Hot Picks 11.25.21

It’s that time of year – holiday lights are starting to appear in all of Monterey County’s town centers. This week, a tree lighting on Cannery Row.

Sweat Before You Eat

If Thanksgiving doesn’t involve enough exercise for you, or you want to get some Vitamin D and get some extra energy or burn some calories before the big feast, you can sign up for the Monterey Bay Moves Thanksgiving bootcamp. Attendees will do circuit training with cardio, weights, core training and stretching. [CJ]

8:30-9:45am Thursday, Nov. 25. Century Theater Marina Plaza, 100 10th St., Marina. Ages 6 and up. Dress in layers and bring a mat. Free. To sign up, visit

Records and leftovers

Hanging out at a record store is all about the chase, thumbing through albums in hopes of finding a piece of vinyl gold. But Record Store Day, the twice-annual holiday of one-of-a-kind record releases from the music industry, allows us to give our thumbs a rest and put our endurance to the test. Extremists have been known to line up hours before stores open. This year, that will be the fashion of the day since Record Store Day aligns with Black Friday, the other endurance and patience test of a retail holiday. Most record stores participate in the holiday, but not all receive all releases. Be sure to call local shops ahead and check what kind of haul they are expecting. [CN]

Friday, Nov. 26. View the complete list of releases at

Christmas on the Row

The annual Christmas tree lighting on Cannery Row is back this year, complete with a (socially distanced) Santa as the topper of the event. The tree on Steinbeck Plaza will glitter and shine with Monterey Bay as its backdrop, while Santa will greet guests from the balcony overlooking the scene. All of Cannery Row will be festooned with holiday decorations, perfect for a seasonal stroll. [PM]

5pm-7pm Friday, Nov. 26. Tree lighting begins at 5:45pm. Free. Steinbeck Plaza, at the corner of Cannery Row and Prescott Avenue, Monterey.

Harvest Fair

Big Sur’s beloved harvest crafts fair is back this Thanksgiving weekend after a pandemic year off – because of the delay, the festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Many of the local artisans presenting jewelry, handmade clothing, Moroccan rugs, knitted hats and scarves, paintings, photos and more will be familiar faces if you’ve attended before, though organizer Jenny Buckland admits it’ll be a little bit smaller scale this time around. Nonetheless, the fair is a great place to support local artists (as well as the Grange Hall itself, one of Big Sur’s only gathering places), pick up some fun holiday gifts and catch up with friends and neighbors. “It will be fun and I’m really glad it’s happening,” Buckland says. [TCL]

10am-5pm Saturday, Nov. 27 and Sunday, Nov. 28. Big Sur Grange Hall, Highway 1. Contact for more information and directions.

All About Art

This takes the idea of Small Business Saturday a step further – it’s a celebration of local artists, local winemakers and the connective tissue that keeps local artisans thriving. Hint: that connective tissue is you, members of the community. This 14th annual Carmel Valley Village Art and Wine Walk presents a chance to shop for local goods and sip local wines, but also to reconnect with friends and neighbors. A gift fair runs from 11am-3pm; an arts reception and plein air painting experience with live music by jazz guitarist Bruce Forman follows from 3:30-6pm; and at 5:30, tune into a presentation by Jason Reisig, director of animation at Mindshow, who speaks on career paths in the animation field. All in all it’s a celebration of local creativity. [SR]

11am-6pm Saturday, Nov. 27. Blue Fox Cellars, 25 Pilot Road, Carmel Valley. Free; wine priced by the glass. 659-2441,

The Nutcracker of Salinas

Jeanne Robinson Dance Arts Monterey County Ballet is opening the holiday season with their annual take on The Nutcracker. The story features Clara’s nightmare of the Rat King turning into a dream of traveling into the Kingdom of Sweets. The man who sends Clara on her journey is Dr. Drosselmeyer, a magical toymaker who brings life-sized dancing dolls to his great niece and nephew at their annual Christmas party. Drosselmeyer presents his niece with a Nutcracker doll and, in her dreams, it turns into a prince. The Pixie Queen and her special pixies lead Clara through her dream with her prince to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Pixie Queen for The Nutcracker 2021 is Molly Flanagan, 17, a senior at Salinas High School. Flanagan has been dancing with Jeanne Robinson Dance Arts for 15 years. [AP]

2pm and 7pm Saturday, Nov. 27; 2pm Sunday, Nov. 28. Sherwood Hall, 940 N. Main. St., Salinas. $25/adult; $15/child. Tickets available in advance or at the door. 422-2719,

Eight Nights, 11 Movies

The Jewish Festival of Lights is generally celebrated with literal light by lighting candles in a menorah. But here’s a new way to celebrate: Allow the screen to illuminate different topics. This 11-film festival invites viewers to watch new movies, released each day through the eight-day holiday, from the comfort of their home. It’s like a DIY international Jewish film festival, with movies like The Broken Candle, a nine-minute animated feature about Hanukkah candles; Xueta Island, a documentary about families on the island of Majorca who are believed to be descended from people who renounced their Judaism during the Spanish Inquisition; and Kiss Me Kosher, an Israeli-German love story. Locally, this festival is sponsored by Congregation Beth Israel and its Carmel Jewish Film Festival. [SR]

Opens at 3pm Sunday, Nov. 28; films viewable through Dec. 11. $36. 624-2015,,

Building Bridges

With a global pandemic that emerged from China and a racist former U.S. president stoking the fires of hate, discrimination and violence against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders community has been on the rise. In response, a CSU Monterey Bay faculty co-op called Building Community Through Dialogue is hosting a virtual panel discussion, “Keeping it Real: Affirming the Asian American Community by Building Bridges and Making Connections.” The keynote speaker is San Francisco State University professor Russell Jeung, named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2021 for co-founding the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate. Also featured will be research from three CSUMB faculty members: Jennifer Kuan, Phuong Nguyen and Angie Tran. The panel will include Kathy Biala, Marina’s mayor pro tem, and Laurel Lee-Alexander from the Community Foundation for Monterey County. [PM]

6pm Monday, Nov. 29. Free. Register at

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