All Weekend

Monterey County’s favorite thistle takes center stage this weekend as the Artichoke Festival takes over the Monterey County Fair & Event Center. This two-day foodie festival features cooking demos, tours of artichoke farms, artichoke-themed art and souvenirs (and a contest to make art out of actual artichokes!), a wine exposition, and of course artichokes prepared in every way imaginable. Saturday from 10am-6pm and Sunday from 10am-5pm. 2004 Fairgrounds Road, Monterey. $12 for adults and $7 for children.

Head to the Custom House Plaza this weekend for the Monterey Wine Festival. The event officially kicks off at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa on Friday night followed by a two-day wine fest in downtown Monterey. The festival includes an array of wine tastings and foodie competitions. Friday-Sunday. 4 Custom House Plaza, Monterey. Various ticket prices.

Monterey Wine Festival

Celebrate the world’s largest ecosystem at the Monterey Bay Aquarium this weekend. The World Ocean Day Celebration features live musical performances and crafts for kids. Saturday and Sunday from 9am-6pm. 886 Cannery Row, Monterey. Free with aquarium admission.

Friday

Love Elton John? Then you are going to love tonight’s free concert at the Del Monte Shopping Center. The talented Kenny Metcalf performs all of Elton’s classics as part of the Favorite Friday Summer Tribute Concert Series. 6pm-8pm. 1410 Del Monte Center, Monterey.  Free event.

Saturday

Adrenaline junkies and athletes take over Toro Park in Salinas for the Spartan Race! This intense endurance race is complete with various obstacles like the barb wire crawl, rope climb and tire drag. 8am. 501 Highway 68, Salinas. Various ticket prices.

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“The Biggest Game in Town” comes to the Golden State Theatre in downtown Monterey tonight. This entertaining indie film was filmed and produced by locals. 7pm. 417 Alvarado Street, Monterey. $37.

Golden Theater

The Jerry Shanahan Band perform jazz tonight at the Fernwood Tavern. 10pm. 47200 Highway 1, Big Sur. Free event.

Sunday

The Henry Miller Library in Big Sur presents Kenneth Brower this afternoon as part of their speaker series. Join Kenneth, author and son of environmentalist David Brower, for an intriguing discussion under the redwoods. 3pm-4pm. 48603 Highway 1, Big Sur. Free event.

“What Would Steinbeck and Ricketts say about Climate Change?” is the topic of discussion at the National Steinbeck Center this afternoon. Dr. Steve Webster, co-founder of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, will explore what John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts would likely be saying about climate change. 3pm-4:30pm. 1 Main Street, Salinas.

National Steinbeck Center