A climactic car race. The most ambitious fair in the area. The longest running jazz festival in the land. Authentic Greek celebrations, top-shelf comedy and world-class botanical fun.
It’s all happening in September around the Monterey Peninsula, with plenty of stimuli — from celebrated seafood, famous beaches, profound National Parks and the Monterey Bay Aquarium — there to help fill in any free time.
Here appear great eight events to ear-mark for the month, in chronological order:
Featured Photo: Courtesy of Monterey County Fair
Monterey County Fair
There’s a lot going on. Pick your passion therein, whether it be live entertainment, carnival games, a stilt circus, amusement rides, livestock admiration or food on a stick. Grammy-nominated country music star Joe Nichols leads the music slate.
More info: montereycountyfair.com
Santa Cruz Greek Festival
The key word is kefi. That’s Greek for passion, spirit, happiness, exuberance and zest for life. The outpouring of authentic Greek foods, folk dancing, shopping, live music and more has earned this kefi-driven experience locals’ votes as the Best Street Festival and Best Food Event in Santa Cruz.
More info: livelikeagreek.com
Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey
The legendary twists of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca challenge the field of Indycars in a race that concludes the 2022 season. Colton Herta has taken the last two tilts here, and now steers for a three-peat almost as rare as Laguna’s famed Corkscrew.
More info: weathertechraceway.com
Santa Cruz Arboretum's Free Community Day
The first Tuesday of each month, the Arboretum welcomes the world without charge. SCA enjoys 135 acres of what its keepers call a “living museum full of rare and unique plant species.” More than 300 plant families of Mediterranean climates call the place home, with collections of rare and threatened plants of unusual scientific interest. Specialties include conifers from around the world, primitive angiosperms and bulb-forming plant families. Bloom.
More info: arboretum.ucsc.edu
Northern California Renaissance Faire
Weekends September 17-October 23
The renaissance is real, via artisan crafts (Mischief Masks!), era-appropriate food and drink (mead!), activities for kids and adults (archery!), tons of guest artists (themed by week with motifs like “Pirate Invasion”!), and shows that go and go (Rules of the Duel!). Here’s where Hollister transports costumed crowds through time with maximum style points.
More info: norcalrenfaire.com
Monterey Jazz Festival
The longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world delivers another superlative lineup. Here comes Chucho Valdés, Artemis, Incognito, Gregory Porter, Butcher Brown, Veronica Swift, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian Sands, Ravi Coltrane, Let It Happen, The Cookers, Samara Joy and dozens — if not scores — more.
More info: montereyjazzfestival.org
Jefferson Starship at Sunset Center
The offspin from Rock Hall of Fame Inductees and 2016 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipients Jefferson Airplane have Grammy nominations and gold and platinum albums of their own. Audience members can anticipate classics like Somebody To Love,” “White Rabbit,” “Count On Me,” “Sara,” “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” and “We Built This City.” Prepare for liftoff.
More info: sunsetcenter.org
Tom Papa at Golden State Theatre
Papa’s second book, You’re Doing Great! – And Other Reasons To Stay Alive, comes on the heels of Your Dad Stole My Rake: And Other Family Dilemmas and reminds readers his comedic chops are strong enough to make him a contributing writer at The New Yorker. He also has a strong history of stand-up specials and Netflix originals like “Human Mule” and “Freaked Out.”
More info: goldenstatetheatre.com