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ben harper

SCENES FROM A MOUNTAIN PARTY: For almost 15 years the Redwood Mountain Faire lit up the San Lorenzo Valley every summer.

All's Faire

The long-dormant Redwood Mountain Faire kicks off the Santa Cruz summertime festival season

By Maria Grusauskas

HELPING to organize an all-day music and arts festival for a hoped-for turnout of at least 3,000 is no easy task. But Nancy Macy has pulled if off before. Sandy-haired and spritely in a "San Lorenzo Valley Redemption Recycling" T-shirt, she speaks enthusiastically about the Redwood Mountain Faire materializing on the near horizon—this Saturday, to be exact.

This year's Faire marks the revival of a tradition, dormant for the past 14 years, whose roots are planted firmly in the memories of those who lived in the San Lorenzo Valley during the 1980s.

"It was really a major part of our lives," says Macy, one of the ambitious young women who in 1978 formed the Valley Women's Club, the organization responsible for dreaming up the Redwood Mountain Faire.

The seed was planted in 1980 with an arts and crafts fair that turned over a profit of $300 on champagne and baked goods sales. Organized by Linda Moore and Diana Troxell, who are still members of the VWC, it was called the "Highlands Faire" in honor of its location at Highlands Park. Since art and music go together like peanut butter and jelly, the VWC recruited live musicians the following year and changed its name to the "Redwood Mountains Faire and Folk Music Festival." The Faire grew over the years, attracting headliners such as local string phenom Bob Brozman, Taj Majal (1984), Etta James (1986) and David Grisman (1993, the year it rained), to name a few. It grew until 1996, the year it became too expensive to pay for itself, and has existed only in memory since.

It was nostalgia for those good old days that made the Community Connection Committee, a branch of the VWC, vote to sponsor a revival of the Faire, an event they say brought a "wonderful feeling to several generations of SLV folks, year after year for 18 years."

One difference is location—the Faire will be at Roaring Camp this year, rather than Highlands Park, a decision that will save thousands of dollars on shuttle buses. Roaring Camp will provide a train to shuttle festivalgoers from the parking lot to the fairgrounds.

The success of this year's Faire leans heavily on the support of local businesses and nonprofit organizations. Not-for-profit groups like the Mountain Arts center, Camp Joy, Glenn Arbor School and South Street Centre will get a percentage of the profits.

"It's a family event, we want people to come and enjoy the music, look at the art, buy the art, support local artists and businesses—that was the original intent," says Macy.

But the Faire has benefits beyond dollars and cents. "The community in the early days of the fair was very badly divided. There were huge conflicts between individuals and organizations that wanted to promote growth and development in the valley," says Macy. "The Redwood Mountain Faire brought people together."

An army of businesses and volunteers from the valley are behind the scenes this year, though the spotlight shines on the 33 talented artists and 13 bands on two stages they will proudly host.

Headlining the main stage is Matt Costa, a lyrically gifted and successful California songster sure to draw old friends and new alike. Older festivalgoers will get a blast from the past when local band Snail breaks out of its antique shell once again to shake the redwoods with its groovy jams. Brothers Comatose bring organic folk reminiscent of The Devil Makes Three complete with the eerie voice of the saw, and Harmony Grits will pepper the mix with the down-home bluegrass no festival is complete without.

The Faire will feature local artists and their unique wares, like garden ornaments constructed from recycled objects by Jane Wrankle and handcrafted jewelry by Nancy Moore. Food will be provided by Blue Sun Catering while the Felton 4-H dads will be barbecuing up a scrumptious feast of meats and veggies. And to wash it all down, five local microbreweries will provide beer along with souvenir pint glasses to remember the day.

THE REDWOOD MOUNTAIN FAIRE is Saturday, June 5, 11am–7pm at Roaring Camp, 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton. Tickets are $20 adv/$25 door for adults; $15 adv/$20 door for seniors and students; $5 kids 6–12; free kids 5 and under. Tickets available at

Dazed and Amused

Our day-by-day guide to the nonstop entertainment extravaganza that is a summer in Santa Cruz

Compiled by Paul Wagner

GRAB your Ugg boots and pull on your hoodies, kids—summer's right around the corner. And in addition to morning fog and tourist traffic, this year's season brings the usual array of outdoor parties, festivals and concerts, all sweetened by the anticipation drummed up over the course of a long and soggy winter. Enjoy our little offering below, and if you need us, we'll be on the beach.


Photograph by Curtis Cartier
HEAD TRIP: Acrobats from Cirque du Monde wowed the Boardwalk crowd almost every day last year. This year Circo Brazil brings the goods with feathers and dreadlocks.

All Summer Long

Art & Jazz at the Beach June 6 & 27, July 11 & 18, Aug 8 & 22, 11am–6pm, Capitola Village Esplanade Park

Capitola Twilight Concerts Wed 6–8pm, June–Aug, Capitola Village Esplanade Park

Circo Brazil Free shows Sun–Thu, July 11–Aug 19. A lively celebration of Brazilian dance and acrobatics. Sun noon and 6pm, Mon–Thu noon and 3pm. Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

June 5

Redwood Mountain Faire Thirteen bands perform on two stages at this all-day family event with arts and crafts. Proceeds go to local nonprofits. 11am–7pm. Roaring Camp, 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton.

Santa Cruz County Symphony Concert With White Album Ensemble The White Album Ensemble joins the Symphony to perform Beatles songs with full orchestration. 8pm. Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., SC.

June 5–6

Pro-Am Beach Soccer Championship 125 pro and amateur youth and adult teams, including players from the U.S. Men's National Beach Soccer Team, battle it out in the sand. Santa Cruz Main Beach on front of the Boardwalk.

June 6

Santa Cruz Pride Biggest event of the year for GLBTIQ folks as well as parents, friends, allies and supporters. Parade 11am, Pacific Avenue & Cathcart, SC. Festival noon–5pm, San Lorenzo Park, 137 Dakota St., SC. Awards, entertainment, food, drinks, speeches, cheering, booths galore.

June 12

Juneteenth Celebration Santa Cruz celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation with a day of fun, a long tradition among African Americans and all who believe in universal freedom and equality. Food and crafts, music and speakers. A family event. Free admission. Laurel Park, 301 Center St., SC, noon–5pm.

June 12–13

Capitola Rod & Custom Classic Car Show More than 300 hot rods, muscle cars, coupes and roadsters, vintage to 1972. On the Esplanade in Capitola Village.

June 14–20

U.S. Open 156 of the best players in golf swing for victory in this grueling seven-day world-class event whose setup varies each day with wind conditions. At Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach. Info:

June 18–July 3

I Love You, You're Perfect ... Now Change Cabrillo Stage production of the hit musical comedy that tackles the truths and myths behind the contemporary conundrum known as "the relationship." Thu–Sun and some Wed. Cabrillo College, 6500 Soquel Dr., Aptos.

June 18

Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone The Beach Boardwalk kicks off its Free Friday Night Bands on the Beach series with a show by the '60s band. 6:30pm and 8:30pm.

June 19

Japanese Cultural Fair Celebration of Japanese music, dance, food and crafts. Drummers, storytellers and martial arts demos. Free admission. 11am–6pm, Mission Plaza Park, 103 Emmett St., SC.

June 19–20

Scottish Renaissance Festival Annual celebration of culture through music and dance, theater, crafts and archery. 10am–6pm. SC County Fairgrounds, 2601 E. Lake Blvd., Watsonville.

June 20

Hats Off to Dad Fathers' Day train rides and celebration. Reservations recommended. Roaring Camp Railroads, Graham Hill Road, Felton.

June 23

Mike Hadley & the Groove Capitola Twilight Concert: Rock & roll standards. 6–8pm.

June 25

Blue Oyster Cult converts the Friday night Boardwalk Beach audience. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

June 25–27

25th Annual Monterey Bay Blues Festival Three days of the best of the blues, in all imaginable styles, in continual performance on three separate stages. Monterey Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairgrounds Road, Monterey. Schedule, tickets and info:

June 25–July 18

Swing! Cabrillo Stage musical production celebrates the remarkable art form. Thu–Sat and some Sun. Cabrillo College, 6500 Soquel Dr., Aptos.

June 26

Woodies on the Wharf A celebration of the surf spirit and classic surf wagons. Music, T-shirts, memorabilia and prize drawings. Santa Cruz Wharf, 10am–4pm.

June 27

Bikes on the Bay Vintage motorcycle show with hundreds of pre-1985 American, British, European and Japanese motorcycles and scooters. Vendors offer bike accessories, clothing, parts and services, swap and parts meet, entertainment, food and awards. Free. In the Capitola Mall parking lot off 41st Avenue.

June 30

'Lost Boys' Outdoors Movie Screening With Corey Feldman 6:30pm: Corey Feldman and his band, Truth Movement, meet & greet. 9pm: movie screening. Bring low-back beach chair or beach blanket. Seating is first come-first served. Beach Boardwalk bandstand. Free.

Stormin' Norman & the Cyclones Capitola Twilight Concert. Good time rock & roll. 6–8pm.

July 2

Naked Eyes of "Always Something There to Remind Me" hits the Boardwalk beach stage. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

Auto Races and Fireworks Ocean Speedway in Watsonville rings in another year of independence from the Crown. SC County Fairgrounds, Highway 152, Watsonville.

July 3–4

'50s Family July 4 Fest 1950s-style sock hop, dance and hula hoop contests, barbecue and live musical entertainment. Roaring Camp Railroads, Graham Hill Road, Felton.

July 4

World's Shortest Parade Aptos Chamber of Commerce hosts the beloved quarter-mile parade through downtown Aptos. Pancake breakfast 7:30–10am, parade 10am, festival 11am–4pm.

Firecracker Race Kids 1K, 5K and 10K routes. 10K starts and finishes in Harvey West Park. Registration 7am, Kids 1K starts 8am, 10K at 8:30am. Free.

Old-Fashioned Independence Day Parade at noon, followed by flag-raising, live old-time music, crafts, ice cream-making, games. Free admission. 11am–4pm. Wilder Ranch State Park, Highway 1, 10 miles north of SC.

Fireworks Celebration The Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce sponsors this combo of a parade, live music, bounce house and food. Parade at 1pm on Scotts Valley Drive, Skypark gates open at 3pm for live music, bounce houses and food, fireworks 9:15pm. Tickets $6/$8. Scotts Valley Community Center and Skypark. 

Spirit of Watsonville A celebration of both Independence Day and Watsonville's 159th birthday. Parade starts on Main Street at 2pm and festival continues until 5pm. Downtown Watsonville.

July 7

J.P. & the Rhythm Chasers Capitola Twilight Concert. '40s swing. 6–8pm.

July 9

Gregg Rolie Santana's original lead singer stars on the Beach Boardwalk stage. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

July 10

Surf's Up The first of two city-sponsored Movies in the Park. Bring the family, blankets and beach chairs. Movies and face painting free, and snack bar open for refreshments. 8:45pm, Harvey West Park Stadium, SC.

Santa Cruz Hop 'n' Barley Festival Twenty-odd breweries converge for an afternoon suds tasting to benefit the Community Housing Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. Snacks and bands, too. 12:30–4pm. Skypark, Scotts Valley. $30 at

July 14

Harpin' Jonny & the Primadons Intermission performance by Ali Cecchetti. Capitola Twilight Concert. Rock and blues. 6–8pm.

July 16

Loverboy plays the Beach Boardwalk. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

July 17

Cops & Rodders Classic Car Show & Cruise Hot rods, police/fire safety exhibits, kids' jump house. Cruise starts on Beach Street, SC, and ends at Siltanen Park, Vine Hill School Road, Scotts Valley. Cruise 7am, car show 9am–2pm. Admission free.

Babe Second of two city-sponsored Movies in the Park. Bring the family, blankets and low-back beach chairs. Movies and face painting free, and snack bar open for refreshments. 8:45pm, Harvey West Park Stadium, SC.

July 17–31

Carmel Bach Festival Despite its name, the festival plays Brahms, Beethoven and many other classical greats as well. And despite its dates, it actually offers free open rehearsals and talks starting on Thu, July 8. Catch the whole story at

July 18

Obon Festival Watsonville Buddhist Temple hosts this annual fest of Asian food, games, raffle, live entertainment, market, martial arts and traditional dance. Event starts 3pm; dance performances 6pm. 423 Bridge St., Watsonville.

July 20–Aug 29

Shakespeare Santa Cruz: 'The Lion in Winter' James Goldman's tale of family scheming gets retold in a contemporary timeframe yet with all the venom intact. In the Mainstage (indoor) Theater. Shows five and six days a week (none Mon) on rotating schedule.

July 21

Broken English Capitola Twilight Concert. Salsa and Caribbean. 6–8pm.

July 21–Aug 29

Shakespeare Santa Cruz: 'Love's Labor's Lost' The Bard's timeless comic tale of three lusty young lords who swear off women—until the Princess of France and her entourage show up. In the Festival (outdoor) Glen. Schedule, tickets, info at

July 22–Aug 15

Cabaret Cabrillo Stage presents the classic Kander/Ebb musical, winner of 12 Tony Awards, in a revival. Every Thu–Sun. Cabrillo College, 6500 Soquel Dr., Aptos.

July 23

Ides of March featuring Jim Peterik circles the Boardwalk's beach stage. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

July 23–24

Redwood Dulcimer Festival Musicians beginner to pro dedicated to the fretted mountain dulcimer offer a concert on Fri, July 23, at St. John the Baptist, 125 Canterbury Dr., Aptos, 7:30pm; tickets $12–$15. Sat, July 24, they present workshops 10am–5pm and a Holistic Happy Hour with shared music and snacks 5–7pm at the Boomeria; tickets $45–$50.

July 23–25

Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix MotoGP, the premier world Grand Prix motorcycle race, features only unique prototypes so fast they aren't legal for street use and riders from the U.S. to Qatar, Australia and Malaysia. At Laguna Seca Raceway, Highway 68, Monterey.

July 25

Wharf-to-Wharf Race Starts at 8:30am at the Santa Cruz Wharf and ends at the Capitola Wharf. A six-mile race with 40 live bands and lines of spectators along the route. Registration and more info:

July 28

Hi-Rhythm Hustlers Capitola Twilight Concert. Rock & roll. 6–8pm.

July 30

Eddie Money enriches the Boardwalk's beach stage. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

July 31

Santa Cruz Mountains Challenge A high-skill one-day event that makes bicyclists climb scenic & strenuous roads. 100K and 100 mile routes. Starts at Scotts Valley High School, 555 Glenwood Dr., Scotts Valley. Start times 6:30–8am.

July 31–Aug 1

Watsonville Strawberry Festival at Monterey Bay This perpetually people-packed fest offers a menu of strawberry delights, nonstop entertainment, contests and more. At City Plaza on Main, Peck and Union streets, Watsonville.

Aug 1–15

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Six separate types of events, including open rehearsals, pre-concert talks, a creativity tent for kids, a family concert, a new works concert and a music, art, food and wine festival stretch on for two rich weeks. Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., SC.

Aug 3–29

Shakespeare Santa Cruz: Othello The loving Othello and Desdemona and their undoing by the scheming, lying Iago all live again. In the Festival (outdoor) Glen. Shows five and six days a week (none Mon) on rotating schedule.

Aug 4

Jr. Boogie Capitola Twilight Concert. Chicago blues. 6–8pm.

Aug 6

A Flock of Seagulls swoops onto the Boardwalk's Beach stage. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

Aug 7–8

Cabrillo Music, Art, Food and Wine Festival Part of the Cabrillo Music Festival, here are two full days of world and ethnic music and dance on the outdoor stage, enriched by food, wine and artist booths. Free admission. 11am–8pm, Church Street outside the Civic Auditorium.

Aug 9–15

Monterey Car Week A week of immersion in the automobile, including numerous high-end auctions, the jaw-dropping Concorso Italiano at Black Horse and Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach and the humorous Concours d'LeMons, featuring Pacers, Pintos and other auto asphyxiations.

Aug 11

Extra Large Capitola Twilight Concert. Funky fun rock. 6–8pm.

Aug 13

Spin Doctors weave their tales at the Boardwalk's beach stage. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

Aug 14–15

Scotts Valley Art and Wine Festival Over 100 juried artists in all mediums, plus art, wine and beer from 14 of the area's most prestigious wineries and award-winning microbreweries, and food and live entertainment. 10am–6pm each day. At SkyPark, 361 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley.

Santa Cruz City Amateur Golf Championship The 20th annual two-day event offering amateur players the chance to join some of the top NorCal golfers. DeLaveaga Golf Course, 401 Upper Park Road, SC. Schedule, fees and info: 831.423.7214. 

Aug 15

Aloha Celebrity Races & Polynesian Festival Outrigger canoe racing followed by the Polynesian Festival, a floribundance of fresh flower leis, Hawaiian shave ice, Maori face painting, printmaking and dance performances. Races start 9am, festival at 11am. Santa Cruz Wharf. Free admission.

Musical Saw Festival Performances of musical saws and folk instruments from around the world. Roaring Camp Railroads, Graham Hill Road, Felton.

Aug 18

Johnny Fabulous Capitola Twilight Concert. Funk and blues. 6–8pm.

Aug 20

Papa Do Run Run cavort on the Boardwalk's beach stage. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

Aug 25

The URJ Capitola Twilight Concert. Funk, rock and reggae. 6–8pm.

Aug 27

Starship featuring Mickey Thomas blasts off on the Boardwalk's beach stage. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

Sept 1

The Digbeats Capitola Twilight Concert. Rock & roll. 6–8pm.

Sept 3

The Tubes Featuring Fee Waybill torque around the Boardwalk's beach stage. 6:30 and 8:30pm.

Beach Blanket Bingo Movie on Capitola Beach. 7:30pm (or dusk).

Sept 4

Mamma Mia! Movie on Capitola Beach. 7:30pm (or dusk).

Sept 3–5

Watsonville Fly-In & Air Show Classic, home-built, military and experimental aircraft on display. Aerial performers, fireworks and more. Shuttles, plane rides and some camping spaces available. Fri noon–10pm, Sat–Sun 9am–5pm. Watsonville Airport, 100 Aviation Way, Watsonville.

Sept 3–6

Begonia Festival Floats bulging with begonias, a parade, sand sculpture contest, horseshoe tournament, fishing derby and rowboat races. Downtown Capitola.

Sept 5

Hot Rods 4 Kids The first annual car show benefitting the Children's Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition features schmancy cars, wine, nibbles and the chance to win a Corvette or a diamond ring. Ocean Honda.

mercey hot springs

Photograph by Tai Moses
HOT SKIP AND JUMP: Rustic and mysterious, Mercey Hot Springs is about two hours inland from Santa Cruz and a universe away.

Hot Springs Hideaway

IT'S LIKE THIS: a soak-seeker can make the 3-1/2-hour drive north to Harbin Hot Springs, where the clothing is optional and the dressing rooms are co-ed. Or he or she can make the 2-1/2-hour drive south to Avila Hot Springs in San Luis Obispo, where other people's children go screeching down the water slide and Disney films screen each Saturday night. Or our mineral bath monkey can head east on Highway 152, turn south at I-5 and be in shooting distance of a quirky, remote, not-necessarily-naked-but-not-Magic-Mountain-either-for-God's-sake hot springs resort straight out of an Old West movie set.

With its five campground sites, six rustic cabins and common restroom facilities, Mercey is not for wimps. Only one of the tiny cabins has a stove or refrigerator, so most people barbecue and bring coolers. In August and early September it can be savagely hot. And the silence in the dusty compound, which dates back to the early 20th century, is almost eerie.

But for those who crave total escape, Mercey is the ne-plus-ultra getaway. A small 80-odd-degree swimming pool is the heart of the operation. Nearby, a half-dozen newly restored clawfoot tubs are plumbed with hot and cold mineral spring water, and a new bathhouse boasts a sauna. Up the hill the old bath area (now clothing-optional) has clawfoot tubs in a charming roofless wooden enclosure with a wood-burning stove for cold nights. Between the unparalleled stargazing, the otherworldly sense of the place and ongoing improvements, Mercey won't be off the radar for long. But it will always be off the beaten track.

Traci Hukill

ben harper

SUP, Bro?

FROM A DISTANCE, it looks easy: stand up straight, power forward with the paddle, check out the scenery, don't fall off. But having spent every previous experience involving a surfboard in various stages of wipeout and exhaustion, I know that looks can be deceiving. So as I step on the massive stand-up paddle board, face my toes forward and drag the oar through the water, it's a surreal experience that I'm not toppling embarrassingly into the surf. Yet Scott Ruble, my instructor for the day, doesn't seem that surprised.

"I told you it was easy," says Ruble, who, along with his wife, Leslie, just opened Covewater, Santa Cruz's first SUP-only surf shop (though most surf shops and even Kayak Connection rent the boards, and it's easy to find lessons). "Just try to keep straight up and dip your paddle perpendicular into the water and push forward. That's it!"

The Rubles opened their shop in April in an effort to get the corner on the market of a sport that's quickly making gains on traditional surfing as the best way to ride the waves. Nothing more than a longer, wider and more buoyant surfboard that comes with a paddle, SUP surfing combines the leisurely transportation benefits of a kayak with the wave-catching abilities of a surfboard. The boards themselves are huge: usually between 9 and 13 feet long and at least 4 inches thick. For my first lesson, I'm given a large and stable board—the 12-foot-1-inch Laird Hamilton Series, along with a carbon fiber Surftech paddle. New, the gear would cost $1,600.

Gliding through the water is both easy and efficient, and when a light breeze picks up, my upright body serves as a makeshift sail, propelling me quickly across the surface. Around the harbor, curious sea lions peek above the lapping waves and sea otters doze lazily on their backs. After and hour or so, Ruble says I've mastered the basics. The next lesson involves leaving the harbor and braving the waves that have bedeviled me as a surfer. Somehow, armed with my big board and paddle, I think I'll do better this time.

"Anyone can do this sport," Ruble says confidently. "Not like surfing, where you'll spend months getting beat up and still won't get it. This is just about having fun."

Curtis Cartier

ben harper

BOWLES THEM OVER: Briana Michaud stars as Sally Bowles in Cabrillo Stage's 'Cabaret,' opening July 23.


SANTA CRUZ theatergoers have an exciting season ahead of them, with forthcoming productions from both Shakespeare Santa Cruz and Cabrillo Stage. This year, the first theatrical offering from Cabrillo Stage reprises last year's I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (June 18–July 3), a series of comic vignettes in which four actors play some 40 different characters braving the trials of dating, marriage and family. Next up is Swing! (June 25–July 18), a musical extravaganza chronicling the rise of swing music in '30s and '40s America the same way the music originally took root: through song and dance. It's all a buildup to Cabaret (July 23–Aug. 3), the Tony Award winner revolving around the Kit Kat Klub, a seedy hotspot symbolizing life on the eve of the Second World War.

Shakespeare Santa Cruz will kick off its own summer season with a non-Shakespeare play, James Goldman's The Lion in Winter (July 20–Aug. 29), which examines the love-hate relationship and treacherous domestic feuding between Henry II of England and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. It stars company artistic director Marco Barricelli in his first Shakespeare Santa Cruz production since taking the job. Next to open will be Love's Labor's Lost (July 21–Aug. 29), Shakespeare's most sophisticated comedy, in which the King of Navarre and his three young lords fall in love with a visiting princess and her ladies, despite having just sworn off women and devoted themselves to scholarly pursuits. Finally, the company presents its production of Othello (Aug. 3–29), the tragedy of a Moorish general who succumbs to the head games of his deceitful companion, Iago. More information, including show times and ticket prices, is available at and

Sean Conwell

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