Is Fortuna too far south? Northerners, head to Orick for the 55th annual Orick Rodeo happening Saturday, July 9 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, July 10 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Orick Rodeo Grounds. Catch mutton bustin', calf ropin', steer ridin' and other events you can shorten with an apostrophe like eatin', drankin' and perusin' the vendors ($9, $5 for kids ages 6-12, free for kids 5 and under).
The 38th annual Humboldt Folklife Festival, July 9-16, is a week-long celebration of local live music against the backdrop of beautiful Blue Lake. Officially part of Dell'Arte's Mad River Festival and presented by the Humboldt Folklife Society, the event strings together an assemblage of the area's finest folk, bluegrass and country musicians for nightly performances, two all-day festivals and a high-stepping barn dance.
The fun starts Saturday, July 9 at Mad River Brewing Company with the Festival Kick-off party featuring live music by the Bayou Swamis and The Trouble, 6 p.m. (free). On Sunday, gather the family for all-day fun during Annie & Mary Day at Perigot Park from noon to 5 p.m. (free). Monday's Kids' Carnival takes place under the Dell'Arte Big Top Tent starting at 6 p.m. (free for kids 12 and under).
Evening musical performances hosted by Dell'Arte fill out the week starting with Songwriters Night on Tuesday, July 12 at the Carlo Theatre at 7:30 p.m. ($8, $6 members), Country Night on Wednesday, July 13 in the Rooney Amphitheatre at 6 p.m. ($10, free for kids under 12), and Bluegrass Night on Thursday, July 14 at the Rooney Amphitheatre at 6 p.m. ($10, free kids under 12). Things get swingin' at the Barn Dance Friday, July 15 at Arcata Veteran's Hall at 7 p.m. ($7), and wind up with the All Day Free Festival on Saturday, July 16 at Dell'Arte boasts two stages of music, workshops, a kid's activity tent, food and so much fun in the sun. And, if you find you still haven't had your fill, there's more live music every night at 9 p.m. at the Logger Bar (free). Whew. Put a folk it in it.
Looking for a reason to wear your Stormtrooper helmet in public? Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens plays twice at the Arcata Theatre Lounge: Friday July 8 at 8 p.m. and Sunday July 10 at 6 p.m. ($5). Both showings include a costume contest with prizes held before the film.
In the 1950s, with the Red Scare and alarming advances in technology, American brains were going nuclear. It was a time of us versus them, fear of the unknown, mind control and invasion. Americans needed escape and a place to sort it all out — like the movies. The Classic Film Series at the Eureka Main Library in July explores science fiction films of the 1950s with introductions and discussion by local film buffs on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. (free).
Starting off the series is the 1954 behemoth Godzilla showing July 5. The towering monster with deadly halitosis was an obvious metaphor for the evils of atomic power. Host Jennifer Fumiko Cahill of the Journal has more on that for you. Next up is 1951's The Thing (From Another World), playing July 12 and hosted by Charity Grella. Keeping the cold in the Cold War, this flick about an enigmatic alien life form discovered at the North Pole ends with the chilling warning, "Keep watching the skies!"
More terrifying plant life from outer space descends with Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), hosted by Bob Doran and showing July 19. With its identity loss, paranoia and nuclear fallout fears, this flower power feature has Kevin McCarthy screaming to tone-deaf masses, "They're after you! They're after all of us! Our wives, our children, everyone!" And finally, the giant radioactive ant monsters that Jan Ostrom introduces in Them! (1954) July 26 (free) illustrate again that nuclear power can really ruin your picnic.
Fourth of July 2016
Everything's better over a plate of hot, delicious food, isn't it? Strangers become friends around the table. Barriers melt away like pats of butter on warm, squares of golden cornbread. Breaking bread is a healing act and definitely what the world needs now. Join the Eureka Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) at the 46th annual Charles Washington Soul Food Dinner on Saturday, June 25, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Eureka Women's Club ($20, $10 for kids under 12). Fill your belly and warm your spirit with a plate of traditional soul food: fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, black eyed peas, cornbread and candied yams. They're not fooling around. Thankfully, DJ L Boogie of KHUM will bring the beats so you can shake some of it off before dessert.
The event was named in honor of the late Charles Washington, an early leader in the local NAACP branch, which was founded in 1952. Donations from the dinner help the local branch further the mission of the NAACP, which is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. Sounds damn good to us.
The season of the fair — with fried-food smells, swirling rides and blue-ribbon goods — is here. The Best of Humboldt Fair, the first of the summer, spins its Ferris wheel high in the sky and welcomes families through the gates at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds June 23 through June 26 for four days of arts, entertainment, agriculture and more ($12 adults, $5 seniors and kids 6 to 12, free for active military and kids under 6).
There's something for everyone this year, from the NASCAR Experience to the quilt and flower show to the Exceptional Rodeo to local products and animals large and small in the livestock barn. Family entertainment includes big top circus fun with juggling, stilt walking and clowning around courtesy of the Jest in Time Circus. Nature Joe's back with his furry and feathered Animal Exhibit, and if you dare, take A Walk on the Wild Side for critters with a bigger bite. Steve the Pretty Good Magician has a few scarves up his sleeve and Karen Quest, recently at Mad River Festival, performs whip-crackin' cow girl tricks. Kids wearing the coveted carnival wristband ($30) can ride all the rides their little corn dog and cotton candy-filled stomachs can handle. And, of course, no fair would be complete without food, food, food and lots of live music.
Arcata Oyster Festival 2016
Consider the virtues of our local celebrities: Cultivating oysters improves our oceans and its flora and fauna. Their ground shells boost your victory garden. They produce the preferred jewelry of Audrey Hepburn. Without a central nervous system, oysters are likely feeling no more pain than you after those festival drink tokens are spent. The little shuckers are also plump with omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and protein. And unlike that righteously austere plate of zoodles, they taste marvelous.
Lucky for us we live in a hotbed of oyster beds. Revel in your good fortune on Saturday, June 18, at the 26th annual Arcata Oyster Festival from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (free entry). An army of vendors will be shelling out bivalve delights from shooters to tacos, as well as land-locked goodies, beer and wine (taps open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., so plan your queue-up and sober ride).
Between the noon oyster calling contest, the Shuck and Swallow race at 2 p.m. and Fred Oystaire's announcement of the Best Raw, Best Cooked and Best Non-oyster winners at 3:45 p.m., there'll be a bevy of musical acts. DJ Stir-fry Willie, The Honky Tonk Detours, Absynth Quartet, Naïve Melodies and Dynasty One are all taking turns on the stage. Kids can hit the FLUPSY, or oyster nursery area, for pint-sized entertainment like puppetry, balloon animals, free ice cream and more. Shells, yeah.