Arts & Festivals picks

SN&R writers reveal their summer plans for movie nights and the requisite Shakespeare offerings to making merry at the Crocker Art Museum and, of course, the California State Fair

Roll out of a tent, brush the leaves out of your hair and enjoy the great jams and posi vibes of con brio and other performers at the guitarfish music festival.

Roll out of a tent, brush the leaves out of your hair and enjoy the great jams and posi vibes of con brio and other performers at the guitarfish music festival.

Love, music and mindfulness

Guitarfish Music Festival

Eighty miles northeast of Sac, there’s a music festival in the woods along the Yuba River which asks you to just “Love Everybody,” man. For four days straight. The camping-friendly Guitarfish Music Festival, now on its eighth year, hosts 18 funky, groovy, psyched-out bands, including headliner Con Brio, Pimps of Joytime and Royal Jelly Jive. Sacramento jazz coven Ideateam and the alt-countrymen Dead Winter Carpenters will trek up to perform, too. Aside from great music, the festival features a “Healing Oasis” with 13 professional gurus, flow and yoga classes, mountain biking and hiking along a 17-mile trail called the “Hole in the Ground,” live painting and auctions, a world market filled with hand-crafted clothing and organic foods, a kid’s play area, slacklining, a parade in the woods and a wealth of other mindfulness activities. Tickets are $180 for a four-day pass. The festivals runs Thursday, July 26 through Sunday, July 29. Cisco Grove Campground, 48415 Hampshire Rocks Road in Cisco; M.Z.

Party night at the museum

Crocker Art Museum’s ArtMix

There are few spaces that host an after-work weeknight dance party, social mixer, artist showcase, costume contest and shopping experience. It’s even rarer to see this all happening at a prestigious art museum. On the second Thursday of each month, the Crocker Art Museum bridges the gap between nightlife and the perceived stuffiness of a museum with its popular ArtMix event.

Previously, these parties have featured the likes of burlesque performers, mermaids, snake charmers as well as comedians and acrobats who’ve wowed guests. Whatever the theme, many find it’s a great excuse to dress to the nines. My personal favorite ArtMix? Festivus, hands down—because who doesn’t want to build their own Festivus poles, watch Seinfeld on loop and air their grievances? ArtMix always has hands-on activities (and quirky drink specials) to celebrate the theme of the night. Don’t miss June’s ArtMix | Pride the Musical (June 14) and ArtMix | ¡Viva! (July 12)—a party inspired by the museum’s current Eduardo Carrillo exhibit. ArtMix is free for Crocker members and $10 for non-members. 216 O Street; K.G.

The production of damn yankees from the 2017 broadway at music circus series. don’t miss out on all the action this summer!

photo courtesy music circus

Think global, visit local

7th Annual Elk Grove Multicultural Festival

Do you enjoy trying new food, travel and experiencing diverse cultures but you don’t have overseas plans in your budget? No worries. You can still have an immersive multicultural experience this summer. The 7th Annual Elk Grove Multicultural Festival, put on by the City of Elk Grove and the Multicultural Committee, will allow you to visit other cultures through music, art, food, entertainment and more. This year will feature cultural displays, booths, a craft area for the kids and two stages with music and dance. This free event is a great way to learn about the many diverse cultures and heritages that have come to call the Sacramento Valley home without investing in luggage and travel expenses. The festival takes place Saturday, August 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 9950 Elk Grove-Florin Road in Elk Grove; M.K.

Party with pride

Sacramento Pride Festival

The Sacramento Pride Festival returns Sunday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and kicks off with a march that begins at 3rd and N streets and ends at 10th and N streets. The outdoor LGBTQ celebration aims to promote acceptance and equality through high-energy country, Latin and club music, a dance pavilion to turn up, and a kids’ zone with a bubble station, bounce house, face painting and more. Food trucks, information booths and an art zone sponsored by Altered Egos that celebrates queer youth in arts will also keep the party goin’. $10 per person; children 10 and younger are free. Capitol Mall between 3rd and 7th streets; S.R.

Drama and farce

Davis Shakespeare Festival

The region’s newest professional theater has big summer plans with two ambitious productions that will run in repertory Thursday through Sunday, June 21 through August 5. Mary Stuart is an 1800 German drama about the deadly struggle for the British throne between Mary (Queen of Scots) and Elizabeth (Henry VIII’s daughter); this is based on the 2005 translation, which nabbed seven Tony nominations. This is its first regional production. Veteran Sacramento actor Jamie Jones plays Elizabeth, Bay Area pro Sharon Reitkerk appears as Mary.

That feel when your corset on fleek.

On The Twentieth Century is also on the schedule. This musical is a jaunty farce set on a passenger train in the Roaring ’20s. With book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and music by Cy Coleman, it’s the story of theater folks trying to mount a Broadway show. The musical’s Broadway premiere won five Tony Awards in 1978, but it’s never been presented locally. Bay Area pros Sharon Reitkerk and Christopher Ryan, as well as Sac State soprano Robin Fisher, anchor the cast. Visit the website for a rundown on ticket prices and times. Veterans Memorial Theatre, 203 E 14th Street in Davis; (530) 802-0998,, J.H.

Bright lights, big city musicals

Broadway at Music Circus

For 67 years, the Sacramento Music Circus has been synonymous with summer. In 2003, the company moved from a canvas circus tent into the Wells Fargo Pavilion. This year marks another new development: they’re changing the name to Broadway at Music Circus to better reflect the company’s touring musical talent. For one production, however, they’re keeping at least part of it local. Richard Bay, a world-renowned puppeteer and former Sac State theater professor, will design Audrey, the star of Little Shop of Horrors (August 21-26). Bay will develop four different versions of the growing man-eating plant, from friendly baby houseplant to an evil world threat. The rest of the summer schedule includes Singin’ in the Rain (June 12-17), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (June 26–July 1), Disney’s Newsies (July 10–15), Gypsy (July 24–29) and Mamma Mia! (Aug. 7–12). Check the website for a complete list of times and ticket prices. 1419 H Street; P.R.

Eat some pie

Marysville Peach Festival and Pear Fair

At the Peach Festival and Pear Fair, fruit enthusiasts don’t have to worry about cottony peaches and puckery pears, because these are celebrations of harvest time perfection. At the Marysville Peach Festival, which takes place 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 20-21, sample barbecue peach burgers, deep-fried peaches and, of course, peach cobbler—though maybe not all at once, especially if you plan to visit the amusement rides or test your mettle in the peach pie-eating contest. Live music and general hijinks will keep the party going through Saturday night. Admission and parking are both free. The very next weekend, not to be outdone, the Delta River region’s pear farmers will throw a hoopla with the Pear Fair in Courtland starting at 9 a.m. on Sunday, July 29. This event features separate kid and adult pear pie-eating contests (the divisions are a clear indication they take these things a little more seriously). Plus, don’t miss the crowning of the Pear Queen and King, a parade and impressive feats of youth duck-calling. Admission is free but parking costs $10 per car. Marysville Peach Festival, D Street between First and Seventh in Marysville; Pear Festival, 180 Primasing Avenue in Courtland; T.H.

Whimsy and wizardry

PanGaia Festival

We don’t know what we’re more excited for, the fire-breathing, the pagan belly dancing, or the kilt and corset contest.

photos by matt martin courtesy of pangaia festival

The fourth annual PanGaia Festival fuses elements of Renaissance Faire pageantry with the whimsy of witchcraft and wizardry. Make no mistake, this isn’t Hogwarts—arts, music, crafts, vendors, live music including drums, mandolins and more will be included in this pagan-centric family friendly affair. If you like to dress up, you’re in luck: this year features a kilt and corset contest.

Those 18 and over won’t want to miss PanGaia After Dark, an adult-themed event that will boast a performance by the Midtown Moxies burlesque troupe. Additionally, check out a Dark Side of PanGaia, featuring the music of Pink Floyd. The festival takes place from Saturday, June 9 to Sunday, June 10 on the grounds of the VFW Post Center Township Post 6158. Admission is free, but a portion of the proceeds from vendor fees and donations will benefit the Sacramento Wildlife Center. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the Summer Solstice while supporting a good cause. Check out the website for a complete list of times and events. 8990 Kruitof Way in Fair Oaks; M.K.

High and mighty

High Sierra Music Festival

In its 28 years, the High Sierra Music Festival has grown from 20 bands to 50, changed locations three times and expanded its rootsy musical tent to include the likes of jam bands, newgrass, EDM and jazz. What hasn’t changed: the basic sweetness of this four-day family friendly camping-and-music lovefest held every Fourth of July weekend in the foothills. The after-hours jams and concerts offer a more intimate feel than the big stage shows that go all day, while parades and costume contests keep it fun for everyone in the family (bonus: the Rockin’ Nannies provide certified child care so mom and dad can party like it’s 2009). This year’s headlining acts include Sturgill Simpson, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Grace Potter and String Cheese Incident. Thursday, July 5, through Sunday, July 8; tickets start at $99 for a single day adult pass and $30 for a single day kid pass; four-day packages start at $290 and include camping. 204 Fairground Road in Quincy, T.H.

A State Fair state of mind

California State Fair

It’s not summer in Sacramento without at least one trip to the annual California State Fair, which takes place this year July 13-29. Enthusiasts usually make multiple outings, in fact, because there’s just too much to do in a single day. The usual options include visits to see the livestock and petting zoo (watch out for those feisty goats). You’ll also want to check out arts and crafts from around the state and, of course, eat all the deep-fried food and ride all the rides (hopefully not in that order—oh, your poor, poor stomach). This year’s concert lineup includes Los Lonely Boys, Kool & the Gang, War, Night Ranger and Trace Adkins. There will also be various competitions, including a pie-eating contest (deep breath, you’ve got this, champ). Need a break? Relax at the well-stocked, shady beer and wine garden with some Golden State brews. Finally, don’t forget to swing by the photo booths for a $5 old school memento. Ticket prices vary, but the $49 family pack is a great deal with four admission tickets, four carnival or monorail rides and a one-day parking pass. 1600 Exposition Boulevard; R.L.

A wee bit of fun

Mother Lode Highland Games & Celtic Festival

Whether you want to celebrate your Celtic heritage or simply love all things Irish, Scottish and Welsh, the Mother Lode Highland Games & Celtic Festival should be a prime destination Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10. This year’s lineup includes a living history presentation of a real Highland clan village, plus the usual claymores, tartans, kilts, pipes and traditional dances. The event will also include popular Scottish and Irish foods, as well as whiskey tasting. Plus, don’t miss the Scottish sporting competitions, craft vendors and musical entertainment. Visit the website for a complete rundown of events. 9 a.m.-10 p.m. $15-$25. Amador County Fairgrounds, 18621 Sherwood Street in Plymouth; M.K.