This weekend, the Monterey Fairgrounds is taken over by the Monterey Bay Blues Festival for a weekend of the best blues music in the country. If you're looking for other fun events, read on!


Crown Royal helps locals warm up for the California Rodeo Salinas with a cocktail contest. Try competing cocktails at the following Salinas venues in the early evening: Casa Sorrento at 4:30pm, Old Town Bar & Grille at 5:30pm, and Elli's Lalla Lounge at 6:45pm. Then (so long as you have a designated driver) cross the lettuce curtain to see if the following Monterey venues can compete: Lollapalooza at 8:30pm, Britannia Arms at 9:30pm, and the Mucky Duck at 10:30pm. Monterey's Golden State Theater offers a Free Movie Weekend that is simply made of awesome, with 2008's two best summer blockbusters. Iron Man (cue the Black Sabbath) shows at 6pm; The Dark Knight shows at 9pm. Great drama, big chase scenes and gigantic explosions in a gorgeous theater with a huge screen? You'll find us in the first row of the balcony. Get your free tickets at stores around Old Monterey; just look for the signs in the windows. The South Bay's Stompin' Ground fills Jose's Mexican on Wave Street in Monterey with that classic R&B sound tonight. 8pm, free.


Monterey's Custom House Plaza hosts Pacrep Summerfest. Enjoy live music from local musicians while you peruse the wares of over 50 arts and crafts vendors and nibble on international food. 9am-6pm, free. Toro Park hosts the Thunder Riders car and motorcycle show. Admire gorgeous machinery and enjoy family activities like bounce-houses, a magic show and face-painting, as well as live music. Show starts at 10am. $8. Bring your fossil-mad child to Science Saturday at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. Your little dinosaur or mastodon nut can get up close and personal with the Museum of Natural History's collection of replica fossils, and use arts and crafts to learn more about the gigantic beasts that once roamed our lands and seas. 11am-3pm, free. Monterey County has some of the best birding in the United States. Get pointers on spotting the birds of Big Sur with the Birding with Bill hike at Andrew Molera State Park. Wear layered clothing and sturdy shoes, and bring plenty of water. 11am, meets at the Andrew Molera State Park kiosk. Learn about California's colonial past at the Carmel Mission's Founder's Day celebration. Watch performances by the Alta California Dancers, learn how colonists made food, soap and clothing, and take tours of the mission. Children can play traditional games and meet descendants of the Spanish colonial horses. If you're hungry, you can also buy barbecue food. Noon-5pm, free. See how Big Sur has bounced back on the Valleys and Vistas nature walk at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The hike is two miles. 2pm, meet at the Nature Center. The new Homescapes Carmel at the Barnyard hosts an open house with interior designers/authors Robert Hale and Tom Williams. Meet the authors and enjoy refreshments. 2-4pm, free. As we said before, 2008's best summer blockbusters + Golden State Theater's gigantic screen and comfy balcony seats = MADE OF WIN. Iron Man's at 6pm; The Dark Knight's at 9pm, plus special bonus Dark Knight matinee at 2pm. Get your free tickets at many of Old Monterey's stores. Author Elliot Ruchowits Roberts reads from his own work as well as reading the poems of George Sterling and Robinson Jeffers during "Envying the Quietness of Stones" at the Robinson Jeffers Tor House in Carmel. The reception begins at 6:30pm; the reading begins at 7. $25; call 831-236-2557 to reserve. Fernwood Resort in Big Sur continues its eclectic lineup with Santa Cruz neopsychedelic rockers Byron Space Circus at 9pm. Fantastic San Francisco Bay old-fashioned Motown/soul band Whiskey Hill makes you boogie until you fall over at Jose's tonight. 9pm, free.


If the farmers markets on Monday in Pacific Grove; Tuesday in Carmel and Old Monterey; Thursday in Salinas, Monterey and Soledad; Saturday in Salinas and Sunday in Salinas and Marina weren't enough for you, then you're in luck - here comes another one! The Del Monte Shopping Center Certified Farmers Market kicks off today at 8am. At 9:30am there will be a grand opening, including a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a "breaking of the bread" ceremony with Whole Foods representatives and live musical performances. Visitors get a free Farmers Market shopping bag. 8am to noon. There are two great group hikes at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park today. At 9am, the Discovering Pfeiffer Falls hike takes a trek a mile up the Valley View trail to admire Pfeiffer Falls. At 1pm, the one and a half hour Gear Shifts trek shows off the dramatic ways Big Sur's terrain changes abruptly in just a few yards. Discovering Pfeiffer Falls meets at the Nature Center, while Gear Shifts meets in front of the Big Sur Lodge Restaurant. Pacrep Summerfest continues at Custom House Plaza, with live music and over 50 vendors. 9am-6pm, free. Take a great hike while helping preserve a local park. This three to four hour hike at Garland Ranch Regional Park will follow along the Hitchcock loop and visit the park's waterfall. As you go, you'll help clean up and restore the benches and signs along the path. 10am, free. Meet at the Kahn Ranch lot, which is off Southbank Road in Carmel Valley.