2nd Friday of the Month: Artisan Food Market at Food Lounge
The Santa Cruz Food Lounge has been a major hub for Santa Cruz’s emerging pop-up food culture. Every second Friday of the month, the Food Lounge comes alive with the Artisan Food Market. Pop in for a signature cocktail, wine, beer or cider after work, buy some artisan gifts for the foodies in your life, and have some dinner or take it to go. The Artisan Food Market also includes live music and locally made jewelry and crafts.
Info: 4-8 p.m. Second Friday of the month. Santa Cruz Food Lounge, 1001 Center St., Suite One, Santa Cruz.
May 28: Westside Market Pop-Up Breakfast
Pan-griddled walnut-vanilla bean French toast. Grilled wild salmon filet brioche with farm egg and greens. Drooling yet? Grab your own plate and silverware, that’s only the first few items off this year’s Pop-Up Breakfast menu on May 28. Four monthly breakfast events at the Westside and Scotts Valley markets where local chefs fuse sensational medleys of simple cuisine with seasonal ingredients from farms represented at the market. Each breakfast connects locals to farmers, chefs to landscapes, and healthy stomachs to happy hearts.
Info: 9:30 a.m., Saturday, May 28. Westside Farmers Market, Western Drive and Mission Street, Santa Cruz. santacruzfarmersmarket.org. 831-325-4294. $37.
June 8: FoodShed Project Farmers Markets Pop-Ups
If all schools combined learning with food incentives, we might have a whole new generation of engaged students, albeit well-rounded ones (healthy incentives only, of course!). The FoodShed Project is doing it all with its community education and outreach programs at Santa Cruz farmers markets. Free and family friendly, they host events at the downtown farmers markets on the second Wednesday of each month between June and September. This year’s menu kicks off with “Pie in the Sky” on June 8 with a focus on local strawberry history and “Cowabunga!” on July 13, with a “you make-it and taste-it” meat demo.
Info: 3 p.m., Wednesday, June 8, Downtown Farmers Market, Center and Lincoln streets, Santa Cruz. santacruzfarmersmarket.org/campaigns/the-food-shed-project. Free.
June 25: 7th Annual Hop N’ Barley Festival
Local craft beer and cider production is booming, and the 7th annual Hop N’ Barley Festival is a joyous two-day celebration of the delicious homegrown libation. On Saturday, June 25, festival goers can choose from 60 local and regional breweries and 10 cider companies in an unlimited tasting from noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 25 presents the Beer Masters Cup, in which amateur and professional home brewers compete for the Best in Show Beer. The festival also runneth over with live music on two stages, food, beer games, and a dog-friendly atmosphere.
Info: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, June 25. Skypark, 361 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley. $5 for Non-tasters, otherwise $40. Children under 10 free. hopnbarley.org.
July 16: Wine Passport days
Here in Santa Cruz, we kind of have the best of everything. Not only has the local craft beer scene exploded, but our wines are nothing to whine about—taste for yourselves with the Wine Passport from the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association. On the third Saturdays of July, November, January, and April, tasters with a passport can steep in the local history of vintners and dive into more than 50 wineries throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Info: Noon-5 p.m., Saturday, July 16. scmwa.com. $55.
Sept. 9-11: Santa Cruz Greek Festival
Didn’t get enough Greek goodness in May? Fear not, the Santa Cruz Greek Festival has got even more to dish out with music by the Spartan Band, authentic food, folk dancing and more. Eat, drink, shop, and dance till you drop with Santa Cruz’s best street festival that will get you saying opa!
Info: Friday-Sunday, Sept. 9-11, Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church, Santa Cruz. livelikeagreek.com. Free.
Sept. 10-11: 34th Annual Capitola Art & Wine Festival
Bask in the Capitola sunshine with eats, arts, and more than 20 wineries from the Santa Cruz mountains. For the little ones there’ll be juice tasting, craft projects and music with MusicalMe and Music Together. Full schedule available online.
Info: Saturday – Sunday, Sept. 10-11, Capitola Village, Capitola. capitolaartandwine.com. Free.
Sept. 14-18: Santa Cruz County Fair
Deep-fried everything. Need we say more?
Info: Sept. 14-18, Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 E Lake Ave., Watsonville. santacruzcountyfair.com. $5-$10.
Sept. 10: Mole & Mariachi Festival
Just because it’s tucked up in the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park’s grounds, out of sight, don’t let the Mole & Mariachi Festival remain out of mind! In its swift ascent to a Santa Cruz summer staple, the festival is a battle among the best in local mole—and it’s stiff competition. Last year’s festival drew nearly 4,000 people and winners included My Mom’s Mole and Mama Marquita’s. A full-on party, the festival boasts a colorful celebration with dancing, music, and mojigangas (giant puppets) and is a benefit for the nonprofit Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks.
Info: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, Santa Cruz Mission Adobe State Historic Park, 144 School St., Santa Cruz. Tasting kits $10.
Sept. 24: 12th Annual Gourmet Grazing on the Green
California cows are known to be happy—so why not join them on the green with some perfect midsummer grazing? Do so in style with a day of fine wine, gourmet grub from local restaurants and live music. Organized by the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group, proceeds benefit local organizations that help individuals with cancer, including Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services and Hospice of Santa Cruz County.
Info: Saturday, Sept. 24, Aptos Village Park, 100 Aptos Creek Road, Aptos. sccbg.org/events.
33rd Annual Hospice Oktoberfest
Dust off the dirndls and lederhosen, Bavaria’s best export is back. The Friends of Hospice present their 33rd annual Oktoberfest with plates and plates of German-inspired grub, music, cash prizes, silent and live auctions and more. Check website for event details and upcoming date.
Info: Date TBA. Scotts Valley Community Center, 360 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley. Hospicesantacruz.org. Free.
Oct. 22: 7th Annual Santa Cruz Boardwalk Chili Cook-Off
Revel in the tastiest of comfort foods with one of the most locally beloved Boardwalk events, the annual Chili Cook-Off. Who will win this year’s competition? You decide. Professional and amateur chefs provide the finest in Amateur Red, Amateur Vegetarian Red, Professional Red, and Professional Vegetarian Red. A portion of the proceeds go to the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center.
Info: Saturday, Oct. 22. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. beachboardwalk.com/chili. Tasting kit $9.
Nov. 10: 12th Annual ‘A Taste of Santa Cruz’
Ever wish you could just sample all of Santa Cruz’s best food options in one place instead of having to trek all over the county to figure it out? You can: what began as a fundraiser to raise funds for low-income first-time home buyers through the Housing Foundation’s Closing Cost Assistance Grant Program, the annual Taste of Santa Cruz event puts it all on the table.
Info: 5:30-9 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 10, Cocoanut Grove, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. $40.