Play in the snow at the Seaside Holiday Fantasy Festival! This big party at City Hall has bounce houses, a petting zoo, live choral and dance performances, hay rides, a visit from Santa, real snow, and the official holiday tree lighting ceremony. 4:30-8:30pm, free.

Downtown Pacific Grove lights up for the "Friday Night Lights Party." Meet Santa Claus and listen to live music on the street, look at the lights and decorations and perhaps pop into a store or two. 5-9pm, free.

Gathering after the Cowboy Coffee Hour
Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival, by belindalouwho66

The Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival gallops into the Monterey Conference Center for the 11th year. Tonight's 7pm performance is "The 4 D's", hosted by poet Doris Daley and featuring poet Dennis Gaines, and singers Dave Stamey and Don Edwards. There's also an Art & Gear Show, where you can pick up a gift for that special cowboy someone. Tickets available at the door.

Looking for a splurgy pre-holiday dinner? The Truffle Dinner at Bernardus Lodge's Marinus Restaurant is it. The truffles in question are not chocolatey bonbons, but the ultra-rare, ultra-tasty fungus known as "the diamond of the kitchen. $500 includes a 6-course tasting menu with wines from Burgundy, as well as champagne, cocktails and more. 6:30pm, call (831) 658-3550 to reserve.

California's best surf zydeco band, the Cachagua Playboys, get the crowds dancing at Bullwacker's tonight. 8:30pm. Local psychedelic prog-rockers Candyflip have attracted a big local following. They play Jose's on Wave Street in Monterey tonight with musical buddies Mapless, Make Me and The Trees. 9pm, $5.

Philadelphia's psychedelic folkies Espers play heartfelt, earnest music that wouldn't be out of place in a Haight Street cafe circa 1968. They've even been covered by Marianne Faithfull. They play Fernwood Resort in Big Sur tonight. Native American-influenced folkie Mariee Sioux and the mysterious Jeffertiti's Niles also appear. 9pm, $15.


The Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival continues with the Christmas Art and Gear Show and poetry and music performances from 10 am through 7 pm; check their official online schedule for more information. Tickets available at the door.

Dress up your dog, cat or other pet and bring her down to Cannery Row for the Pet Parade! The parade starts at the American Tin Cannery and runs to Steinbeck Plaza in Cannery Row. 11am; fill out this PDF to participate in the Pet Parade.

Harpist at Casa Soberanes
A harpist plays at Casa Soberanes during Christmas in the Adobes

Monterey's Christmas in the Adobes returns for the 25th year. See the adobes decked out for the holidays and illuminated by candles! It's a fantastic event, full of live traditional music, choral performances, and volunteers all dolled up in outfits from the adobe period! (Of course, your humble blog writer volunteers at this event and is understandably biased.) 5-9pm, $20 for adults $2 for children 6-17 accompanied by an adult, free for children 5 and under. Buy tickets at the Cooper Museum Store in downtown Monterey.

Folk-pop singer-songwriter Rose Merrill writes heartfelt songs that can go from comic to tragic in a single line. She performs tonight at the Big Sur River Inn. 7-10pm, no cover.

Smooth jazz master James Henry plays Fernwood in Big Sur tonight. 9pm, no cover. Heads will bang at Jose's on Wave Street in Monterey tonight, as Mnemonic Device, Pride Subject, Thirty9 Fingers and Razorhoof crank it up to eleven. 9pm, $5.


It's the final day of the Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival. Attend Cowboy Church at 9am with plenty of live musical performances and buy goodies at the Christmas Art and Gear Show starting at 10am. Check out "Hot Coffee and a Campfire" at 10:15am, hosted by poet Waddie Mitchell and featuring musical performances by J Parson, Hot Club of Cowtown, and Belinda Gail & Curly Musgrave; and "O Brothers! Where Art Thou?" at 1:00pm, hosted by poet Jess Howard and featuring poet Pat Richardson and musical performances by the Gillette Brothers and Sons of the San Joaquin. Tickets available at the door.


Still searching for something to keep you out of trouble? Check out the Monterey County Weekly for more ideas.