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Festivals & Events

Historical Festivals and Events

January | February | March | April | May | June | July
August | September | October | November | December

Year-Round Events  

Saturdays Year-round
Carmel Heritage Walks
Carmel: 831-624-4447
Starting from First Murphy House (Lincoln & 6th) in Carmel, at 10am, these 90-minute tours cover Carmel's highlights.

Historic Garden League Tours
Monterey: 831-649-3364
Thursdays at 10:30am and 1pm
Docent-led tours of historic gardens, including Doud House, as featured in House Beautiful, presented by the Historic Garden League. Tours begin at picket fence 210 Olivier St. Cost is $3.50 per person and reservations are encouraged.

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Tor House and Hawk Tower Tours
Carmel: 831-624-1831
Now a National Historic Landmark, Tor House and Hawk Tower are open for tours throughout the year on Fridays and Saturdays. A visit to Jeffers' extraordinary home is a special experience.

Monterey State Historic Park
Monterey: 831-649-7118
Choose from two free guided tours, plus many opportunities to visit historic buildings and gardens. At 10:30am daily, walks depart from the Maritime Museum and explore the oldest parts of Monterey; at 2:00 daily, meet at Cooper Museum Store for a tour of the town as it was just prior to statehood.

January 2002  

January 12-13
Whalefest 2002
Monterey: 831-784-6464
Whale watching, special exhibits and museum tours, plus food and fun, make this festival an educational treat. Free admission, on Fisherman's Wharf.

January 18
Mozart Society of California
Carmel: 831-625-3637
David Gordon presents a special musical lecture on Mozart.

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January 25-April 21
Paul Whiteman Retrospective
Monterey: 831-372-5477
An exhibition of watercolors, drawings, oils and etchings depicting life in Monterey County during John Steinbeck's time, especially in the 1930s and 1940s. At the Monterey Museum of Art. David Gordon presents a special musical lecture on Mozart.

February 2002  

February TBA
Chamber Music Series
Monterey: 831-646-5640
Variety of candlelight musical concerts in historic Colton Hall.

February 1-March 11
Friends of Steinbeck Exhibition
Monterey: 831-646-5640
Exhibit of artwork by friends of John Steinbeck, including paintings, drawings and writing, in the Monterey Conference Center's Alvarado Gallery.

February 1-Labor Day
"Steinbeck & Ricketts: A Friendship Celebrated" at Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey: 831-648-4800
A new exhibit highlighting the profound friendship between Steinbeck and innovative marine biologist Ricketts.

February 9
A Day of Romance in Old Monterey
Monterey: 831-647-6204
Living History presentations at Larkin House, Cooper-Molera Adobe, Diaz Adobe and the Sherman Quarters. Featuring romantic stories presented by historic characters from 19th century Monterey. Food, music and period dancers.

February 11-March 3
Steinbeck & Hollywood Exhibition
Carmel: 831-624-8886
Exhibit of movie memorabilia and ephemera focussing on films written by or derived from John Steinbeck's works. In the Thunderbird Bookshop's cafe.

February 16
Ricketts/Steinbeck Night at "Doc's Lab"
Monterey: 831-646-3949
Monterey Public Library's archivist, Dennis Copeland, discusses the library's unique holdings by these authors. Includes readings and a tour of Ed Ricketts's Pacific Biological Laboratory on Cannery Row. Free tickets must be obtained in advance.

February 21
Steinbeck Biography Reconsidered
Monterey: 831-646-3949
Monterey Public Library presents Jackson Benson, author of The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, talking about the difficulties of writing about Steinbeck's life. to top

February 18-20
Monterey Symphony
Carmel: 831-624-8511
Special concert celebrating Steinbeck's Centennial. In addition to Copland's Old American Songs and score for The Red Pony, a newly commissioned work by Allen Shawn, featuring Clayton Brainerd, bass-baritone, singing Jamaica Kincaid's libretto.

February 21
Steinbeck's America & Americans
Monterey: 831-648-8132
Authors Jackson Benson and Susan Shillinglaw launch the new Penguin Books edition of Steinbeck's popular book on Cannery Row.

February 21
Sweet Thursdays: Cannery Row Forum
Monterey: 831-648-8132
Lecture on the origins of Monterey's fishing industry by Robert V. Enea; free to the public, at Hopkins Marine Station's auditorium.

February 23 & 27
Steinbeck's 100th Birthday Celebrations
Salinas: 831-796-3833
Join a hometown celebration as Salinas remembers the life and works of native son and Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Open House at The Steinbeck House, readings from his books at the National Steinbeck Center, and other special events.

February 23 & 27
Steinbeck's 100th Birthday Celebrations
Salinas: 831-796-3833
Join a hometown celebration as Salinas remembers the life and works of native son and Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Open House at The Steinbeck House, readings from his books at the National Steinbeck Center, and other special events.

February 27
Steinbeck's 100th Birthday Party
Monterey: 831-648-8132
A party in honor of John Steinbeck's 100th birthday at the Monterey Conference Center, sponsored by the Cannery Row Foundation and the City of Monterey.

March 2002  

March 8
Colton Hall 153nd Birthday
Monterey: 831-646-5640
Birthday celebration of one of Monterey's most historic buildings. Free and open to the public, 2-4 pm.

March 9
Personal Perspectives on Steinbeck
Salinas: 831-775-4737
Oral histories and a discussion led by author/educator Susan Shillinglaw, featuring playback of tapes made by those who knew Steinbeck personally.

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March 21
Sweet Thursdays: Cannery Row Forum
Monterey: 831-648-8132
Lecture on the Voyage to the Sea of Cortez made by Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts; free to the public, at Hopkins Marine Station's auditorium.

April 2002  

April 7
Kate Carew: Painter and Celebrity Caricaturist
Monterey: 831-372-5477
Talk by Stephen Hauk and Christine Chambers, on Kate Carew's life and times.

April 13-14
45th Annual Good Old Days Celebration
Pacific Grove: 831-373-3304
Celebrate a bygone era with a parade, arts & crafts, Victorian fashion show, numerous contests, street dance and firefighters muster.

April 13-14
Great Train Robberies
Felton: 831-335-4484
Gloried lawmen and notorious desperados of the 1800s duel at train robberies and shoot outs.

April 20
The Multicultural Steinbeck
Salinas: 831-775-4737
A celebration of Steinbeck's diverse characters from Lee Chong in Cannery Row to Kino in The Pearl including dramatic readings by The Western Stage and a fair with crafts and food booths.

April 19
Mozart Society of California
Carmel: 831-625-3637
A rare performance on a glass armonica, by Dennis James and ensemble.

April 21
"The Other Doc"
Monterey: 831-649-6690
Ed "Doc" Ricketts was not the only marine biologist working on Cannery Row in the 1930s. This talk, by Tim Thomas at the Hopkins Marine Station, introduces JD Phillips, an influential biologist from the Fish and Game Department.

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April 21
Treasures & Pleasures
Monterey: 831-647-9890
Auction and sale of treasures, old and new, as well as a fresh produce market, Monterey County wines and food from seven Carmel restaurants.

April 27
History Fest Monterey
Monterey: 831-372-2608 index.html
A celebration of Monterey's 400-year history, including an adobe tour, children's programs, lectures, musical entertainment and more. Sponsored by Monterey History and Art Association, CA State Historic Parks and the City of Monterey.

April 27
International Day
Monterey: 831-656-2186
Over 35 countries are represented at this event celebrating cultural diversity at the Naval Postgraduate School. Includes food booths, cultural demonstrations and live entertainment. Open to the public, free admission.

April 27
"The Pastures of Heaven"The Paintings of David Ligare
Salinas: 831-775-4724
New exhibit at the National Steinbeck Center, a visual representation of how the landscape influenced Steinbeck's writings. Continues through August 4.

May 2002  

Historic Garden Tours
Monterey: 831-647-6204
Take a fascinating tour of Monterey's best-kept secret. Learn about plant lore, identification, and uses. Tours begin in the Cooper-Molera Adobe courtyard and then proceed to the Stevenson House and (if time) Larkin House gardens. Tuesdays at 1pm.

May 4-5
18th Annual American Indian & World Cultures Festival
San Juan Bautista: 831-623-2379
A living prayer for world friendship and peace. Fun celebration of diverse cultures, with international artists, dance groups, storytellers, foods, fashions, and activities for all ages.

May 5
Jeffers Tor House Garden Party
Carmel: 831-624-1813
Annual Garden Party (2:00-5:00pm) featuring music, afternoon tea, silent auction and gifts for sale. Photography allowed this day only.

May 5
80 Years Ago on the Mesa
Monterey: 831-372-5477
"J. C. Anthony recreates Monterey's first Spanish town," presented by Julianne Burton-Carvajal, a professor at UC Santa Cruz.

May 10-June 3
Preservation Month Photo Exhibit
Monterey: 831-646-5640
Photos from past to present on display at the Alvarado Gallery in the Monterey Conference Center.

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May 11
Steinbeck & Broadway
Salinas: 831-775-4724
Centennial Series lecture on Steinbeck's connections to Broadway.

May 11
Ed "Doc" Ricketts Lab Tours
Monterey: 831-649-6690
This is the only day in the year when the lab of this revolutionary marine biologist and friend of John Steinbeck is open to the public.

May 14
Ed "Doc" Ricketts Birthday Party
Monterey: 831-649-6690
A celebration of the life and times of Ed "Doc" Ricketts at Kalisa's La Ida Cafe.

May 16
Sweet Thursdays: Cannery Row Forum
Monterey: 831-648-8132
"The Ed Ricketts Collection" presented by Dennis Copeland, archivist. Free to the public; held at Monterey Public Library.

May 18
Cooper-Molera Historic Garden Sale
Monterey: 831-649-7118
This is the only time during the year you may purchase plants grown from cuttings and seeds taken from the Cooper-Molera historic garden. 9:00am-2:00pm.

May 18
Historic Homes and Secret Gardens of the Monterey Mesa
Monterey: 831-372-5477
Discover the historic homes and little-known gardens of the Monterey Mesa on a self-guided walking tour, 10 am to 4 pm.

May 24-26
38th Annual Watsonville Fly-In and Airshow
Watsonville: 831-728-6183
Antique aircraft, hot-air balloons, airshow performers, fireworks and aviation booths.

June 2002  

June 1
California Cowboy Show
Carmel Valley: 831-624-9611
Come on down to enjoy cowboy music & poetry, tasty hors d'oeuvres, a complimentary glass of wine and a silent auction.

June 8
Western Festival
San Ardo: 831-627-2463
Step back in time to the Old West at this down-home event at Paris Valley Ranch. BBQ, live music, and Western crafts, including quilters, leathersmiths, photographers and more.

June 8-9
Steinbeck's Roots in the West
Salinas: 831-775-4724
Take a morning tour of Robinson Jeffers Tor House in Carmel, then head for the National Steinbeck Center for the afternoon panel discussion on Western influences on Steinbeck's writing. At 4pm on June 9, take a guided tour of the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur.

June 9
Mission San Antonio Fiesta
Jolon-Hunter Ligget Base: 831-385-4478
Fiesta Mass at 11am with choir and distribution of St. Anthony's bread followed by a BBQ, games and live music.

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June 20
Sweet Thursdays: Cannery Row Forum
"Shipwrecks, Sea Monsters, Tales and Treasures of Old Monterey", presented by Randy Reinstedt. Free to the public; held at Hopkins Marine Station's auditorium.

June 21-23
Monterey Bay Blues Festival
Monterey: 831-394-2652
Dedicated to preserving blues as an American art form. The 2002 line-up for Northern California's premier blues event has now been announced, and it's sensational. Taj Mahal, Roomful of Blues, John Mayall, the O'Jays, and many more are featured on three main stages over three days.

June 21-26
Tall Ship "Guayas"
The Ecuadorean Navy pays a call on Monterey with the training ship "Guayas". Go aboard for a tour, then head for Fisherman's Wharf or Cannery Row to hear the ship's own salsa band.

June 29-July 21 (weekends)
Monterey Bay TheatreFest
Monterey: 831-622-0100
Open-air theater festival with Fairy Tales, historical reenactments, and "the Human Chess Game" on the waterfront.

July 2002  

July 4
Community Fourth of July Parade
Monterey: 831-655-8070
Lively music in historic Colton Hall, parade and floats on Alvarado Street, and fireworks.

July 4
Living History Day in Old Monterey
Monterey: 831-647-6204
Travel back in time and find out what life was like in the 1840s. At the historic Cooper-Molera Adobe, you will meet gardeners, cooks, ranchers, soldiers and more. Activities and fun for all ages.

July 4
Valley Heritage Day
King City: 831-385-1484
Old-fashioned 4th of July celebration for the whole family, with a parade, entertainment, food, games, antique farm equipment, historic displays and classic car show.

July 4
Jumpin' Frog Jamboree
Felton: 831-335-4484
Jump a frog and win a trip to the Calaveras Jumping Frog Jubilee or float a toy frog down a flume. Rent a frog or bring your own. Prizes for kids and adults in various categories.

July 7
Sloat Landing Ceremony
Monterey: 831-372-2608, ext 14
155th Commemoration of Commodore John Drake Sloat's landing in Monterey in 1846. He claimed California for the United States, joining the nation "from sea to shining sea."

July 12-14
St Mary's-by-the-Sea Annual Antiques Show and Sale
Pacific Grove: 831-372-8583
Fine silver, estate jewelry, period clothing, paintings, prints, sculpture, toys, furniture, and much more, offered by 28 California antiques dealers. Lunch and snacks available. to top

July 18
Sweet Thursdays on Cannery Row
Monterey: 831-648-8132
Program to be confirmed.

July 19-22
Tall Ship "Batkivshchyna"
This sleek schooner, a good-will ambassador from the Ukraine, ties up at Fisherman's Wharf for a weekend of tours and festivities.

July 20
Steinbeck's Tidepool
Salinas: 831-775-4724
Steinbeck and The Sea of Cortez, a slide presentation by Steve Webster, senior marine biologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, with dramatic readings by The Western Stage.

July 21
Steinbeck's Tidepool Part 2
Salinas: 831-775-4724
Special tours of Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve on foot and by pontoon boat; part of the Steinbeck Centennial program.

July 21
Roaring Camp Musical Saw Festival
Felton: 831-335-4484
Musicians and listeners are invited to workshops, jam sessions and open mic sessions featuring performances of musical saws and folk instruments from around the world.

July 23-27
Pacific Grove Feast of Lanterns
Pacific Grove: 831-649-8737
A tradition as old as the city itself, this community celebration features The Feast of Salads, PG?s birthday cake, pet parade, Seniors Tennis Tourney, street dances, pageant, entertainment, and fireworks.

July 18-21
California Rodeo Salinas
Salinas: 831-775-3100
Continuing Old West traditions with modern-day excitement, the California Rodeo Salinas promises edge-of-your-seat thrills fit for the entire family.

July 28
Moss Landing Antique Street Fair
Moss Landing: 831-633-4501
Stroll through this historic fishing village to browse through thousands of antiques and collectibles brought here by dealers from all over the west coast.

August 2002  

August 1-4
22nd Annual Steinbeck Festival
Salinas: 831-796-3833 ext 204
In the centennial year, the festival is set to explore "Steinbeck's Legacy." Speakers, panels, films, theater, bus and walking tours.

August 3-4
5th Annual Turkish Festival Monterey: 831-655-7509
A celebration of Turkish culture and arts, featuring live music and folk dances, dance workshops, belly dancing, arts & crafts, delicious food, and activities for children. Held in Custom House Plaza.

August 3-4
Carmel Valley Fiesta
Carmel Valley: 831-659-2038
A family-oriented fiesta, with games, train ride, dog show, parade, arts & crafts, continuous entertainment, raffles, good food, and a Saturday night Street Dance.

August 3-4
Annual Scottish Games & Celtic Festival
Monterey: 831-633-4444
A festival celebrating Scottish and Irish traditions and culture. Featuring a Celtic concert, clans, food, entertainment and competitions in dancing, bagpipe bands and athletics.

August 10-11
Summer Gathering of Mountain Men
Felton: 831-335-4484
Isaac Graham was the mountain man who founded Roaring Camp in the 1840s. Travel back in time to that era and visit Roaring Camp at this summer gathering of mountain men.

August 14-18
Blackhawk Classic Car Exposition Sale
Pebble Beach: 925-736-3444
More than 70 of the world's finest antique, classic and custom coachwork automobiles available for individual sale.

August 15
Sweet Thursdays on Cannery Row
Monterey: 831-648-8132
Lecture program on "The Hopkins Marine Station in Cannery Row History."

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August 16-18
29th Annual Monterey Historic Automobile Races
Monterey: 800-327-SECA
The Monterey Historics brings out the best of racing's past from rare pre-war racers adorned with nameplates like Bugatti and Alfa-Romeo to 70s and 80s rocket ships from Lola and McLaren.

August 18
52nd Annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
Pebble Beach: 831-372-8026
This spectacular event exhibits some of the most unique prewar and postwar marques along with the latest in concept car designs.

August 25
Jewish Food Festival
Carmel Valley: 831-625-5460
A celebration of Jewish foods like latkes and bialys, strudel and kugelhopf, plus Jewish culture: Klezmer music, crafts, cooking demos, folk dancing, art exhibits, more.

August 31 - September 1
15th Annual Greek Festival
Monterey: 831-424-4434
An ethnic festival featuring authentic Greek food, live music, traditional dancing, a taverna and crafts.

August 31-September 1
18th Annual California Indian Market
San Juan Bautista: 831-623-2379
A traditional gathering of the indigenous peoples and cultures of Turtle Island. Featuring American Indian artists, dance groups, drums, storytellers, foods and fashions.

August 31 - September 1
Annual Monterey Bay Reggae Fest
Monterey: 831-394-6534
Reggae crowds enjoy the gentle music, ethnic arts & crafts from around the world and authentic Island food.

August 31-September 2
Roaring Camp Summer Sampler
Felton: 831-335-4484
A sampling of Roaring Camp's best historic events, including train robberies, mountain men, melodramas, and a steam-powered saw mill.

September 2002  

September TBA
Historic Homes Tour
Carmel: 831-624-4447
Carmel Heritage Society conducts visitors and locals to some of the village's most historic homes. Reservations suggested.

September 7-8
Festa Italia-Santa Rosalia Festival
Monterey: 831-655-8070
Italian music, bocce competitions, arts & crafts, plus delicious Italian food.

September 19
Sweet Thursdays on Cannery Row
Monterey: 831-375-8512
Lecture program to be confirmed.

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September 21
Medieval Tales: Their Influence on Steinbeck's Writings
Salinas: 831-775-4724
Scholars discuss the fascination medieval romances held for John Steinbeck.

September 21-November 17
These Rare Lands
Pacific Grove: 831-648-5716
Large format, panoramic photographs highlighting the scenic beauty of America's parks, monuments and battlefields. Traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution.

September 29
Carmel Mission Fiesta
Carmel: 831-624-8322
Featuring a variety of international musical entertainment, children's games, Farmer's Market, fabulous barbecue, and shopping galore at local artisans booths.

October 2002  

October TBA
4th Annual Dia de los Muertos Procession
Salinas: 831-775-4737
This is the Mexican 'Day of the Dead,' for honoring one's deceased friends and family. Parade and dancing on Salinas's Main Street, ending at the National Steinbeck Center.

October 5
"Steinbeck Goes to War"
Salinas: 831-775-4724
Two events exploring John Steinbeck's time as a war correspondent. On October 5, the National Steinbeck Center will show the film The Moon is Down, and a panel of Scandinavians who participated in the Resistance movement of WWII will discuss the war. On an October date TBA, join a guided walk through the Presidio Museum.

October 6
Historic Home Tour
Pacific Grove: 831-373-3304
Tour of select Victorian homes, bed & breakfast inns, churches and the Pt. Piños lighthouse. Costumed docents provide histories at each location.

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October 12-13
1880s Harvest Festival
Felton: 831-335-4484
Discover skills and crafts of a simpler time are presented: spinning, weaving, candle making and more. See the entries to Roaring Camp's annual scarecrow contest or make and take home your own scarecrow.

October 13
California Constitution Day
Monterey: 831-646-5640
Re-enactment of California's first Constitutional Convention on the original site where it was drafted in 1849.

October 17
Sweet Thursdays on Cannery Row
Monterey: 831-648-8132
Lecture program TBA.

October 26
Carmel's 86th Birthday Party
Carmel: 831-626-1255
Join Carmelites as they celebrate the city's birthday with a parade (11am) and barbecue (noon).

October 31
Ghost Train
Felton: 831-335-4484
Ride a steam train to Bear Mountain through a haunted redwood forest then follow Ichabod Crane as he flees the Headless Horseman. Reservations required.

November 2002  

November 21
Sweet Thursdays on Cannery Row
Monterey: 831-648-8132
Lecture program at Hopkins Marine Station Auditorium.

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December 2002  

December TBA
Inns of Carmel Tour
Carmel: 831-624-4447
Carmel Heritage Society guides you round the village's handsomest, most historic inns. Reservations recommended.

December 3
Christmas at the Inns
Pacific Grove: 831-373-3304
Mistletoe and evergreens, twinkling lights and a warm welcome: this is the time to discover PG's Victorian inns.

December 4-8
Streets of Bethlehem
Salinas: 831-422-9872
A living history interactive experience. Over 200 cast members, numerous musical groups, and even live animals help bring the Christmas story to life.

December 6-8
4th Annual Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival
Monterey: 831-372-8520
The best cowboy poets and balladeers are featured in a 3-day weekend event also showcasing western artists and gear makers.

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December 12 & 14
Christmas in the Adobes
Monterey: 831-649-7118
Experience beautiful Monterey historic buildings illuminated by candlelight and enhanced with period decorations, musical entertainment, costumed volunteers and refreshments.

December 13
La Posada
Monterey: 831-646-3866
A traditional Christmas candlelight parade led by Joseph and Mary, with participants singing Spanish and English Christmas carols. A piñata party and refreshments follow.

December 14-15
Pioneer Christmas
Felton: 831-335-4484
1880s Roaring Camp is decorated with garlands and bows, and carolers sing along Main Street. Take a wintry steam train ride and join a pioneer Santa atop Bear Mountain for a treasure hunt in a redwood forest.

December 19
Sweet Thursdays on Cannery Row
Monterey: 831-648-8132
Lecture program at Hopkins Marine Station Auditorium.

The tall ship Guayas

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