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Photograph by Dave Welles
How Much Wood?: Hundreds of woodies gather on the wharf in a convergence of cool on June 27.

Summertime Fare

What to do and where to go in Santa Cruz this season

Compiled by Alex Shigenaga

All Summer

Art at the Beach Local artists strut their stuff on select Sundays, displaying paintings, sculptures, and other treasures. June 14, June 28, July 12, July 19, Aug. 2 and Aug. 16, 11am-6pm, Capitola Village Esplanade Park. 831.419.7485.

Capitola Twilight Concerts It doesn't get much better than free music against the backdrop of a California sunset. The concerts feature jazz, Western, Latin, swing, orchestra and rock & roll. Every Wednesday, June 17-Aug. 26, 6-8pm, Capitola Village Esplanade Park. Lineup at

Cirque Magnifique French-Canadian acrobats in the mold of Cirque du Soleil take the stage almost every day at the Boardwalk for six weeks. July 12-Aug. 20, Monday-Thursday noon and 3pm; Sundays noon and 6pm. Santa Cruz Boardwalk. 831.423.5590.

June 6
Fourth Annual Capitola Car Show Grab a date and roll down the windows for this nostalgic show featuring hot rods and custom classic cars. June 6-7, Capitola Village Esplanade Park. 831.475.6522 or

June 13
Fireworks at the Boardwalk The Santa Cruz Boardwalk celebrates the 85th birthday of the Giant Dipper with a post-sunset fireworks show.

Juneteenth Celebration Santa Cruz celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation with a day of fun at Laurel Park, 301 Center St., Santa Cruz. Noon-5pm.

June 19
The Fixx The Beach Boardwalk kicks off its Free Friday Night Bands on the Beach series with a show by the '80s band the Fixx. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

June 20
Japanese Cultural Fair Japanese culture in Santa Cruz isn't limited to sushi and karaoke. Learn about the Land of the Rising Sun with Taiko drumming, dance, traditional theatre and more. June 20, 11am-6pm, Mission Plaza Park, 103 Emmett St., Santa Cruz.

June 21
Hats Off to Dad Does Dad like anything more than barbecue, country music and steam trains? If the answer is no, this Father's Day gift is a no-brainer. June 21, Roaring Camp Railroads, Graham Hill Road, Felton. 831.335-4484 or www

June 26
I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change Cabrillo Stage mounts this musical about love, marriage, parenthood and the rest, described at least once as "Seinfeld set to music." June 26-July 26, Cabrillo Mainstage, 6500 Soquel Dr., Aptos. or 831.479.6154.

Greg Rolie The Santana singer graces the Friday night Boardwalk series. June 26. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

June 27
Woodies on the Wharf No, it isn't a dedication to the "Toy Story" character. Hundreds of classic wood paneled cars will be on display in one of the largest shows of its kind in the world. June 27, Santa Cruz Wharf.

Sensational Snakes Herpetologist Paul Haskins makes it clear that snakes aren't the most evil creatures on the planet. Meet some snakes and learn which animals you should truly be afraid of: bears. June 27, 11am-2pm, Santa Cruz Natural History Museum, 1305 East Cliff Dr. 831.420.6115.

Great Train Robberies You don't have to limit your knowledge of train robberies to the movies. Experience one in real life without loosing all of your belongings. June 27-28 and Sept. 5-6, Roaring Camp Railroads, Graham Hill Road, Felton. 831.335.4484 or

June 28
Bikes on the Bay Everybody needs a chance to unleash their inner rebel. This is the perfect opportunity for just that with bikes of all shapes, sizes, and styles. June 28, 9am-4pm, Capitola Mall.

July 3
Auto Races and Fireworks Ocean Speedway in Watsonville rings in another year of independence from the Crown. Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, Highway 152, Watsonville. 831.476.WINN.

July 4
Fourth of July Celebration at Roaring Camp If there was ever a chance for families to party like it's 1776, this is it. Sack races, a balloon toss and hula hoop contests train the little ones into competitive patriots. July 4-6, Roaring Camp Railroads, Graham Hill Road, Felton. 831.335.4484 or

World's Shortest Parade Aptos Chamber of Commerce hosts the beloved quarter-mile parade through downtown Aptos. 10am.

10K Firecracker Run Race through Pogonip and Harvey West Park starts at 8:30am.

July 10
Loverboy The '80s rock outfit plays the Beach Boardwalk. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

July 11
Beautiful Bats There may be only one Dark Knight, but that doesn't mean you have to be scared of the inspiration behind Bruce Wayne's alter ego. Come see the California Bat Conservation Fund dispel misconceptions about these misunderstood creatures. July 11, 10am-1pm, Santa Cruz Natural History Museum, 1305 East Cliff Dr. 831.420.6115.

Movies in the Park While the movies and face painting may be free, spectators must supply your own seating. What a downer. July 11 and 18, 845pm, Harvey West Park Stadium. 831.420.5273.

July 17
The Wizard of Oz Dorothy and Co. search for the Wizard, breaking into song all the way, courtesy Cabrillo Stage. July 17-Aug. 16, Cabrillo Mainstage, 6500 Soquel Dr., Aptos. or 831.479.6154.

Starship with Mickey Thomas Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Free Friday night concert series. July 17. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

July 18
Recycled Music with Zun Zun If you can't afford Rock Band or Guitar Hero, learn how you can make music with stuff you already own. Musical group Zun Zun performs entirely with recycled instruments and then follows with a show using instruments made from items found around the house. July 18, 1030 am and 12pm, Santa Cruz Natural History Museum, 1305 East Cliff Dr. 831.420.6115.

Movies in the Park Feature shown by the Santa Cruz Parks & Rec Department starts at 8:45pm at the stadium in Harvey West Park.

July 19
Art on the Wharf Groove out to some live jazz and enjoy the ocean breeze while perusing paintings, prints, drawings, photography, ceramics, sculpture and more. July 19, 9:30am-5:30pm, Santa Cruz Wharf. 831.420.5273.

July 21
Shakespeare Santa Cruz You don't have to leave Santa Cruz to see some of the best Shakespeare performances in the country. "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Julius Caesar" and "Shipwrecked! An Entertainment" are all slated to take the stage. July 21-Aug. 30, UCSC Theatre Arts Center. 831.459.2159 or

July 24
Thomas the Tank Engine The coal-powered hero comes to life with a ride through the picturesque mountain scenery. Varying days July 24-31 and Aug. 1-3, Roaring Camp Railroads, Graham Hill Road, Felton. 831.335.4484.

Eddie Money The singer of "Take Me Home Tonight" takes the stage at the Beach Boardwalk. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

July 25
Redwood Dulcimer Festival Contrary to popular belief, the dulcimer isn't a rare woodland creature. A festival dedicated to this unique musical instrument is sure to please the dulcimer veteran and newcomer alike. July 25, 60 Verde Drive, Boony Doon. 831.429.1691 or

Creepy Crawlies with Wildlife Associates High definition nature shows don't beat out the real thing. Learn about live animals including the boa constrictor, tortoise, alligator, tarantula and giant lizard. July 25, 10:30am and noon, Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. 831.420.6115.

July 26
Wharf to Wharf The event of the summer starts at 8:30am at the Santa Cruz Wharf and ends at the Capitola Wharf, with 40 bands and throngs of cheering fans in between.

July 31
Ray Parker Jr. Beach Boardwalk Friday night concert series. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

Aug 1
Monterey Bay Strawberry Festival California's little red fruits get their day in the spotlight. A love for nature's candy is recommended but not required. Aug. 1-2, Ramsay Park, 1255 Main St., Watsonville.

Aug 2
Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Classical music doesn't have to be synonymous with old. Director and conductor Marin Alsop introduces cutting-edge music with five world premieres and three U.S. premieres. Aug 2-16, Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St. 831.420.5260 or

Aug 7
Greg Kihn Band Beach Boardwalk Free Friday night concert. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

Aug 8
Cabrillo Music, Art, Food and Wine Festival Eat, drink, and be merry while one of the best contemporary classical musical festivals in the world rages on. For those too young for the wine portion, the Creativity Tent for Kids offers hands-on music and art workshops. Aug. 8-9, 11am-8pm, Church Street outside the Civic Auditorium.

Scotts Valley Art and Wine Festival The only thing better than the 120 artists and 14 wineries and microbreweries are the stuffed artichokes at the Fabulous Food Court. Aug. 8-9, 10am-6pm, 361 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley.

Musical Saw Festival By bringing back accordions, banjos, cellos and mandolins, festival attendees will get a taste of what it was like in a posh dance club of the 1800s. Aug. 8-9, 10am-6pm, Roaring Camp Railroads, Graham Hill Road, Felton. 831.335.4484.

Aug 9
Summer Gathering of Mountain Men You don't have to be a mountain man to attend, but if you have a mountain man fantasy, this gathering will be right up your alley. Aug. 9-10, Roaring Camp Railroads, Graham Hill Road, Felton. 831.335.4484 or www.roaring

Aug 14
Papa Doo Run Run Beach Boardwalk Free Friday concerts series. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

Aug 16
Polynesian Festival and Aloha Outrigger Races Outrigger-canoe races make their way from the Pacific Islands to the California coast. Enjoy authentic island food, drink and dance after watching one of the best shows on water. Aug. 16, Santa Cruz Wharf. 831.420.5273.

Aug 21
Patty Smyth and Scandal Beach Boardwalk Free Friday concerts series. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

Aug 28
Sweet Beach Boardwalk Free Friday concerts series. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

Aug 30
Great Train Robberies Get robbed again (see June 27). Aug. 30-31, Roaring Camp Railroads, Graham Hill Road, Felton. 831.335.4484 or

Sept 4
Begonia Festival These bright flowers have their day in the limelight for the 57th year running. If you've ever wanted to wear a big hat with flowers, this is perhaps the best opportunity. Sept. 4-7, various locations and times. 831.476.3566 or

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