A recipe for Fourth of July weekend fun: start with two cups of the largest Christian music festival on the West Coast, add a pile of vinyl records in a redwood forest, mix in a cup and a half of Fourth of July picnics, barbecues, parades and lawn parties, a tablespoon of 10K race, and add one First Fridays Art Walk and several dashes of great concerts.
This week, we're starting our hot picks with Thursday night's events, just for those lucky people whose three-day-weekend starts Friday.
The West Coast's biggest Christian music festival, Spirit West Coast begins today at Laguna Seca Recreation Area, with bands appearing on six stages. Today's lineup includes Jeremy Camp, Family Force 5 and BarlowGirl. The music begins just after 10am and continues until midnight. Enter Laguna Seca Recreation Area at Canyon Del Rey Rd. and General Jim Moore Blvd. in Del Rey Oaks. Tickets for adults are $129 for the full event and $59 for the day; $65/39 for ages 6-12; children under 5 admitted free.
The Henry Miller Library's Big Sur International Short Film Screening Series features five films tonight, including two (Iran's "The Final Match" and New Zealand's "Lily and Ra") that are part of the series "Stories on Human Rights." 8:30pm, Henry Miller Library, Highway One, Big Sur.
Spirit West Coast continues at Laguna Seca Recreation Area, with bands appearing on six stages. Today's lineup includes Third Day, Jars of Clay, Hawk Nelson and Group 1 Crew. The music begins just after 10am and continues until midnight. Enter Laguna Seca Recreation Area at Canyon Del Rey Rd. and General Jim Moore Blvd. in Del Rey Oaks. Tickets for adults are $129 for the full event and $59 for the day; $65/39 for ages 6-12; children under 5 admitted free.
Enjoy a family-friendly Friday night celebration in Salinas with the First Fridays Art Walk. The event steps it up a notch this month with artist booths on the sidewalk on Main Street in addition to art, music, and more at over 50 venues. 5pm-8pm, 100-300 block of Main Street and surrounding areas, Salinas. Free.
Blues rocker A.C. Myles plays over 140 shows every year, and yet he manages to bring amazing amounts of energy to each one. Tonight, catch him at Bullwackers. 8:30pm, 653 Cannery Row, Monterey. No cover.
Rex Wheeler plays country-tinged acoustic with a homespun style at London Bridge Pub tonight. 9pm, Monterey's Wharf No. 2, no cover.
Spirit West Coast's live shows at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area include performances from Newsboys, Kutless, Pillar and more. The music begins at 10:30am and continues until 10:30pm; there's also worship services, water baptism classes, evangelism training and more. Enter Laguna Seca Recreation Area at Canyon Del Rey Rd. and General Jim Moore Blvd. in Del Rey Oaks. Tickets for adults are $59 for the day; $39 for ages 6-12; children under 5 admitted free.
Celebrate that retro-popular musical technology, vinyl, at the Henry Miller Library's Vinyl in the Woods event. Vinyl vendors including the legendary Amoeba Records and locals Vinyl Revolution will sell records and DJs from throughout California will spin vinyl throughout the day. Salinas rockers The Mystery Lights and San Francisco's electro-psychedelic Seventeen Evergreen play live. Cuban food and beer and wine will be sold on site. Once night falls, watch a surprise rock and roll movie in the redwood grove (we're hoping for "Celebration at Big Sur"). Bring cash; there are no ATMs on site. 11am-11pm, Highway One in Big Sur. $3 donation.
The Monterey Plaza Hotel starts Fourth of July a day early. From noon to 5pm, browse the artist and vendor marketplace. The Money Band performs from 5-9pm. Barbecue is on sale throughout the afternoon. Free to attend.
On July 7, 1848, Commodore John Drake Sloat raised the U.S. flag above Monterey's Custom House and declared California part of the United States. Representatives from the city, local history organizations and military organizations including the US Navy, US Marine Corps, Defense Language Institute and US Coast Guard join together to commemorate the event at the Sloat Landing Ceremony today at Monterey's Custom House. 2pm, Custom House Plaza, Monterey. Free.
Find out why Cheeky Spanks was voted the Monterey County Weekly's Best Local Band as they bring the party to Bullwackers tonight. 8:30pm, 653 Cannery Row, Monterey. No cover.
Local acoustic act Band of Ninjas play a diverse set of cover tunes tonight at London Bridge Pub. 9pm, Monterey's Wharf No. 2, no cover.
Danjuma & Onoloa play high-energy, danceable Afrobeat tonight at Fernwood in Big Sur. 9pm, Highway One in Big Sur, no cover.
San Diego's Maren Prousel plays breathy, swoony melodic pop that sounds like The Bird and the Bee might if they were produced by Paul Banks of Interpol. Prousel caught a lot of attention this year at SXSW, and was also nominated for Best New Artist at the San Diego Music Awards. Find out what all the fuss is about tonight at Jose's Lounge Underground. Locals The Trees and Bernadette Conant open. 9pm, 638 Wave Street, Monterey. $5.
Fourth of July (Sunday)
There's Fourth of July celebrations everywhere in Monterey County.
Celebrate the Fourth with a 10K race at the 38th annual Spreckels Fourth of July Celebration and 10K Run. The races include a men's, women's and Special Olympics 10K run and a youth 1-mile run. There's also a craft fair, children's parade and activities, antique cars and fire engines, live music, food and drink booths, and more. Spreckels Memorial Park, Hatton Ave. and 2nd St., Spreckels. 10Ks are $30 for men's and women's and $10 for Special Olympics; register online by Friday to participate.
The city of Monterey hosts its family-friendly Big Little Backyard Barbeque at Colton Hall. There will be live music, carnival games, jump houses, food booths and more. Just down the block at the Cooper-Molera Adobe is Living History Day, featuring historic demonstrations, rope making, leather crafts and a fandango. The Backyard Barbeque runs from 11am to 5pm at Colton Hall, 570 Pacific St., Monterey and is free to attend; Living History Day is from 10:30am-1pm at the Cooper-Molera Adobe at 525 Polk Street and is $2 for adults, $1 for ages 7-17 and free for children under 7.
Marina hosts its first 4th of July Street Fair in years on Reservation Avenue. The event includes live music, cultural performances, kids' activities, the Everyone's Harvest Organic Farmers Market, a chalk art contest, and a "Safe and Sane" non-aerial fireworks show at 9pm. 11am-10pm, Marina Village Shopping Center and Seacrest Shopping Center, Marina. $3.50 for a "4th of July Walk-In Passport" to all activities.
Seaside's 4th of July Parade features the San Benito High School Band, Monterey Bay Pipe Band, a 45-foot whale balloon named Jacob, Color Guard units, classic cars and more. The parade route runs on Fremont from W. Broadway Blvd. to Harcourt Ave. Noon.
Pacific Grove's Fourth of July BBQ includes a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by three local actors as well as a great BBQ lunch. 11am-2pm, Caledonia Park (Caledonia Ave. and Central Ave. behind the post office), Pacific Grove. BBQ lunch is $10 for adults and $5 for children.
Carmel-by-the-Sea's Independence Day Celebration at Devendorf Park has music by Cheeky Spanks, games, food and more. Noon to 4pm, free.
Greenfield has one of the only aerial fire displays in Monterey County. The fireworks will start around 9pm at Patriot Park, 13th Street and Oak Avenue, Greenfield.
CB Brand are one of the seminal musical acts that reinvigorated the "Cali-country" genre in the early years of this decade. They play tonight at Fernwood. 9pm, Highway One in Big Sur. No cover.