Daily through September 4
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey
Aquarium Adventures introduce kids and their families to the fascinating world below the sea surface, including a chance to surface SCUBA dive in the Great Tide Pool of the Aquarium (ages 8-13), go out on a research excursion on a 65-foot sailboat, or take behind-the-scenes tours. Reservations are essential; check the website for details.
Sundays July 9-August 13
Free, afternoon concert series in Seaside's Laguna Grande Park featuring great local blues bands. Series leads off with John 'Broadway' Tucker Band plus Maria Muldaur & The Red Hot Bluesiana.
Sundays through September 3
Steinbeck House Tours
One of the finest old houses in Salinas will be open for summer afternoon tours every Sunday between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Its significance? Novelist John Steinbeck was born and raised here, and many treasures from his childhood remain.
54th Annual Parade of Champions
tel: 831-899-6805 www.ci.seaside.ca.us
The town of Seaside starts Independence Day celebrations off early, with its 56th annual parade and Festival of Patriots. There's a community-wide party to follow, with top bands, delicious barbecue and a giant inflatables park for the kids.
Ears & Gears
Take the fascinating animals of Wild Things, combine them with rescued African elephants and a hot-cars show-n-shine, and you've got a great day out in sunny Salinas Valley.
Community Fourth of July Parade
The day starts at 10am with a gala parade down Alvarado Street, followed by a BBQ picnic and live music on the lawn before historic Colton Hall, and fireworks over Monterey Bay at 9:15pm.
Living History Day in Old Monterey
Travel back in time and find out what life was like in the 1840s. At the historic Cooper-Molera Adobe you will meet a gardener, cook, rancher, soldier and more. Activities and fun for all ages.
Valley Heritage Day
It's a 4th of July from another era at the King City Independence Day parade, complete with antique farm equipment, historic displays and a classic car show. Plus entertainment, food, games, and crafts.
Spreckels 4th of July Celebration
An old-fashioned 4th of July celebration for the whole family starts off with a 10K run, a One-Mile Race for kids under 12, and a grand parade of children along 3rd Street. Live music, Fireman's Muster, craft fair, food booths, and more!
Films in the Forest
Weeknight screenings at the Outdoor Forest Theater of favorite films for kids, families and friends. Bring a cushion and a cuddly throw, plus your own picnic or popcorn!
55th Pebble Beach Dressage Show
One of the Central Coast's most important and popular horse shows, on the showgrounds of Pebble Beach Equestrian Center.
July 6-August 27
The Sound of Music
The hills ringing Monterey Bay are alive with music, as the Bruce Ariss Wharf Theater on Fisherman's Wharf presents The Sound of Music, the heart-warming true tale of how a young postulant nun brought music and love back to the seven children of widowed Captain Von Trapp.
Sloat Landing Ceremony
Tel: 831-372-2608, ext 13
Commodore John Drake Sloat's landed in Monterey in 1846, effectively claiming California for the United States and joining the nation "from sea to shining sea." Traditional commemorative ceremony marking the 160th anniversary of this momentous event takes place in Custom House Plaza at 1:00pm.
Veggie Art at The Farm
Kids get creative with leaves, flowers and vegetables as they design their own t-shirts.
60th Obon Festival
This annual event at the Monterey Peninsula Buddhist Temple features Japanese food, cultural exhibits, and traditional dancing, honoring the spirits of the departed.
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California Summer Music Concerts
This highly regarded summer program for gifted young musicians, held at Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, offers several concerts for the general public. Don't miss July 16, the 10th Anniversary concert, or the sensational cellist Matt Haimovitz in concert on July 25.
AKC All Breed Dog Show
Back-to-back all-breed dog shows and obedience trials. Attended by exhibitors with about 100+ dogs registered with the American Kennel Club.
Monterey Dance Fest
SpectorDance studio in Marina presents a mid-summer program of master classes for dancers plus public performances by Em Space on July 15 and dance companies from New York, Italy, Texas and Virginia on July 22. Runs conjointly with the Choreographers Workshop, July 10-28.
July 15-August 5
69th Carmel Bach Festival
America's preeminent festival of Baroque music will celebrate its 69th season with 100 musicians from around the world, performing in venues including Sunset Center, Carmel Mission Basilica and the Church in the Forest, Pebble Beach, and All Saints Church, Carmel.
July 15-August 5
Meet Me In St. Louis
As a film, this warm-hearted, period-piece musical consolidated Judy Garland's stardom. Now live at The Western Stage, its brilliant songs also include the Oscar-nominated "Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
Pebble Beach Equine Festivals
Fun-filled and light-hearted getaway for those who love horses.
California Rodeo Salinas
Tel: 800-771-8807 or 831-775-3100
The California Rodeo Salinas promises edge-of-your-seat thrills for the entire family. Top pro competition in steer wrestling, bull riding, calf roping, bareback bronco riding, and barrel racing. Enjoy parades, night shows and great food.
2006 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
One of the most anticipated events in motorsports after the 2005 event drew a record attendance of 153,653. American Nicky Hayden will defend his 2005 win against Valentino Rossi, Colin Edwards and the rest of the MotoGP World Championship field, who will no longer be strangers to the challenging 11-turn, 2.238-mile racetrack.
101st Feast of Lanterns
A tradition as old as the city itself, this week-long community celebration features The Feast of Salads and the Feast of Chickens, PG's birthday cake, pet parade, Seniors Tennis Tourney, street dances, pageant, and live entertainment, culminating in fireworks on the final night.
Pebble Beach Equestrian Classic I
The Equestrian Classics host competitors from all over the U.S., Canada and Mexico for two weeks of spectacular show jumping highlighted by special events, wine tasting and family fun.
Gilroy Garlic Festival
Gilroy (San Benito County)
Gourmet garlic food fair with arts and crafts, cooking demonstrations, children's area, three stages of musical entertainment and booths serving up foods laced with over two tons of garlic.
July 28-30, August 4-6
Thomas the Tank Engine
Felton (Santa Cruz County)
Take your train-mad tots on a side-trip to Roaring Camp Railroad to see Thomas the Tank Engine during the famous blue loco's only Northern California appearance in 2006.
Little Sprouts at The Farm
Sing a song of sixpence: there are lots of songs with rye and cherries and cows in the corn, perfect for a sing-along with the family's youngest members.
Hot Cars, Cool Nights
Check out some of the Central Coast's coolest rides as up to 150 pre-1973 vintage cars come out for this downtown Seaside show-and-shine (5-8pm, rain cancels). Live music, prizes and more.