Stop wondering what you're doing this Saturday, drop a few dollars in your pocket and roll out to the Mattole Grange, July 23 for the 27th annual Roll on the Mattole from noon to midnight ($25, $20 students/seniors, free for kids 12 and under with an adult). The Roll is a full day in the sun with friends, food and firefighting bad-assery. In a word, hot.
The fun starts at noon with music by the Bluff Creek Boys, and the beat goes on all day with performances from Mehael Kavanaugh, Lost Coast Marimbas, Black Star Safari, Non-Prophets, Vidagua and Stevie Culture. Boogie and mingle with the good-vibed crowd, check out the local craft vendor booths, enjoy beer and barbecue, and watch the kids romp in the Kid's Zone.
Things heat up from 4 to 6 p.m. with the Wildland Firefighter Challenge, where crews from the Honeydew, Petrolia, Whale Gulch and Telegraph Ridge volunteer fire companies/departments compete in drills (in full firefighting gear) for the sought-after "trophy." This is tough work. And, did we mention, it's hot? After the challenge, there's an auction raffle and more music and dancing.
The HVFC is 100-percent volunteer run and a nonprofit, so the money raised at the Roll allows it to keep doing what it does — protecting and serving the four neighborhoods of Wilder Ridge, Panther Gap, Windy Nip and Honeydew. So come on out, have a great time and support your local firefighters.
Every fourth weekend in July, Fortuna transforms into a city of nostalgia as hundreds of hot rods, classic cars and auto aficionados fill its streets, park and venues. Gear up, gear heads. The 26th annual Fortuna Redwood AutoXpo — three days glass-packed full of cars, cruises and old-fashioned fun — is here July 22 through 24.
Trip the chrome fantastic at Friday night's cruise down Main Street from 6 to 8 p.m. Then, head over to the Sock Hop at 8 p.m. at the River Lodge ($5). Peruse the Antiques Show at Veterans Hall on Friday and Saturday and the Artisans Faire Friday through Sunday at Rohner Park. Or ogle fender skirts and fadeaways at the Judged Car Show at Rohner Park Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and at the Show & Shine/Vintage & Exotic (non-judged) show Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Fortuna High School parking lot. Trophies for both shows will be awarded at 10 a.m. Sunday in Rohner Park.
The Hit-and-Miss Antique Engine Gas Up and Antique Tractors and Farm Equipment (for fans of the old-oldies) happen at Rohner Park on Saturday and Sunday, and there's Antique Tractor Pull action Saturday and Sunday over at the Rodeo Grounds. Find that hard-to-locate part at the Swap Meet & Car Corral Friday through Sunday at Rohner Park, and try your luck at the Poker Run starting at Fortuna High on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Admission to all events is free (except for the Sock Hop). See redwoodautoxpo.org for a full schedule of events.
Sometimes big things happen here in quiet ways. For instance, did you know that former chair of the National Endowment of the Arts and California's current Poet Laureate Dana Gioia will read poetry and lecture on July 18 at 7 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Eureka (free)? Now you do. He'll be joined by James McCubbrey of Eureka High School, Humboldt County's Poetry Out Loud champion.
Pokémon isn't the only thing kids like that starts with "P." The Eureka Symphony's Peter and the Wolf is back at Dell'Arte's Carlo Theatre, July 17 at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (free, first-come first-serve basis), with the popular "Instrument Petting Zoo" at 10 a.m. at the amphitheater. Kids can touch and hear instruments before the show, then hear them "come alive" in the performance.
We love our clowns in Humboldt. They're artsy and political. Funny and serious. Schooled in Commedia dell'Arte, our clowns entertain us while elevating our consciousness. And so it is with our neighboring clowns. When these characters come to town, we go to hear their message, too.
The San Francisco Mime Troupe brings its current show, Schooled, to the Mateel Community Center on Saturday, July 16 at 8 p.m. ($22, $20 members). The original musical comedy by the Tony-award-winning group explores relevant issues of race, economics and politics.
Wanting to change the deplorable conditions at her son's new school, a mother challenges the status quo that puts up with outdated textbooks, crumbling classrooms and the racist treatment of kids like hers. She meets resistance in the form of the long-serving, fairly myopic history/civics/American government/basketball coach at the school (we've all had one of these, right?); an "efficiency expert" with Wall Street ties and potentially sinister plans; and the school board with its agenda.
What will become of the school and its students? Can public education in the U.S. find a way to put students first? The talented performers of the San Francisco Mime Troupe tackle these questions and more. It's socially relevant theater of the highest professional quality with plenty of laughs to wash it down. Doors open at 7 p.m. with Mime Troupe band at 7:30 and curtain at 8.
All that glitters is not gold? Really now, Mr. Shakespeare. We know you knew a thing or two about drag. And, as you like it, so do we.
Get ready, loyal subjects. Royalty reigns at the Bayside Grange this Saturday, July 16 when kings, queens and in-betweens take to the stage at Humboldt's Inaugural Drag Pageant at 9 p.m. ($10). We've had drag shows here before, but this is the first time gender illusionist beauties and baddies will strut their stuff in stilettos and scruff to determine who sashays away with the title of Ms. Drag Queen Humboldt and Mr. Drag King Humboldt.
Competing kings and queens, including April Shower, Mr. Mustachio, Hugh Johnson and Annie Hart, will duke it out in Formal Wear, Talent and Q&A rounds under the scrutiny of the judges: The Ninja from KISS FM, former (but forever) Rutabaga Queen Monica Topping, Debi Farber Bush and Queer Humboldt's Todd Larsen.
The evening's emcees, Jamie Bondage and Anita Lemonparty, keep things hilarious or disciplined – depending on what's needed – and DJs Anya and Joe-E provide tunes for the evening. Proceeds from the event go to PFLAG, Humboldt Pride, and Out and Proud in Humboldt Productions. The event is 18 and up with beer and mixed drinks available for 21+.
Summer Arts and Music Festival is over and Reggae isn't here yet. Maintain your SoHum summer music high with the Northern Nights Music Festival, happening July 15-17 at Cooks Valley Campground (see www.northernnights.org for ticket prices). Enjoy three days of fun, four stages of DJs and live bands, a river to float down, tall trees to look up at, vendors, food and more.
It's time to get a little mud on the tires. And boots. And faces. And ... ATV helmets? Oh yeah. That's how it rips in the Eel Valley in the summer. Grab your hats and shine your buckles, it's time for the 95th annual Fortuna Rodeo, July 11-17.
The fun begins Monday, July 11 with a chili cook-off and live music on Main Street at 5 p.m. (free to taste while the tastin's good) and continues Tuesday with children's games at the Redwood Village Shopping Center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (free) and a hang-on-to-your-hat carnival Wednesday through Sunday starting at noon at Rohner Park ($25 wristband). On Wednesday, catch the Junior Rodeo at 5 p.m. at the Rodeo Grounds ($3, $1 kids) and street games starting at 6 p.m. on Main Street (free). The next go-round takes place Thursday with fireman's games on Main Street at 6:30 p.m. (free) and more junior rodeo action starting at 9 a.m. ($3, $1 kids), with barrel races in the evening at 7 p.m.
Quad barrel racing, a diesel truck tug of war and more tire spinning happens Friday at Friday Night Motorsports, 7 p.m. at the rodeo grounds ($7). Saturday, enjoy a pancake breakfast ($6, $4), the parade down Main Street at noon and rodeo thrills at 2 p.m. ($8, $5). In the evening, it's Bulls, Broncs, Bands & Brews at the rodeo grounds with music by Chad Bushnell at 7 p.m. and bull riding at 8 p.m. ($7)
Sunday spurs on the good times with the Fortuna Rodeo Run/Walk at 9 a.m. on Main Street followed by a barbecue and live music at Rohner Park at 11 a.m. ($15). All the rodeo action bucks to life one more time at 1:30 p.m. ($8, $5) at the rodeo grounds.
Take the kids to the Sand Sculpture Festival at the Manila Dunes Recreation Area, Saturday July 9 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (best viewing time is noon to 2 p.m.) to watch teams build castles in the sand and other tightly packed marvels. It's free to watch and donations to support Friends of the Dunes education and conservation programs are appreciated.