Calling all chefs! Plan ahead for the fourth annual Mole & Mariachi Festival!  

The fourth annual Mole & Mariachi Festival will be Saturday, Sept. 10 and now is the time for chefs — or inspired home cooks — to sign up to compete in the mole cook-off. Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks is also seeking event sponsors, and taking applications for food and art vendors.

The popular cultural festival is held at Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, 144 School St. in Santa Cruz. It features a full day of family-friendly fun, including dance troupes, mariachi bands, kids' crafts, a beer garden, raffle, tours of the Mission Adobe and — of course — the mole tasting. Learn more about how to get involved in this great community event, which benefits Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park programs and ongoing preservation efforts.

New Brighton Summer Concert Series debuts Saturday. 
New Brighton State Beach's free Summer Concert Series begins Saturday evening with a performance by Casual Sax, a swinging saxophone group, and continues weekends through the end of August. 

Upcoming shows include the Aquacats featuring Karl Tallman on June 4, Steve's Jazz Kitchen on June 11 and the Vinny Johnson Band on June 18. The summer concerts also will include Indonesian Gamelan, Hawaiian music and a Polynesian dance group.

Performances are at the Campfire Center in the campground and are open to the public. Saturday's show will be 7:30-8:30 p.m. The shows are free. Parking at New Brighton is $10 and supports the park. 
The beach is in the town of Capitola, just south of Santa Cruz. Take the New Brighton/Park Avenue exit off Highway 1, turn right at bottom of ramp, and left at first stop sign. Follow the road to park gate.
Support Friends! Voting ends soon.
Please show your support for Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks in the voting for New Leaf Community Market's 2016-17 Environtokens donation recipients. 

The program gives customers who bring reusable grocery bags when shopping at New Leaf, a 10-cent Envirotoken to donate to the nonprofit of their choice. Friends is on the ballot for five stores: 

Vote here for Westside Santa Cruz.
Vote here for Felton.
Vote here for Downtown Santa Cruz.  
Vote here for Capitola.
Vote here for Boulder Creek.

Voting is open now! It ends at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, May 31. Thank you for your support! 
Shop the ParkStore during the Downtown Sidewalk Sale. 
The ParkStore team will be on Pacific Avenue, right next to Lulu Carpenter’s, for the Downtown Santa Cruz Sidewalk Sale, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 3-4.

Come by and get a great deal! We’ll have an array of discounted and gently shopworn items, including apparel for adults and kids, educational toys, jewelry and housewares.

March with Friends in the Santa Cruz Pride Parade. 
Join Friends' board members and staff in the 42nd annual Santa Cruz Pride Parade in downtown Santa Cruz on Sunday, June 6. We'll meet at 10 a.m. at Cooper Street and Pacific Avenue to group up for the parade. We'll be handing out special rainbow Friends' stickers as we march with banners. Butterfly wings are encouraged! 
Join Friends to dedicate mural at Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park. 
Friends is excited to celebrate the new mural at Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park. The mural dedication ceremony will be 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 8. Meet at the Mission, 144 School St., for the event, which is open to the public. 

The Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park Community Mural was funded through a generous grant from Arts Council Santa Cruz County and support from Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks in honor of the Adobe Coalition, with additional assistance from California State Parks, the City of Santa Cruz Economic Development City Arts, Rinaldi Tile and Marble, Diamond D Concrete and Kathleen Crocetti.
Historians to present 'Vaquero Heritage Tack Talk' at Castro Adobe. 
Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks will host a Vaquero Heritage Tack Talk led by noted historians Griff Durham and Bruce Haener, 1-4 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at the Castro Adobe, California's newest State Historic Park

Durham and Haener will speak about and share examples of vaquero gear from the mid-1800s, the era of Rancho San Andrés. Durham is an expert on the history of California's saddles and gear of the 1900s vaqueros; Haener is a master craftsman and historian focused on early California bits and spurs. 

The fundraiser event also will include a tour of the new park and refreshments. Cost is $25-$100 (attendees choose the amount of their donation). RSVP by calling 831-429-1840 or email. Castro Adobe State Historic Park is at 184 Old Adobe Road in Watsonville. Carpooling is encouraged; parking is extremely limited. The event is co-sponsored by Vaquero Heritage Times.
Copyright © 2016 Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, All rights reserved.

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