Can you feel it? A refreshing sharpness to the breeze, a satisfying crunch underfoot when you’re walking through the park, a desire to snuggle up with a hot spiced beverage? It’s finally fall, which means that some of the year’s most highly-anticipated events are already underway, with no signs of slowing down! Autumn often delivers the best weather of the year to Santa Cruz County, but also marks the back-to-school season, so hotels are offering some sweet deals due to fewer crowds! Visit Santa Cruz is celebrating fall by giving away mini vacations and tickets to exciting events for all ages and interests. Follow us on Facebook to enter the Fall Festival Fridays’ weekly mini-Santa Cruz vacation contests with hotel stays and more, and our Instagram for event ticket giveaways throughout the season!
Don’t wait to enter the Let’s Cruz Events Vacation Giveaway — a Grand Prize of a two-night stay at the Seascape Beach Resort with a bonfire on the beach and s’mores, four passes to Annieglass Craftbar Experience, four tickets to ride the steam train at Roaring Camp Railroads, $150 gift certificate to the Picnic Basket/Penny Ice Creamery, and a Santa Cruz goodie bag! Start planning your fall Santa Cruz escape NOW so you can catch these signature events:
Open Studios Art Tour
October 6 – 7, 13 – 14, 20 – 21, 2018
Explore the hidden world of art! Visit artists in their studios, learn about their processes, purchase original works of art. Mobile app and printed guide have artist information and maps.
Location: Various locations, Santa Cruz County
Phone: 831-475-9600; www.artscouncilsc.org
Monte Foundation Fireworks Extravaganza
October 7, 2018
A wonderful family event featuring entertainment and a fireworks display. 8pm.
Location: Capitola Wharf, Capitola
Phone: 831-685-3317; www.monte-foundation.com
Thomas and Percy’s Halloween Party ™
October 13 – 14, October 20 – 21, October 27 – 28, 2018
Announcing the tour’s most exciting year ever as hit entertainment debuts talking Thomas the Tank Engine and Thomas’ best friend Percy! Dress up for Halloween with favorites Thomas and Percy, for a 20-minute train ride, entertainment, and fun-filled activities for the entire family. Check website for specific times.
Location: Roaring Camp Railroads, 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton
Phone: 831-335-4484; www.roaringcamp.com
Welcome Back Monarchs Day
October 14, 2018
Join California State Parks in welcoming the Monarchs back to Natural Bridges State Park, their over-wintering habitat. Arts and crafts, active games for kids, music by the 5M’s (The Mostly Mediocre Musical Monarch Mariposas), hand-cranked ‘Monarch’ ice cream (pumpkin flavored), and information on how to create your own butterfly garden. Hosted by Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, and California State Parks.
Location: Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz
Phone: 831-423-4609; www.thatsmypark.org
The Missing Arm of William Waddell
October 20, 2018
History takes a tall tale twist as the saga of this early pioneer unfolds. The silly, slightly haunting tours around the redwood loop trail. Featuring music, storytelling and “Ranger Apples” around the campfire. All participants must register at Park Headquarters (registration opens at 6:30pm). Free.
Location: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, 21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek
Phone: 831-338-8883; www.parks.ca.gov
Chili Cook-Off at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
October 27, 2018
Bring your appetite and join the fun as both professional and amateur chefs compete! 10am – 4pm, Tasting starts at 1pm.
Location: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz
Phone: 831-423-5590; www.beachboardwalk.com
Santa Cruz Sea Glass and Ocean Art Festival
November 3 – 4, 2018
Featuring genuine sea glass and artist-made creations while benefiting our local marine environment. Held in the historic Cocoanut Grove Ballroom at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 10am – 5pm each day. The festival features artists, a free raffle, great food, full cash bar and more.
Location: Cocoanut Grove, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz
Phone: 831-332-7188; https://www.facebook.com/SantaCruzSeaGlassFestival
Santa Cruz Mountains Wine Passport Program
November 17, 2018
Your chance to visit wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains not normally open to the public. Taste wine and have a great time. Check website for times.
Location: Various Wineries, Santa Cruz Mountains
Phone: 831-685-VINE; www.scmwa.com
Ice Skating at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
November 17, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Skate to your heart’s content as you usher in the holidays and New Year! Check website for details and times.
Location: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz
Phone: 831-423-5590; www.beachboardwalk.com
Capitola’s Surfin’ Santa
November 24, 2018
Santa and his reindeer surf into Capitola Beach. Bring your Christmas list to review with Santa. Candy Canes for everyone! Event is free and is at noon.
Location: Capitola Beach, Capitola Village
Phone: 831-475-6522; www.capitolasoquelchamber.com
Thank you to our 2018 Fall Festival Series sponsors, Annieglass, Beach Street Inn & Suites, Best Western Seacliff Inn, Brookdale Lodge, Capitola Hotel, Dream Inn Santa Cruz, Pajaro Dunes Resort, Seascape Beach Resort.