To Do 09.02.21

First Friday in Oldtown Salinas is back, with new artwork, plus music, dance, poetry, food and a year-and-a-half’s worth of pent-up creative energy. Expect a family-friendly event with both indoor and outdoor experiences.

To Do 09.02.21

Monterey County Fair

This classic festival of Americana and fun is back. There are carnival rides and pony rides, pig racing and woodcarving demonstrations, there are magic tricks and livestock and a packed live music schedule. And of course there are carnival games (I once won a goldfish this way and she lived for years and outgrew her tank, so yes, it can happen), indulgent food for order and the festive community vibes of the annual fair. California is home to 78 county fairs annually, which the California Department of Food and Agriculture calls “an economic, social and cultural bonanza.” Here’s your chance to get in on the bonanza and, of course, eat some food on a stick – and also support agriculture education. [SR]

Noon-10pm Friday-Monday, Sept. 3-6. Monterey County Fair and Event Center, 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey. $10; $5/children; free Thursday for seniors 62 and older, veterans, military. 372-5863,

First Friday Quinceañera

Oldtown Salinas’ First Fridays art walk celebrates both its 15th and 16th anniversary this year (last year’s celebration was canceled due to Covid), so September’s edition of this monthly event is a little extra special. There will be local art, music, dance, poetry, food, a book signing and more. And it’s family friendly too, with specific kids arts projects (sidewalk chalk, etc.) set up to keep the little ones entertained. Once in Oldtown, simply follow the hand-painted silk flags to be guided around the various participating businesses. Organizers are asking that attendees wear masks indoors, but note that much of the event will take place outdoors. “We’re going to have a lot of fun with it,” says Trish Triumpho Sullivan, one of the founders who brought First Fridays to Salinas in 2005. [TCL]

5-8pm Friday, Sept. 3. Oldtown Salinas. Free.

Concert at Lucy’s

Opened in 2020, this women-owned Pacific Grove hot dog hub is known for 18 different types of dogs, mermaid mimosas, a variety of ice cream sundaes – and, increasingly, live music on their spacious patio. This week that music includes the Haywoods from Santa Cruz and Chuck Brewer Band from P.G. itself. “This is our debut at Lucy’s,” says Brewer, who put the band together in April and has managed to play about 10 shows so far. “We play our own original material – rock ‘n’ roll and blues. And, of course, we play ’70s classics.” But of course. The Haywoods, meanwhile, are a Sun Records-influenced band formed in the 1990s. They write and perform original songs while giving a nod to the artists from that famous studio in Memphis. [AP]

2-4pm Saturday, Sept. 4 and Sunday, Sept 5. 1120 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. Free.

Bluegrass Night

After a pandemic hiatus, the Otter Opry is back and bringing the rhythmic beats of the Evie Ladin Band’s bluegrass banjo to Monterey. Band members Evie Ladin, Keith Terry and Erik Pearson play nostalgic, melodic music that is rooted in Appalachian old-time repertoire, seasoned in the African-diaspora and with lyrics written about modern life. You may have heard them on programs including A Prairie Home Companion and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. The event includes an outdoor public jam starting at 4pm. [TCL]

7pm Saturday, Sept. 4. Monterey United Methodist Church, 1 Soledad Drive, Monterey. $20/show (15 and under free); $10-15/pre-show dinner. Masks required inside. 375-8285;

Drag Show and Dance

Monterey Neon Drag Night has all the color, glitter, shimmer and hot pink you could dream up, and then some. The lineup is basically California royalty, with drag queens traveling from near and far for this performance, starring Ariel Versace, who made a name for herself on season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Ariel is over-the-top everything, or as she puts it in a trailer for the show, “a vomit of Lisa Frank disaster.” “I am the Disney Princess I always wanted to be and a brand I will never afford,” she says of her stage name. “I like big hair, big makeup. Ariel is more of an experience. She’s just ready to party with y’all.” Expect to experience some legit booty shaking, frilly outfits (but lots of skin), lots of hair spray, tall wigs and thick layers of makeup – the Ariel experience. [SR]

7-10pm Saturday, Sept. 4. Moose Lodge, 555 Canyon Del Rey, Del Rey Oaks. $25; $50/VIP.

Absofacto at Folktale

Absofacto is a solo project by musician Jonathan Visger, whose work is described as bedroom pop, art rock and electronica. Through a handful of unique projects, this Michigan native became a fixture of the state’s indie rock scene and in 2008 began recording his solo work under the Absofacto moniker. Having relocated to LA, Visger signed with Atlantic Records, which issued Absofacto’s Thousand Peaces EP, later that year. [AP]

5-8pm Monday, Sept. 6, Folktale Winery, 8940 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel. $45; $65/priority seating; reservations required.

Patti Smith Trio at Henry Miller Library

As library director Magnus Toren tells it, Patti Smith agreed to play the first-ever benefit show for the Henry Miller Memorial Library back in 2004. It was the first major production proposed for the nonprofit venue. So major, in fact, that the concert had to be moved to Carmel’s Sunset Center to accommodate the band’s tech specs. Now, 17 years later, Patti Smith returns with a pared-down band to grace the stage at the library for the first time, in celebration of HML’s 40th anniversary. These back-to-back evenings of readings and music are guaranteed to be special. (See more on p. 33.) [CN]

Doors at 6pm, show at 7:30pm on Monday, Sept. 6 and Tuesday, Sept. 7. $175. 48603 Highway 1, Big Sur. Proof of vaccination or negative Covid test required for entry.

beach CleanUp

There are many things to love about a holiday weekend – maybe you got an extra day off, maybe you celebrated (safely) at a barbecue with friends. In a tourism-heavy region like ours a holiday weekend also brings an influx of visitors, and sometimes, unfortunately, those visitors leave their trash behind. That’s why the Blue Zones Project of Monterey County, City of Monterey Parks Division and the Monterey County chapter of Surfrider Foundation are teaming up to host a post-Labor Day beach cleanup. Join for an opportunity to help keep our coast clean. [TCL]

3:30-5:30pm Tuesday, Sept. 7. Meet at Monterey Bay Park, 717 Del Monte Ave., Monterey. Free. Organizers will provide trash bags and pickers.

book talk

The Monterey Peninsula College Guest Authors Series presents novelist and short story writer Bret Anthony Johnston, who will read from his work and discuss the writing of fiction. Johnston, author of the best-selling novel Remember Me Like This and award-winning collection Corpus ChristiStories, was for 11 years the director of the creative writing program at Harvard. He now directs the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas in Austin. And he tunes in (virtually) to deliver some writerly wisdom to locals. [AP]

6-7pm Wednesday, Sept. 8. Free. Virtual event; the Zoom link is available by contacting Series Director Henry Marchand at

Living History

If your home’s walls could talk, what stories would they have to share? Reference librarian Kathy Nielsen knows how to uncover the hidden stories of anyone’s home through researching documents, photo archives, newspaper clippings and more. She shows how in her Monterey Public Library online class “Every Home Has a Story: Researching Yours and Your Ancestors’ Homes.” It’s part of the library’s “All Things Relative: Finding Family at the Library” series that takes place the second Thursday of each month. Nielsen focuses each class on different aspects of genealogy research, now the number-two hobby after gardening in the U.S. [PM]

4-5pm Thursday, Sept. 9. Free. Zoom login information sent after registration. Register at


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