There's three big all-weekend events in Monterey County this weekend.
First is the 30th Annual Steinbeck Festival, held at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. This year's festival, which began on Thursday and extends throughout the weekend, focuses on the theme of travel as it threads through John Steinbeck's work. The festival features over 30 panels and tours, many of which are free to the public; see the schedule PDF for details.
The second is the Carmel Valley Fiesta, a full-weekend celebration of the Carmel Valley community that has taken place since 1989. Events include pancake breakfasts, a classic car show, arts and crafts, rides, fair food, free concerts, a 7.7 mile trail race through Garland Ranch Regional Park (register online), a kids' race and the famous Carmel Valley Doggie Show. The concerts feature several Monterey County favorite bands; Saturday's headliner, playing from 3-6pm, is Mike Beck and the Bohemian Saints, while Sunday's headliner, playing from 3-5pm, is the Cachagua Playboys. Most events are free for the public; see this PDF for a full schedule of events.
The Monterey Scottish Games and Celtic Festival return for the 43rd year! Held Saturday and Sunday, the festival features piping, drumming and dancing competitions, historical reenactments, Celtic arts crafts and foods, sheepdog demonstrations, and performances by the Monterey Harp Ensemble, Tempest, 1916 and the legendary Seamus Kennedy. 9am-6pm Saturday, 9am-4:30pm Sunday, Toro Park, Highway 68, Salinas. Tickets are $20 at the gate per day, or $30 for the weekend; seniors, military and youth age 13-16 pay $18 for one day or $28 for the weekend, children 7-12 $10/15, children 6 and under are free. Parking is $5.
Jazz on the Plaza continues at the Carmel Plaza with San Francisco Latin jazz great Derek Smith, wines from Ventana Vineyards and food from Bistro Beaujolais. 5-7pm, Carmel Plaza, Ocean Avenue and Mission Street, Carmel-by-the-Sea. $15.
See great art and live entertainment for free at over 50 venues during the Salinas First Fridays Art Walk. 5pm-8pm, 100-300 blocks of Salinas and surrounding area. Free.
Local blues star John "Broadway" Tucker was the Monterey Bay Blues Festival's local "Artist of the Year" in 2006, and he's just gotten better since. Catch him tonight at Schooners Bistro on the Bay at the Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa. 5:30pm, 400 Cannery Row, Monterey.
Lazy sounds like a mix of very early X and the first Sisters of Mercy EP, only with live drums. They play Jose's tonight along with quirky indie-roots-acoustic locals White Dogs and energetic Latin-influenced ska band The Great Tortilla Heist. 8pm, Jose's Lounge Underground, 638 Wave St., Monterey. $5.
Local party favorites Cheeky Spanks play tonight at Captain Bullwacker's. 8:30pm, 653 Cannery Row, Monterey. No cover.
Comedy and burlesque troupe Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad (get a taste of their humor and music above with the Hamantaschen gangsta rap) brings wild, risque, ribald fun to Fernwood Resort tonight. The troupe features Susannah Perlman (previously seen at the Edinburgh Fringe), Ophira Eisenberg (who has appeared on Queer as Folk and VH1's Best Week Ever), poet Vanessa Hidary (featured on Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam), Rena Zager (who has performed standup around the country and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival), and 14 more performers. 9pm, Fernwood Resort, Highway One, Big Sur. $15.
Taste 200 wines from over 40 wineries at the Winemakers' Celebration in Monterey's Custom House Plaza! The event includes live music by the Dennis Murphy Band, a silent auction, and a raffle with a grand prize trip to Pueblo Bonito Resorts in Cabo San Lucas. 1pm-5pm, Custom House Plaza, Monterey. $45 in advance (tickets available online) or $50 on the day of the event.
Flash back to the '60s at the Sunset Center! Psychedelic favorites Big Brother and the Holding Company and Country Joe McDonald are the center of a full-on replay of the Summer of Love. In addition to the great bands, there will be a 60's themed party featuring food vendors, art and live entertainment. The party is at 5pm, the concert is at 8pm. Sunset Center, San Carlos Street and Ninth Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea. Tickets are $29, $38 and $45 and can be purchased online.
Local jazz musical duo Dizzy Burnett and Grover Coe provide a slinky atmosphere for tonight's Summer Concert Series at the Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa. 5pm, 400 Cannery Row, Monterey. No cover.
Evenings by the Bay continues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Spend a couple more hours with that adorable baby sea otter while enjoying a wine and beer bar and smooth jazz from Roger Eddy. 6pm-8pm, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey. Included in price of admission.
Punk rock legend John Doe has carved a reputation as a songwriter and actor. If you're used to his old punk-rock music, his set tonight at the Henry Miller Library may be a surprise; he's just recorded a country album and is playing with Folkband featuring Cindy Wasserman (previously with Dead Rock West). Local alt-country artists Matt Denman and Mira Parfitt open. 7pm, Henry Miller Library, Highway One, Big Sur. Buy tickets online for $15 or at the door for $20.
Local metal favorites Pride Subject and Granted Earth thrash tonight at Jose's Lounge Underground alongside San Francisco metallers One Punch Machine Gun and Santa Cruz's The Devil Himself. 8pm, Jose's Lounge Underground, 638 Wave St., Monterey.
Up and coming party band Boom Daddy play tonight at Captain Bullwacker's. 8:30pm, 653 Cannery Row, Monterey. No cover.
Edgy LA alt-country band The Evangenitals are a favorite of freeform music channel KPIG. They play Fernwood Resort tonight. 9pm, Highway One in Big Sur. No cover.
Latin R&B favorites Chicano All-Stars and outstanding blues vocalist Sista Monica play today at Sunday Blues at Laguna Grande Park in Seaside. 1pm-4:30pm, Laguna Grande Park, Canyon Del Rey Boulevard, Seaside. Free.
The Pacific Grove Summer Festival premieres at Lovers Point Park in Pacific Grove. Watch artists paint, enjoy street food, and watch performances by local bands The Lost Boys, Cachagua Playboys, Red Beans and Rice and the very busy Chicano All Stars. 9am-6pm, Lovers Point Park, Pacific Grove. Free.
Tonight at Evenings by the Bay at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, see jazz woodwinds artist Stu Reynolds, sip a glass of wine or beer, and enjoy the chance to see the galleries with fewer crowds. 6-8pm, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey. Included in price of admission.