To Do 09.30.21

The Carmel Beach Sandcastle Contest returns this weekend, bringing creativity and competition – and maybe some larger-than-life heads – to the beach’s white sands.

Monterey Poetry Fest

Monterey’s beloved bookstore is testing out a brand-new event in a brand-new location. Co-owner Ali Elfaki is there a week before the event with the mission to prepare this charming but incredibly crowded (with books, naturally) space for a pleasant event. It is Stephanie Spoto though – “who could listen to herself talk for hours on end about radical theory and the occult” – who runs the first Monterey Poetry Festival. About 20 local poets are featured, and there will be political activism in the background. The event collects funds for No More Deaths, an organization that seeks to stop death in the U.S.-Mexico border. [AP]

Various times Friday Oct. 1 through Sunday, Oct. 3. Old Capitol Books 482 Alvarado St., Monterey. $10-$40. 747-1322,

See The Wizard

There are few things as uplifting as musical theater, and The Wizard of Oz, which features songs ranging from the jaunty “We’re Off To See The Wizard” to the heart-wrenching ballad “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” is a classic for a reason. Pick a night and go laugh and cheer this play’s group of ragtag heroes as they follow the Yellow Brick Road and peek behind the curtain at the mysterious wizard. Don’t forget your mask and vaccination card, or proof of a recent negative Covid test. [TCL]

7:30pm Fridays and Saturdays, 2pm on Sundays, through Oct. 10. The Western Stage, 411 Central Ave., Salinas. $26. 755-6816,

Carmel Beach Sandcastle Contest

What denizens of the deep, what creative creatures will appear on Carmel Beach Saturday, Oct. 2, only to be swept away and returned to the sea? Only the artists of the 60th Annual Carmel Sandcastle Contest know until they mix sand with seawater to reveal their fabulous sculptures under this year’s theme “Sixty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” And by “artists,” we mean anyone of any skill level who shows up early that morning on the beach in a spirit of fun and has their entry ready for judging by noon. Each year the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea and the Monterey Bay chapter of the American Institute of Architects host this contest where bribery is “condoned and encouraged. Bribes should be in good taste (or at least taste good).” No monetary bribes, power tools or unnatural materials allowed. Advertising, political messages and dogs are discouraged, lest they trample someone’s artwork.

Building begins at 8am, judging at noon on Saturday, Oct. 2. Carmel Beach, between 10th and 12th streets, Carmel. Free. 620-2020.

Garden Pop-up Sale

One of the most picturesque corners on the Peninsula is actually hidden behind stone walls and a popular cafe. The historic garden at the Cooper Molera Adobe in Downtown Monterey, a venue that emphasizes the visual arts aspect of garden cultivation, is hosting a pop-up sale that includes a walking tour of the garden’s renovations, a salvia propagation workshop and an opportunity to buy some homegrown scented geraniums, roses and sages. All proceeds from the event will go toward the Cooper Molera Adobe and the local Historic Garden League. [CN]

Sale: 9:30am-12:30pm; Walking tours: 10-10:30am, 11-11:30am; Propagation workshop 11:30am-noon, Saturday, Oct. 2. Cooper Molera Adobe, 506 Munras Ave., Monterey. Free.

Greener Thumbs

The native plants that are adapted to the Central Coast and thrive here can be surprisingly hard to find for your home garden. This annual plant sale (offering both in-person shopping and pre-ordering with curbside pickup) is a chance to go all in on choosing plants that create habitat, attract pollinators and also give seasonal pops of color. A bonus to buying plants is that all proceeds go to nonprofit Watsonville Wetlands Watch, where staff and volunteers grew these lovely starts. Even if you’re not in the market for plants, this is a fun community gathering – it’s a chance to tour a native plant demonstration garden and see the restoration work underway in these important wetlands, attend a composting workshop, or learn how to build a gopher basket (10am-noon). Connect with people and the planet and populate your garden, all at once. [SR]

9am-1pm Saturday, Oct. 2. Fitz Wetland Educational Resource Center (at Pajaro Valley High School), 500 Harkins Slough Road, Watsonville. Free to attend. 728-1156,

Seaside Pollinator Garden Tour

Take a self-guided tour of Seaside’s pollinator parks, on foot or by bike. They’ve been cultivated and maintained by dedicated volunteers. (For more information, see story, p. 6.) [DS]

1-4pm Saturday, Oct. 2. Various parks, but check-in is at Highland Otis Park, Mingo Avenue and Highland Street, Seaside. Free.

Birdhouse Auction

Pacific Grove’s popular Butterfly Days were scuttled due to Covid for the second year in a row, sadly, but thankfully the Heritage Society of Pacific Grove is filling in the gap with the two events they normally hold in conjunction with the big butterfly weekend. The one-hour Historical Walking Tour starts and ends at Ketcham’s Barn, built in 1891. The docent-led tour takes visitors through the quaint historic homes of downtown, pointing out the different architectural styles. In the barn’s garden, check out this year’s selections of handcrafted birdhouses available for a silent auction to raise money for the society. The houses are constructed by local craftpersons and several are painted and decorated by local artists. This year’s submissions are an eclectic bunch, ranging from a Dr. Seuss-style basket-weave structure to a “P.G. starter home” plastered with $5,000 bills. [PM]

Walking Tours: 11am-2pm Saturday, Oct. 2 and 11am Sunday, Oct. 3. Birdhouse Silent Auction: 10:30am-3:30pm, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2-3. 605 Laurel Ave., Pacific Grove. Free.

Love Letter to Carmel

It’s the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s night in the spotlight. “We really wanted to perform and do something as sort of a thank you to Carmel,” says Nicola Reilly, executive director of the Monterey Symphony. “The Carmel community has just been so supportive this year.” This two-night performance, now entirely sold out, features work by composers who are from or have lived in Carmel and music from movie soundtracks that featured actors who lived in Carmel. With Malinda DeRouen as the vocalist and Brad Hogarth as guest conductor, those with tickets can expect to hear tunes from Back to the Future, Pajama Game, Doris Day and more. It’s designed to be a night of light fun and thanks – and it will kick off the Symphony’s return to in-person performances. [TCL]

7pm Tuesday Oct. 5 and Wednesday, Oct. 6. Outdoor Forest Theater Santa Rita St. and Mountain View Ave., Carmel. Sold out. 646-8511,

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