloween and Mask Making Festival in Laurel Park. Come on all you ghouls and zombie dancers!

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Guitar Company 40th Anniversary Celebration


When: 9/24 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Rio Theatre
Cost: $25

For 40 years, Santa Cruz Guitar Company has been making world-renowned guitars by hand. This evening is about celebrating the company, the guitar craft and the music it makes. Performers include Don Edwards, Erick Skye, Colin Hay, Scott Law, SONiA, James Nash and more.

Get more info here.

Monterey Bay Birding 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.




When: 9/25 from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Where: Watsonville Plaza

Wastonville Plaza turns into a carnival featuring a life size fooseball game, bounce houses, dunk tank, playtime races, music and dance, arts and crafts, face painting and plenty of fun activities. All proceeds support Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support families.

Get more info here.

Banff Mountain Film Festival Radical Reels Tour

When: 9/25 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Rio Theatre
Cost: $16

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a distant admirer, this collection of the best and wildest film shorts from the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival and beyond will have you on the edge of your seat. Footage encompasses daredevils rock climbing, paddling, biking, BASE jumping and braving snow sports. Don’t forget to breathe!

Get more info here.

Music at Skypark


When: 9/25 from 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Where: Skypark
Cost: Free

Free music in Skypark continues Sunday as Santa Cruz Mountains band fav, The Coffis Brothers, heads up the stage playing their blend of folk, blues, R&B and rock. The Rayburn Brothers open up. Local businesses will offer food and other concessions for sale and there will be entertainment for kids. Proceeds help to benefit music programs in local public schools.

Get more info here.

Sausagefest 2016

When: 9/25 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing
Cost: $10 (includes admission and Sausagefest mason jar)
$25 (includes admission and 32oz Sausagefest beer stein)

It’s like Oktoberfest come early with plenty of sausage and beer thanks to Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing and Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. Enjoy live music by Gerle Haggard and Talor Rae. Admission includes a Sausagefest mason jar or beer stein. Tickets are limited so buying in advance is recommended. Kids and dogs welcome.

Get more info here.

Fall Harvest Festival

When: 9/25, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: UCSC Farm
Cost: $5 General/UCSC students and kids 12 under FREE

UCSC Farm & Garden invites visitors of all ages to welcome the fall with live music, great food, farm tours, hay rides, kids’ crafts, workshops, and much more.

Get more info here.

Monterey Bay Birding Festival

See Description Under Friday Section

Also on Sunday

Featured Upcoming Event


What: The 5th Annual Watsonville Film Festival
Where: Fox Theater
When: September 29 – October 2, 2016

Cost: Free to $70

This 4-day film festival features a newly-restored historic venue, over 40 films, special events with filmmakers, and more. Festival passes and individual tickets are available.

Get more info here.

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About Keri Robinson

Keri Robinson has grown up coming to Santa Cruz and is proud to have made it her permanent residence as of 2011. She is a writer and blogger, active within the community. When not adventuring with her dog, kayaking, climbing or running she can be found at a local coffee shop, chronicling her adventures. Check out Keri's personal site to see more of her work.

  • Chris says:

    I wish you had a small section for other semi-local events. i.e. Salinas Airshow this weekend.

  • salvetoria larter says:

    Hi there. On Sunday 9/25 UCSC is also having a Harvest Festival from 11-5 🙂

  • Clara says:

    Thank you Santa Cruz LIfe for all the awesome events you post…kinda makes one crazy, but it’s the BEST CRAZY!

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