Monterey becomes the center of the jazz world this weekend as the Monterey Jazz Festival takes over the town. If jazz isn't your thing, don't worry; there's plenty of other things to keep you busy. Friday The Carmel Plaza's Jazz at the Plaza features singer Lauri Hofer, who has previously performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Award-winning winery Ventana Vineyards pours, and Bistro Beaujolais as usual serves excellent food. To get a feel for Hofer's sound, watch the YouTube clip below: The Jimmy Lyons stage at the Monterey Jazz Festival hosts Esperanza Spalding, Kenny Barron, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling, Russell Malone and Conrad Herwig's Latin Side All-Star Band with special guests Randy Brecker & Joe Lovano. Single-show arena tickets are still available; call 925-275-9255. Catch a different kind of star at Pinnacles National Monument's star viewing party. Get there before 8pm to get a parking space by the west entrance; the astronomy talk begins at 8:30, and telescope viewings start shortly thereafter. $5/car. Huntsville, Alabama's Daikaiju describe themselves as "Rock/Psychedelic/Surf" on their MySpace page. To us, it sounds like what you'd get if New Radiant Storm King covered Dick Dale (and that's a good thing). Tonight, they let loose at Jose's on Wave Street. Psych/surf influenced locals The Mystery Lights and A Royal Symphony open. 9pm, $5. Saturday At the Monterey Jazz Festival, headliners include John Scofield and the Piety Street Band, Pete Seeger, Susan Tedeschi, the Hank Jones & Joe Lovano Quartet with John Patitucci and Brian Blade, Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Single-show arena tickets are still available; call 925-275-9255. Buy locally handmade arts and crafts for a good cause at the PacRep HarvestFest Arts & Crafts Faire at Custom House Plaza in Monterey. Proceeds benefit Carmel's Pacific Repertory Theatre. Entertainment includes live performances from the musical Oliver!. 9am-5pm, free. John Steinbeck proved he was down with the working class in his Nobel Prize-winning books, so he probably would have appreciated the art of the skateboard deck. Today the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas opens its "What the Deck?" exhibition, in which 70 artists show off what they can do with a blank deck. Outside, skateboarders will show off what they can do with a set of wheels. All decks are offered up in a silent auction closing October 17 to benefit the National Steinbeck Center. 1pm to 4pm. Locals Candyflip bring their politically active music to Jose's at Wave Street. San Francisco's Orchestra of Antlers, The Trees and Santa Cruz punks Dulcet Tone (nice irony, guys) round out the bill. 9pm, $5. Sunday Headliners at the Monterey Jazz Festival include the MJF Next Generation Jazz Orchestra with Artist-in-Residence Wynton Marsalis, George Duke, Jason Moran & the Bandwagon, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and Chick Corea, Stanley Clark and the Lenny White Trio. Single-show arena tickets are still available; call 925-275-9255. The PacRep HarvestFest Arts & Crafts Faire continues at Custom House Plaza. 9am-5pm, free. Got an ID that proves you're a proud resident of Monterey County? This Sunday, September 20 only, you can get in free to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's all part of the big 25th anniversary bash. 10am-6pm.
This Sunday, as the famous billboard says, "It's Happening in Soledad." Oldtown Soledad throws one of its biggest parties of the year with the 6th Annual Wind and Wine Festival. The street vendors and live music are free; $20 gets you into the wine-tasting tent. 10am-6pm. Meanwhile, just down the road at the Boronda Adobe, the Soledad Historical Society hosts a family-friendly barbecue that includes an art auction, music, a wild animal show by Wild Things, and more. Noon-4pm, $15/adults, $8/kids 12 and under. Big Sur's Henry Miller Library continues its string of amazing live acts with legendary folk-rocker Dan Bern. 3pm, $15 at the door. If you want stellar chili, there's no better place to find it than at a chili cookoff, especially when pro chefs are vying for the title. Holman Ranch hosts the Carmel Valley Chamber of Commerce's Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-Off. You would not be remiss bringing Rolaids to cure your chili-belly. 5:30-8:30pm, $27/CVCC members, $32/non-members. Still looking for something to do? Check out the Monterey County Weekly's online calendar.