Things are about to get medieval on our grasses.
Shake out your chainmail. Wear some flowers in your hair. And head out to Christie's Ranch and Pumpkin Patch for the Medieval Festival of Courage, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1 and 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ($5, $3 for kids 12 and under). The annual fall fundraiser for Coastal Grove Charter School Parent Organization is a two-day celebration of the harvest with a bustling market, fun games, demonstrations of skill, archery, jousting and more.
On Saturday, bring the kids early to meet the merry minstrels, fairies and knights of the village court for the Enchanted Village Tour from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (the first 200 children receive a special gift). Stick around to watch experts sling arrows during the horseback riding archery shows at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and full-contact jousting by the Knights of Mayhem at 12:30 pm and 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, don't miss the Coastal Grove student performances on the Main Stage at 10 a.m. followed by the children's medieval costume contest at 11:30. The jousting and archery shows are back at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. and 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively, as well as skill tournaments all day throughout the village.
Both days feature arts, crafts and food tents — including local grog from Mad River Brewing, Humboldt Honey Wine, Humboldt Cider and local vintners. All the favorites are back, too: caramel apples, Smokey Dragon Barbecue, bounce houses, boffer pits and fairy makeovers. What's new this year? The pirate ship is an official Pokémon stop – only two days out of the year to catch these particular guys. Also, special pony rides where young Arthurs and Morgaines can sharpen their knight skills on pony back!
Have fun mingling amongst the jousters and jesters, and face the metaphorical dragon, but please leave your dogs (literal) at home.
If you can't keep it together and wait for Halloween (we all have that one friend), throw on some heels and drag the season of Samhain out of the closet Friday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. for Hedwig & the Angry Inch playing at the Eureka Theater ($5). The story about a transgender/genderqueer punk rock singer seeking forgiveness and self-acceptance brings back bawdy, kick-ass glam rock with a message to fill the void left by Bowie's early departure.
Looking for something a little lighter but still a scream? Feed your appetite for high camp horror with 1986's Little Shop of Horrors, showing Saturday, Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. at the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts ($5). This musical about a demanding plant from outer space that lives off the blood/flesh of humans (we all have that plant, too) features a fantastic '50s/'60s Motown and rock soundtrack and sees Steve Martin as a sadistic, leather-clad dentist.
Later on Saturday, dab on a little Neosporin and join the horde of undead at the Humboldt County Courthouse at 5:30 p.m. for Zombie Walk II (free). Drag yourself along the streets of Old Town with this oozing monster squad during Arts Alive! and scare the living daylights out of the living. The best part, ye of the costume cadre? You still have 30 more days of this.
What is this power red pandas have over us? The Sequoia Park Zoo's little family has us wrapped around their striped tails, running out in the middle of the night with flashlights and bamboo when one of them does a runner.
Little runaway Masala is apparently doing well, by the way, in her newly renovated enclosure in Knoxville, Tennessee — no doubt with beefed up security. Meanwhile, Cini (aka The Good One) is still in Eureka, hanging out with her folks, Sumo and Stella Luna.
Yield to their awesome, furry power on International Red Panda Day at the zoo on Sunday, Sept. 25 (free admission). The party starts at noon with a coloring contest, panda mask making, feeding times, trivia and a raffle. The zoo keepers will be on hand with talks about the care and feeding of our adorable, masked overlords and the pandas themselves will do some live painting (far less awkward than when humans do it).
Proceeds from the festivities go to the Red Panda Network, which sounds a little nefarious, frankly, but serves to protect and preserve the species. Want in? Kids can become Red Panda Rangers, which just sounds like they're amassing an army.
So summer is over and you're done with beer fests, right? That's a hard nein. Because on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 11 a.m.to 3 p.m., the green expanse of Rohner Park may as well be the Black Forest for all the Teutonic partying that'll be going on during the fourth annual Oktoberfest (free) benefiting the Fortuna Senior Center. Oh, ja.
Feast on a traditional German meal of brats (the sausages, not Hansel and Gretel), German potatoes and cabbage ($20, $15 advance, kids' meals available). As for beer, your stein runneth over with both German and local brews from which to choose. Come to think of it, can you run with your mug in hand? (Talent comes in all forms and we're not asking how you got good at it.) If so, there's a stein race and barrel races in which entrants use their Wagnerian might to roll kegs.
And what better way to celebrate the birthplace of Angela Merkel and leather shorts than with an open-air "oompah" concert from the tuba-tastic Scotia Band and the Humboldt Accordionaires. In case you've somehow hobbled through life without learning to polka, now is your chance. It could be the next swing dancing, you never know.
North Country Fair 2016 Day 2
North Country Fair 2016 Day One
Minor Theatre Opening
Every third weekend in September, the Arcata Plaza swells as thousands of revelers, families, dancers, artists, musicians, crafters and makers gather for the North Country Fair. This year, the fair falls on Saturday, Sept. 17 and Sunday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (free) and promises all the usual fun by The Same Old People, plus a few new treats.
Arcata's biggest family-friendly party never disappoints, usually taking place under abundant sunshine. This year, there are 170 art and craft vendors, three entertainment stages showcasing 18 local bands, an assortment of local food booths, kids' activities, two parades and a drumline filled with community members. The annual Samba Parade on Saturday at 1 p.m. is led by Samba da Alegria, the hip-shakin', sparkly folks who have brought the tambourine and tight drums for the last 30 years. Sunday's All Species Parade, led by the Arcata Playhouse's large and small creature creations at 1 p.m., is also open to community members. And new this year is the addition of a Wellness Row, offering community health information, tea samples, massage and yoga both days.
The North Country Fair aims to be a zero-waste event. Helping in that endeavor is SCRAP Humboldt and its zero-waste kids' craft zone where kids (of all ages) can create something wild for the All-Species Parade with reused materials. Pitch in and bring your own pint cups for beer and refillable bottles for water.
The Minor Theatre, Arcata's iconic and beloved movie house, is cleaned up, back under local ownership and ready for its close-up.
A decade ago, under corporate rule, the Minor shifted to playing the same blockbusters and mainstream films as everywhere else, and a piece of many an arthouse-film-loving Humboldtian died. The Minor had always been the alternative to the popular crowd — the quiet, creative kid. When its lightbulb-lined marquee announced titles like Mission Impossible III and You, Me and Dupree, those of us who'd fed our indie appetites there for years blinked in disbelief and shuffled off to the local video store.
Resurrected with blood, sweat and new owners Joshua Neff and Merrick McKinlay's "love of local," the Minor Theatre will once again fill the Arcata air with the salty scent of popcorn — this time with swanky seats, local goodies and adult beverages, plus snappy new sound, screen and projection systems. Put on your best black-tie attire for its Grand Reopening and Short Film Festival, Sept. 16-18 ($10). Opening night starts at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, featuring an evening of locally produced short films, a live film scoring of a classic Buster Keaton chase sequence and a recreation of the original opening night photo taken in 1914 (hence the black tie). Also, Neff and McKinlay promise a special "secret cinema screening" at the end of the evening. Intrigue!
Because smaller is better and everyone who's anyone will be there, seating will be limited. Tickets are online at www.minortheatre.com.