Normally when you drink outside in Old Town, a cop or a concerned friend up and takes your paper bag away. Not this weekend — at least not at the F Street Beer Festival ($5, 21 and over, or 14 and under with an adult). The Local, Humboldt Beer Works and the Humboldt Bay Tourism Center are taking over the lot across from the bar and turning it into an outdoor beer garden.
Shall we begin with the beer? The Local has gathered 14 specialties from around the county, plus selected sours, ciders and other drinks too good to pour on the ground for your homies. Humboldt Beer Works is putting on a home brewing demo for those of you who are thinking about taking the plunge, and local meisters will face off in an Iron Brewer challenge, the fruits of which will be tasted at Strange Brew next month.
You can sustain yourself from the ridiculously named Grumpy Goat Wingery and the Wandering Weenie Wagon. Regret skipping Oyster Fest out of spite? Shuck the pain away with Taste Fresh Oysters. You're going to need your energy for the cornhole competition and life-sized Jenga tournament.
Are you not entertained? Ginger Grae, Humboldt Firkin Tappers, Companion Animal, River Valley Mud, Plumb Uglies and Guilty Apple are all slated to rock the stage while you sip suds and watch Dmise, Luke Thornton and Duane Flatmo whip up some live art. Grab a souvenir for yourself and your designated driver on the way out — Eureka Jams will be on hand to screen print the shirt on your back. Way better than drinking out of that paper bag.
Right now, a small, grumpy and unpleasantly practical cluster of synapses in your brain is thinking about skipping the North Country Fair this year. It's too crowded, parking is crazy and we have errands to do, it whines. Don't listen. Your brain is not in possession of all the facts.
For one thing, Saturday kicks off the 40th annual fair, so the Same Old People are blowing it up. The vendor list tops 200, including arts and crafts, clothing and tasty food. You have to eat, right? Sure, you could pick up groceries like you do every other weekend, or you could get your leafy greens at the farmers market just off the plaza and turn this thing into a party. Exotic festival stalls trump tragic supermarket pizza.
Stay for the Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir at 11:30 a.m. and the Samba parade at 1 p.m. with Samba da Alegria — the BeDazzled and feathered drumming and dancing troupe that turns Arcata into sunny Rio. You can run home and do yard work right after that. Or you could stay for the baker's dozen of music and dance acts on three stages — Grateful Dead tunes, soul, rock, marimbas and belly dancing.
Oh, you have a thing you can't get out of on Saturday? Fine. Sunday is your second chance. Swap in the All Species Parade at 1 p.m. (all species, but no dogs — go figure) with masked members of our community letting their freak flags fly. Really, couldn't your banner use a little waving? Spread out a blanket and settle in for another three stages of all-day dancers and music. It's good for the brain.
1:00 Samba Parade with Samba da Alegria
8am-2pm Farmers Market, I St. across from Co-Op
8th & G Sts Stage
11:30 Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir
2:00 The Miracle Show
3:15 Sierra Rose Band
4:45 Soul Power
9th & H St. Stage
10:30 Mon Petit Chou
11:45 Josephine Johnson
2:00 Fire Sign
3:15 Lizzy & the Moonbeams
4:30 Lost Coast Marimbas
10:30 John Hardin
12:00 Redwood Coast Soo Bahk Do
3:00 Humboldt Rockers
3:45 Ya Habibi Dance Company
4:00 Redwood Rings
1:00 All Species Parade in memory of Tim McKay
8th & G St. Stage
10:30 Black Sage
12:00 Vintage Rock & Roll
3:30 Silver Hammer
4:45 Triple Junction
9th & H St. Stage
10:30 Twisted Thistle
11:45 La Musique Diabolique
4:30 Bayou Swamis
10:30 John Hardin
12:00 Hoaloha Pumehana
2:00 Tribal Oasis Belly Dance
3:00 Zumba with Marla Joy
4:00 Bogglebang Closing Ceremony
Cleveland will be in the house when game show host and improve impresario Drew Carey stands up at the Van Duzer Friday night at 8 p.m. ($45 or $15 for HSU students).
In the years since Whose Line is it Anyway? and The Drew Carey Show, he's trimmed down and lost the high-and-tight, but he's still funny as ever on the fly. If you haven't seen his classic improv comedy show, you need to YouTube it now. He's also taken unscripted comedy to the next level with green screens and bravely come out as a soccer fan.
Carey's everyman-Ohio vibe is downright exotic in these parts, and he is master of a kind of upbeat self-deprecation that might only grow in the Midwest. In an example of perfect casting, he's been working the wheel over at The Price is Right ever since Bob Barker retired in 2007, cracking up contestants (and himself) on occasion. Just don't expect him to be quite so wholesome in his stand-up act. (See The Aristocrats.)
And don't forget to have your pets spayed or neutered.