All Weekend

The Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival occurs this weekend at the Monterey Marriott and the Monterey Conference Center. The Festival provides guests with three days of the finest in cowboy arts. There will be plenty of musical performances, storytelling, poetry, and even a place to score all of your cowboy art and gear just in time for Christmas! Friday-Sunday, 1 Portola Plaza, Monterey. Various ticket prices. Life in Monterey: Ice skating in 60 degree weather with a view of the bay! Experience a taste of winter at Custom House Plaza Monterey State Historic Park in Monterey! Ice Skating by the Bay continues this weekend so bring the family out for a little fun. Friday-Saturday 11am-10pm and Sunday noon-8pm, Custom House Plaza, Monterey. $12 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under and $3 skate rental fee. Want to kill two birds with one stone? How about getting some Christmas shopping in while taking the kids out for something fun? Northridge Mall in Salinas has all of your holiday shopping needs and an awesome ice rink! Open during normal mall business hours, 796 Northridge Mall, Salinas. $15 for adults, $12 for children. Let music soothe your stress as you try to get gifts for everyone at the Del Monte Center. On Friday evening shoppers can enjoy music from the Monterey Strings. Saturday will feature the SMILES Carolers and the Easy Street Band. Sunday will round out the weekend with a performance from Thom Cuneo’s Wharfside Stompers. Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6pm-8pm, 1410 Del Monte Center, Monterey. Free admission. Knock off that Grinch attitude and catch a performance of Every Christmas Story Ever Told at Circle Theatre. This fast paced comedy retells several classic Christmas stories including How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Wonderful Life and Frosty the Snowman. Friday and Saturday and 7:30pm and Sunday at 2pm, Circle Theatre, Casanova Street, Carmel-by-the-Sea. $7-$35. Terrence Farrell plays his guitar this weekend at the C Restaurant + Bar at the InterContinental. Take this time to relax and brainstorm holiday gift ideas. Friday and Saturday from 5:30pm-9pm, 750 Cannery Row, Monterey. Free admission.

Friday

The Sunset Center invites guests to an Open House which features refreshments and children’s activities. 2pm-4pm, San Carlos Street and Ninth Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea. Free admission. Carmel-by-the-Sea lights up their Christmas tree this evening at Devendorf Park. Mayor Sue McCloud will officially flip the switch and light the tree at 5:30pm. Come early! This popular event can draw quite the crowd. Afterwards head over to Carmel Plaza’s Open House with live music and a visit from Santa. 2pm-7:30pm, Devendorf Park on Ocean and Junipero, Carmel-by-the-Sea. Free admission. Celebrate the holidays with First Friday in Oldtown Salinas. The popular art event becomes “alive after five” with live music, dance performances, art exhibits and refreshments. 5pm-8pm, Oldtown Salinas. Free admission. Marina lights up their Christmas Tree tonight at the Vince DiMaggio City Park. Join in the fun with live music, refreshments, Santa Claus and more! 6pm-7:30pm, 3200 Del Monte Blvd., Marina. Free admission. The Monterey Bay Aquarium hosts a special Holiday Dinner tonight from Chef Cindy Pawlcyn. The farm-to-table holiday menu will use only the best local, organic, and, of course, sustainable ingredients. 6:30pm, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey. $36 for adults and $15 for children. For reservations call (831) 648-4870. The Sunset Center in Carmel-by-the-Sea presents the Smuin Ballet for a special showing of the Christmas Ballet. This masterpiece mixes in classical performances with sexy and fun acts. Don’t miss the new choreography from Amy Seiwert. 8pm, San Carlos Street at Ninth Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea. $55-$65. Monterey’s signature cover band, A Band of Ninjas, performs at Bullwacker’s tonight. Pull up a chair by one of their outdoor fire pits and enjoy the show! 8:30pm, 653 Cannery Row, Monterey. No cover. Rex Wheeler performs his solo acoustic rock set tonight at London Bridge Pub. 9pm, 256 Figueroa St., Wharf #2, Monterey. No cover.

Saturday

Pacific Grove transforms into a snowy paradise today. Caledonia Park will be covered with snow and holiday décor for the whole family to enjoy. Bring the youngsters out to create their own Frosty or toss around a few snowballs. Santa Claus will also make an appearance with help from his friends at the Pacific Grove Fire Department. 10am-4pm, Caledonia Park, Pacific Grove. Free admission. Need some holiday décor? Head on over to Earthbound Farms for a wreath-making workshop and gingerbread cookie demo. The pros will teach you how to twist grapevines into beautiful wreaths and Chef Sarah will show you to bake the perfect gingerbread cookie. 11am-2pm, 7250 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. Free admission. Chocolates and desserts. Need I say more? Bernardus Lodge’s Pastry Chef, Ben Spungin, will give a special hands-on chocolate and dessert demonstration this afternoon. Sugar-holics can indulge in a chocolate buffet and take home a few of the tasty treats they prepare during the demo. 1pm-3pm, 415 W. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. $85. Call 831-658-3550 for reservations. Couldn’t catch yesterday’s Christmas Ballet performance at the Sunset Center? Don’t worry, the Smuin Ballet is back in Carmel-by-the-Sea today for a 2pm showing. This holiday ballet incorporates standard ballet with tap, jazz and swing. 2pm, San Carlos Street at Ninth Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea. $55-$65. Carmel Valley officially lights their Christmas Tree this evening at the Carmel Valley Community Park. Enjoy live entertainment, refreshments and caroling. Don’t miss the tree in all its glory which will be lit up at 5:15pm sharp! 4:30pm-6pm, Carmel Valley Community Park, Carmel Valley. Free admission. The John Michael Band performs tonight on the patio at Bullwacker’s. Bring your friends and enjoy their rock n’ roll jams. 8:30pm, 653 Cannery Row, Monterey. No cover. The Temple Tigers perform rock n’ roll music tonight at Fernwood Tavern in Big Sur. Come early and enjoy dinner at the Redwood Grill. 9pm, 47200 Highway One, Big Sur. Free admission. London Bridge Pub presents acoustic rock musician Michael Annotti tonight. 9:30pm, 256 Figueroa St., Wharf #2, Monterey. No cover.

Sunday

The Monterey Museum of Art La Mirada spreads their Christmas cheer with Old-fashioned Storytelling for the Holidays. Listen to several Christmas themed stories from authors including Twain, Capote, Shaw, Longfellow and more! 1:30pm, 720 Via Mirada, Monterey. Free admission. Join the cozy inns of Carmel-by-the-Sea for the Inns of Distinction Tour. This self-guided tour takes you to various B&B’s and small hotel properties where local wines and eateries will be featured. This year’s properties include Cypress Inn, Carriage House, Wayside Inn, Horizon Inn, Carmel Tradewinds, Vagabond’s inn, Vagabond’s House, Carmel Country Inn and Pine Inn. Guests can even enter a drawing to win an overnight stay or dinner for two at a Carmel restaurant. 2pm-5pm, Carmel-by-the-Sea. $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event. For ticket information call 831-624-4447 or email info@carmelheritage.org. How about a little Christmas cheer and wine? Chateau Julien hosts the Holiday Spectacular with just that! The seated performance takes place in the Wine Estate’s Chai and includes a performance from an a capella choir and wine tastings to follow in the Great Hall. 2:30pm-5:30pm, 8940 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel. $40. Call831-624-2600 for reservations. Chillax at the Mucky Duck this Sunday with a little reggae. Reggae artist Tony Miles performs relaxing tunes all afternoon. 4pm-8pm, 479 Alvarado Street, Monterey. Free admission. Watch a parade on the sea during the Lighted Boat Parade. Decked out boats and yachts will show off their creative decorations throughout the Monterey and Pacific Grove coastlines. Ships will leave the Coast Guard Pier and cruise past Cannery Row to Lover's Point in Pacific Grove. 5:15pm, Monterey and Pacific Grove coastlines.