This is the most event-laden month in years.
Yes, that’s become a theme across recent calendars, but July around the Monterey Peninsula affirms it all over again.
Note the expansive Carmel Bach Fest is back, as is big-time rodeo in Salinas, endless beer tasting in Monterey and world-class racing in Laguna Seca.
There’s so much going on there isn’t enough time to get to all of the city-sponsored Fourth of July festivities, with celebrations, parades and other gatherings happening in more than a half dozen municipalities.
Featured Photo: Monterey, CA, USA - Courtesy of Alix Greenman on Unsplash
Grease at Cabrillo Stage
July 1 – 10
Great Train Robberies at Roaring Camp
July 2 – 4, September 3 – 5
Santa Cruz Firecracker Run
The Independence Day tradition involves the 10K “Thrill of the Hill” in Pogonip Park; the 5K’s flat and fast course in the Harvey West Business Park Area; and a kids’ 1K. Everyone finishes in Harvey West Park for music, post-race brunch and awards.
More info: runsignup.com
West Cliff Food Truck Series
West Cliff Lighthouse hosts food trucks like Adobo to Go, Taquizas Gabriel and Union Foodie Truck for a free-admission summer special flush with plenty of scenic picnic areas.
More info: brotherspromotions.com
MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest
July 8 — 10
WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca hosts insanely swift “Superbikes,” drawing audiences from around the world. And while the acceleration is stunning, so too is the precision steering, braking and shifting. Vroom has entered the room.
More info: motoamerica.com/laguna-seca
Hot Rods on the Green
Free to all spectators, the 15th annual event at Twin Lakes Church features cars, trucks, modern muscle cars, local food vendors, dragster showdowns, hula hoop contest, awards, raffles and all benefits Kingsmen Industrial Arts Scholarship Program.
More info: tlc.org/kingsmen
Carmel Bach Festival
July 14 – 30
One of the crowning jewels of the summer festival season is also one of its most time-honored and deeply scheduled. Here come the orchestras, the trios, the soloists, the masterclasses and the masterful performers. More than three weeks of music, education and inspiration spill across a plethora of venues. Go for Baroque.
More info: bachfestival.org
Monterey Scottish Games & Celtic Festival
July 16 — 17
The West Coast’s most ambitious celebration of Gaelic life hauls in authentic food vendors, whisky tastings, a beer garden, pipe bands, live acts, sheep and agility dog trials and more. The kilts cometh.
More info: montereycelticfest.com
Martin Courtney with John Andrews and the Yawns
Acclaimed promoter (((folkYEAH!))) pulls in Courtney from Beacon, New York, where he wrote the songs that make up Magic Sign, the second solo album from the Real Estate songwriter. A special show in an atypical place.
More info: kuumbwajazz.org
Amy Helm for Live at Folktale
As part of an ongoing outdoor concert series that invites in Brett Dennan later in the month (July 31), KRML Radio helps the popular — and pretty — winery curate top touring acts. While live acts like singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Amy Helm take to the new barrel-built garden stage, food and drink service comes courtesy of a wine-inspired and chef-driven team.
More info: folktalewinery.com
California Rodeo Salinas
July 21 — 24
Touring PRCA professional riders compete for big money and bigger belt buckles. Freestyle bullfighters do their dangerous dance. Live music proliferates, family events play in and everything from mutton busting to chuck wagon racing rounds out the extensive docket.
More info: carodeo.com
Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music
July 24 – August 7
The Cabrillo Festival’s 60th anniversary season is a doozie, led by Grammy Award-winning Music Director and Conductor Cristian Măcelaru, and doling out works by 12 American composers, nine composers in residence, a robust roster of soloists, three world premiere commissions, and seven West Coast premieres.
More info: cabrillomusic.org
The Monterey Beer Festival
Between the profound people-watching (including frequent marriage ceremonies) and the suds exploration, MBF has earned its place in the pantheon of great beer parties. Nineteen years in, it’s not old enough to legally drink, but all guests must be.
More info: eventbrite.com