We're sure you've already heard the sad news - no fireworks in Monterey this year. Don't be too disappointed; this weekend is so packed with things to do that you won't even notice their absence! And if your Fourth of July would be ruined without fiery explosions in the air, read on to find out about Monterey County's two fireworks shows. Friday Your ears do not deceive you - you are, in fact, hearing the roar of thousands of motorcycles as over 100,000 motorcycle racing fans descend on Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Red Bull Grand Prix. Today the thrills include the presentation laps and some very high-speed practice rides. There's a different kind of noise filling Big Sur this weekend, as the Mother Hips Hipnic takes over the Henry Miller Library. Today's lineup begins at 3:15pm with Emily Jane White followed by Citay, Red Cortez, These United States, Moondoggies, and headliners Mother Hips at 9:15pm. There will be food and drink for sale at the event. If it's the first Friday of the month, it must be time for the Salinas First Fridays Art Walk! Enjoy free snacks, beverages, art and entertainment at over 50 venues in Oldtown Salinas. 5pm-8pm. Free. The Golden State Theatre's free movies continue with Monsters vs. Aliens at 7pm. Saturday Fourth of July Fireworks:Can't bear the thought of July 4 without fireworks? Two towns in Monterey County are hosting great fireworks shows this year. Greenfield's takes place at Patriot Park on the corner of Oak and 13th Streets. Soledad's is at Jesse Gallardo Park. Both fireworks shows start after dark. Looking for a great Fourth of July barbecue? There's plenty to be had in Monterey County! Pacific Grove hosts an old-fashioned community barbecue in Caledonia Park, featuring live entertainment from Kelly and the Beachcombers, jump houses for the kids, a reading of the Declaration of Independence and a great view of Monterey Bay. 11am. $10/adult, $5/child, includes food and beverage. Monterey's Fourth of July celebration kicks off with a flag raising at 10am on Alvarado, a parade at 10:15am that wends its way from Alvarado and Polk to Del Monte to Calle Principal, and finally the big lawn party at Colton Hall, featuring live entertainment, carnival games, food booths, and more. In addition to the lawn party, the Cooper-Molera Adobe will host a historic July 4 celebration, with blacksmithing, rope making, storytelling, traditional dancing and more. Lawn party runs 11am-5pm and is free, with free valet bicycle parking; the party at the Cooper-Molera Adobe is $2 for adults, $1 for children 6-17, and free for children 5 and under. Carmel's July 4 party takes place in Devendorf Park, and features old-fashioned events for children such as sack races and a pie-eating contest. Bring a picnic lunch or buy food from local community groups. Cheeky Spanks plays at 1pm. Noon-4pm, free. Sprekels hosts its annual 4th of July 10K run at 9am. The run starts at Spreckels Park on 3rd Street. Following the run, there will be a parade and a picnic at the park, with food and crafts booths. Soledad hosts a Fourth of July party featuring softball at 9am, a children's parade at 11:30am, bounce houses, dance contests, a car show, and a cash prize for the most patriotically dressed man and woman. Fireworks begin after dark. Free. Celebrate July 4 with the psychedelic country sounds of the Mother Hips and friends at the Henry Miller Library's Hipnic. Today's lineup begins at 1:15pm with The Dry Spells, followed by Travel By Sea, Nicky Bluhm and the Gramblers, Sparrow's Gate, Parson's Red Heads, Little Wings, Everest and headliners Mother Hips at 9:25pm. There will be food and drink for sale at the event. For our south county friends, the Monterey County Rural Life Museum at San Lorenzo Park combines classic cars and history with patriotism for their "Fourth of July in the Park and Car Show 2009." The parade starts at 9:30am on Broadway Street and heads to the park for the celebration, which includes historic displays, the aforementioned car show, food, games and crafts, plus live music from After Hours. Escape the 4th of July sun with a free showing of Monsters vs. Aliens at the Golden State Theatre at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm. Celebrate July 4 with some great motorcycle action. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca hosts the Red Bull Grand Prix. Today the thrills include practice rides, qualifying races, and the AMA Daytona SportBike races. Cannery Row hosts motorcycle fans from the Red Bull Grand Prix tonight at Race Night on the Row from 5-11pm. To get a feel for what it will be like, check out these amazing photos from last year's event:
If you're willing to brave the Cannery Row crowds, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's "Evenings by the Bay" kicks off tonight. From 6 pm to 8 pm, listen to live jazz and sip beer or wine as you browse the exhibits. The espresso cart will have food for a light dinner. You can even make reservations at the Portola Restaurant and eat dinner while admiring Monterey Bay. Included with admission. Missed them at the Henry Miller Library? Check out San Francisco psychedelic folkies Citay at Jose's on Wave Street tonight. 8pm, free. The fireworks are inside the Hippodrome as hip-hop's Peanut Butter Wolf mans the decks. 9pm, $10. Sunday Haven't had enough patriotic celebrating? Seaside marches to a different July 4 drummer by holding its Independence Day parade on July 5. The parade includes military drill and Color Guard units, gigantic inflatable balloons, local youth groups including the San Benito High School Band, the Watsonville Band, clowns, and more. The parade starts at W. Broadway and S. Fremont and follows Fremont all the way down to Harcourt Ave. Noon. Free. It's the grand finale of the Red Bull Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Watch the AMA Daytona Superbike race, the AMA American Superbike race, and the spectacular MotoGP World Championship. The Golden State Theatre blesses parents of bored children with a free showing of Monsters vs. Aliens at 4pm and 7pm. If you can't find something to keep you busy on this list, you must be a very picky person. Take a look at the Monterey County Weekly's calendar, which lists many more events.