Autumn is in full swing and even though the temperature is cooling down, that doesn’t mean your social life should. There is an abundance of events and activities in Santa Cruz this month, some fall-themed and others not, that you can enjoy with family and friends. We’ve collected a fun variety of plays, festivals and food events that can help you make the most of the beautiful fall season. Pictured: Painting by Shirley Lehner-Rhoades, Open Studios artist in Scotts Valley.
The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild
In the backroom of a Greenwich Village candy story, shopkeeper Mildred Wild escapes to a magical world based on her love of movies and movie magazines. When her family and the glum travails of the "real world" come knocking, she greets each crisis with a hilarious fantasy-scene drawn from her repertoire of beloved films. Let this unlikeliest of heroines enchant you at Mountain Community Theater in Ben Lomond. Play runs from Oct. 2-25. Pictured: Hannah Eckstein as Mildred via Facebook/Mountain-Community-Theater.
Santa Cruz Music Festival
Downtown Santa Cruz
With 130 acts playing on 14 stages in downtown Santa Cruz, the 3rd annual Santa Cruz Music Festival on Saturday, Oct. 10 is back and bigger than ever. New this year is a lecture series, "Santa Cruz Speaks," featuring talks on the "State of Santa Cruz," "Sustainability," "Cannabis," and "Music." Showcasing live music from various genres, including electronic, rock 'n' roll, metal, Celtic, folk, rap, Americana and more, attendees will get to experience a wide range of music -- all in one centrally-located area. Pictured: SCMF show map via Facebook/santacruzmusicfestival.
Open Studios Santa Cruz County
Santa Cruz County
Featuring nearly 300 artists from across the county, the annual Open Studios tour is the only time it is okay for strangers to nose around other people's work spaces. Starting Saturday, Oct. 3rd and running for the first three weekends in October, Open Studios is the lifeblood of many amazing local artists. Go out and show your support and pick up some one-of-a-kind gifts, just in time for the upcoming holidays. This year, Good Times has partnered with the Santa Cruz Arts Council to publish the map and tour guide, for FREE. Click on the link above and get ready to be enthralled by the stunning talent that surrounds us. Pictured: Glass bowls by Cristy Aloysi & Scott Graham (Boulder Creek).
Open Streets Santa Cruz
Westside Santa Cruz
Leave the car at home for this annual pop-up street park on the Westside, from Lighthouse Field to Natural Bridges. On Sunday, Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. you can ride your bike, scooter or skates without fear of passing cars! So bring a picnic, play equipment and listen to live music at this free, family-friendly event. Pictured: Open Streets Santa Cruz via Facebook/OpenStreetsSantaCruzCounty.
Santa Cruz has a surf culture to rival any in the world and that’s why Bethany Hamilton’s visit is so exciting for locals and visitors. The professional surfer is known for surviving a shark attack at age 13 and persevering to win a national title less than a year later. Her story is documented in the film “Soul Surfer,” which will be shown at the Green Hills Conference Center on October 16. Bethany will share her story and answer questions from the audience. VIP package also available. Pictured: Bethany Hamilton via Facebook/SurferBethanyHamilton.
Glow: A Festival of Light
Downtown Santa Cruz
The two-day festival starts with GLOW: Digital Art Night on October 16 and ends with GLOW: Fire Night on October 17. On the first night, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History will light up with glowing dancers, laser magic tricks and interactive digital art. Finishing in a blaze of glory (quite literally), the second night will be held outdoors at Cooper Street and Abbott Square where fire dancers, flame fire art sculptures and radiating music will light up the night. Pictured: The Seven Sisters via flaminglotus.com. Credit: Camera Girl.
Heritage Harvest Festival
Even with pumpkin spiced lattes and pie, it doesn’t feel completely like fall until we go to an autumn harvest festival. A history lesson, craft day and food fair all rolled into one, the Heritage Harvest Festival on October 17 at Wilder Ranch State Park brings old-fashioned fun to life with tractor rides, corn husk doll crafting, apple tasting, and square dancing.
Santa Cruz Chili Cook-off
Santa Cruz Boardwalk
Vegetarian, with beans, or all meat, every family and chef has their top secret chili recipe that they claim is “the best.” The Santa Cruz Chili Cook-Off on October 24 challenges cooks to put their chili where their mouth is—both literally and figuratively—by sampling bowls of stew and proving their kitchen chops. The sixth annual event starts at 9 a.m. Admission is free; tasting kits are $9 each. Pictured: Bowl of chili via beachboardwalk.com/chili.
Downtown Santa Cruz
When Halloween rolls around, Santa Cruz becomes a whimsical playground where nearly anything goes. While the downtown Santa Cruz costume parade is the main attraction, the Freaker’s Ball on October 31 is a unique way for music lovers to commemorate the occasion. Featuring a costume contest, four stages of performances, and chilling surprises, the ball is the place to be for the ghosts and zombies who like to boogie. Catch headliners: Dimond Saints, Thriftworks, Gladkill, The Human Experience.