Monterey County is the place to be this October for fast cars, fast planes and monster trucks. Three great events throughout the month feature high-speed, pulse-pounding motor action. Over the course of three weekends, watch the breathtaking acrobatics of the US Air Force Thunderbirds, take a ride in a classic World War II fighter plane and see the first-ever motor event featuring tuners (high-performance versions of street cars) from around the globe. All three events are priced for a fun-filled, wallet-friendly weekend for the whole family – one event is even free!
October 2-3: 30th California International Airshow
There’s only one chance to see the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds in Northern California this year, and that’s at the 30th California International Airshow. Performing in one of only two appearances on the West Coast this year, the Thunderbirds will execute the heart-stopping aerobatic maneuvers they’re known for. The California International Airshow is more than just the Thunderbirds! See demonstrations from the U.S. Navy F/A-C Hornet and a Canadian CF-18. Feel the ground shake as military planes perform screaming fly-bys. Watch thrilling, terrifying aerobatic performances from the Horsemen, Michael Goulian, Kent Pietsch, Bill Cornick and Spencer Suderman. Though most of the action takes place in the sky, there’s also exciting thrills at ground level. See a jaw-dropping race between a jet plane and the 400-mile-per-hour USO Smoke-n-Thunder Jet Car. Cheer on the car-crushing action as monster trucks — The Patriot, Iron Outlaw and Bounty Hunter — tear up the track. Tickets for the California International Airshow start at only $15 for adults and $10 for children. Many ticket options and packages are available. Buy your tickets online at the California International Airshow website.
October 16: Marina Air Faire
Take a ride in a classic World War II fighter plane at the Marina Air Faire, which features classic planes on the ground and in the air. You’ll see legendary warbirds such as the famous shark-nosed Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk, the P-51D Mustang, the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair, the B-25, the Grumman F8F Bearcat. In addition to rides in warbirds, you can also view the Monterey Bay coastline from above in a 1940s Beechcraft Twin, a two-seat helicopter or an open-cockpit 1940s Stearman bi-plane. Views of vintage planes at the Marina Air Faire aren’t just limited to the air. Get right next to vintage and experimental airplanes on the tarmac and learn the history of these classic birds from their owners and pilots. The beautiful classic machinery of the air is complemented by a classic car show featuring cool pre-1973 hot rods, muscle cars and more. Awards will be given out in over 21 categories. Military history buffs won’t want to miss the Living History Symposium, featuring soldiers speaking about their experiences in World War II, or the displays by the Military Vehicle Collectors Club. Exhibition booths throughout the event will feature information on aviation and military history. And as if all that isn’t hot enough, there’s also a chili cook-off featuring the best, tastiest and spiciest chili on the Central Coast. Bring ingredients and compete – or just taste the heat and eat! If the spice of the chili competition is too much for you, there will also be milder food and drink available throughout the event, including a wine tasting. You can even take home a piece of Monterey County with items in the silent auction. Bid on a stay at the Intercontinental the Clement, a magnum of Marinus wine from Bernardus, golf at Laguna Seca, and 100 more items! For a full list, see the Marina Air Faire website. The Marina Air Faire runs from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, October 16 at Marina Municipal Airport. Admission is free! Prices for airplane rides vary. Proceeds from the event benefit local charities. See the official website for details and directions.
October 22-24: Global Tuner Grand Prix
European and Asian tuners – street cars that have been modified or “tuned” for racetrack performance – have competed at tracks around the world. But Asian cars have never faced off against European or American cars – until this weekend. The Global Tuner Grand Prix pits street rods, Tuner class cars, GT cars and more against each other. These cars are fast, sexy – and all street-legal. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has been declared the only racetrack that could provide a level playing field for these radically different, street-legal cars to truly test themselves against each other. Porsches, Corvettes, Mazdas and more will whip around the track in three days of fast-paced racing action. Other classes will race as well, including cars from the American Le Mans series, the SCCA Pro Racing World challenge, Grand Am Road Racing and more. The fun will continue on the midway, with motorsport manufacturer displays, vendors and a SoCal Euro car show. Spectators can also see historic stock cars. Tickets are only $10 for Friday, $15 for Saturday or Sunday and $35 for the whole event. Children under 12 enter free! Ticket holders park for free. Call the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Ticket Office at 800-327-7322 for tickets.