Sunday, March 12: International Mariachi Festival
Friday | 10
A celebration in hanami, the Japanese tradition of welcoming spring
Cherry Blossom Festival
This year marks the Japanese Friendship Garden’s 12th annual Cherry Blossom Festival, a celebration in hanami, the Japanese tradition of welcoming spring and appreciating the temporal beauty of nature. Over 30 vendors will offer crafts ranging from handmade goods to kawaii apparel as well as Japanese-style festival foods including okonomiyaki and yakisoba. The Inamori Pavilion hosts a tea garden and beer & sake garden where attendees can sample beverages from vendors such as Sangaria. Each day is filled with performances including taiko, koto, and martial arts demonstrations plus a children’s area offering sustainable crafts and activities, face-painting, and an exhibit by Mari Jarvis, the garden’s resident beekeeper.
The historical tour and pub crawl explores the Gaslamp
Shady Ladies and Hop Heads Tour
The Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation’s newest walking tour hits the streets — and this time, the bars — of the Gaslamp Quarter. Created in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of New Town San Diego, now downtown, the combination historical tour and pub crawl explores the historic area that was once a teeming red-light district known as the “Stingaree.” Learn about the historic buildings and the colorful characters that populated them. Enjoy a drink (or just a seat) at three historic bars that are original to the Gaslamp Quarter.
Planting, habitat restoration, art, and more, all for the San Diego River
River Kids Discovery Days
Join the San Diego River Park Foundation for a two-day celebration of the San Diego River with service projects and outdoor education opportunities for kids, giving them a role in protecting natural resources and creating green spaces. Activities include planting, habitat restoration, art, mountain biking, trail restoration, and animal encounters at multiple locations along the San Diego River.
- Friday, March 10, 2017, 8 p.m.
3615 El Cajon Boulevard,
Brooklyn’s Big Thief
Bringing back the Band, with messy, free-ranging, raw-boned music that sometimes comes with an explicit-language warning, Brooklyn’s Big Thief delivers their Masterpiece to Soda Bar on Friday. Reader rock critic Dave Good breaks down the show in this week’s Of Note.
Saturday | 11
Beer from nearly 100 West Coast craft breweries at the Best Coast Beer Fest
Best Coast Beer Fest
“Taste beer from nearly 100 West Coast craft breweries, enjoy the sweet sounds of local bands, and possibly enjoy a sensible lunch from the food truck alley.” That’s a good way to spend a Saturday, and every ticket supports the charity Cancer for College, helping cancer survivors realize their dream of a college education.
- Saturday, March 11, 2017, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
317 E. Grand Avenue,
Opening reception for the fantastical creatures by Heather McKey
Heather McKey: Natural Beauty
An opening reception for Escondido-based artist Heather McKey with live music, open studios, BK Cellars Wine, and Stone Beer. The exhibition includes 12 new acrylic paintings of fantastical birds, seahorses, and other creatures.
- Saturday, March 11, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
1337 India Street,
$20 - $22
Craig Finn says We All Want the Same Things
The former Hold Steady frontman plays the Music Box behind his new record, We All Want the Same Things, on Saturday. Dryw Keltz has a chat with Finn in this week’s issue about going solo. Post-punk Canada band Japandroids headlines.
Get up close with 10,000 butterflies of all colors and sizes
Each spring the Safari Park’s Hidden Jungle rainforest greenhouse is filled with 10,000 butterflies of all colors and sizes, and guests can walk among them, take photos, and learn different species using a butterfly identification guide. If you wear bright colors, a few might perch on you to take a closer look. Free with park admission, $42 children, $52 adult.
Sunday | 12
- Sunday, March 12, 2017, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
3299 Tidelands Avenue,
Mariachi music and more
International Mariachi Festival
With world-class mariachi music, ballet folklórico, Aztec dance, a beer garden, free family-friendly activities and inflatables, a rock-climbing wall, water sports, an art pavilion, and more. The mariachi program supports youth in their artistic and educational development. Three hundred students from throughout the United States participate in a two-day music conference at the University of San Diego on March 10 and 11 with instruction by renowned mariachi educators. Those participants will also perform at the festival.