Cool on the Coast: August means Dog Days of Summer, arts, music

A roundup of events in Encinitas, Carlsbad, Del Mar and Oceanside

Summertime family surfing. (Photo by Filios Sazeides, Unsplash)

Summertime family surfing. (Photo by Filios Sazeides, Unsplash)

Michele Leivas

August may be the beginning of the end of summer, but summer fun is far from over. The days are still long, the sun is still warm and there are still plenty of fun to be had in North County. If the beach isn’t your scene or you’re tired of your usual spots, check out some of these community events going on in your neighborhoods. There’s lots to choose from, whether you’re looking for a family event or a one-of-a-kind date night.

Friday, Aug. 4, 5-9 p.m. — First Friday Oceanside Art Walk: The first Friday of every month, downtown Oceanside hosts its First Friday Art Walk — an evening where the city comes “alive with vibrant arts, performances, music, poetry, activities, food, and fun for all ages, all free.” If you’re looking for a fun (and free) evening out, full of culture, art and entertainment, this is definitely an event to put on your calendar. Click for more information on the event.

Saturday, Aug. 5, 10:30-11:30 a.m. — Sounds from the Sea: An Instrument Building Workshop: This hourlong workshop hosted by Carlsbad’s Museum of Making Music allows children (ages 7 and up) to explore nature and build musical instruments at the same time. Teaching the class is composer Cheryl Leonard, who has constructed her own instruments using a variety of sources, including “glass shards and pinecones, glaciers, box spring mattresses, a flock of accordions, circular saw blades, viola, the erhu, hyenas and whales and elk.” Registration is available online and is $20 per student. All students must be accompanied by an adult. To learn more about the class or to sign up, visit

Sunday, Aug. 6, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. — Family Day: Climate Solutions: Kids can get their Sherlock on during this free workshop at the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Through arts and crafts and hands-on exhibits, children will learn about the causes and impacts of climate change and how we can help stop it. At the end of the day, kids will have a greater appreciation for the delicate balance of the natural world around us — and they’ll even earn a Junior Ranger Badge. For more information, go to

Saturday, Aug. 12, 4-7 p.m. — Artists Reception at Off Track Gallery: Off Track Gallery and the Encinitas Friends of the Arts organization invite the public to come celebrate three promising art students from MiraCosta College, who will be presented with cash prizes during a small ceremony this evening. Their original artwork will be on display and guests can enjoy refreshments while perusing all the gallery’s art, including pieces created by these talented young artists. Admission to the event is free — and if you decide to take home a piece you simply cannot live without, all artwork that day is 10 percent off. For more information, go to

Sunday, Aug. 13, noon-6 p.m. — Cardiff Dog Days of Summer: Your four-legged family member is welcome at this free event at Encinitas Community Park (next to Houlihan Dog Park). The event is co-hosted by Cardiff 101 Main Street and the City of Encinitas and is in its 12 year of existence. According to its website, “This FREE event features over 200 dog-related vendors and rescue groups, pet adoptions, live music, dog contests, kids’ activities, beer & wine garden, food trucks and more!” Dog owners can also register their pup for one of the six categories of talent/pageant shows held during the event, including “Cutest Puppy, Best Looking Big Dog, Best Looking Small Dog, Best Trick, Best Dressed and Dog/Owner Look-A-Like.” More details about the event can be found at

Saturday, Aug. 12, 8-10 a.m. — Donuts Day at Del Mar Racetrack: What better way to kick off your Saturday than free coffee, juice and donuts and a behind-the-scenes peek at the world of thoroughbred racing. This event is family friendly and kids’ activities include face painting, a meet and greet with the Del Mar Mascot Pony Boy and free prizes for the little ones. It will be held in the Seaside Terrace area; guests should park in the main parking lot off Jimmy Durante and mention Donut Days. Free trams will be running to bring you directly to the event. For more information, go to

Sunday, Aug. 13, 1:30-4:30 p.m. — Kathy O’Fallon Poetry Workshop: Aspiring poets will want to mark this date on their calendar for a three-hour workshop at Carlsbad’s Georgina Cole Library with poet Kathy O’Fallon, where they “will explore what their own individual spark brings to the originality of their poetry.” O’Fallon is a published poet whose work has appeared in several literary journals, anthologies and magazines. This workshop is free, but advance registration is required. To register, call 760-602-2400 ext. 8149; leave a message with your name and telephone number.

Monday, Aug. 14, 5-8 p.m. — Food Truck Monday: Mondays don’t always have to be a drag. Bring a couple beach chairs and check out the third annual Food Truck Monday at Lou’s Records in Leucadia. Sample bites from four different food trucks (Dang Brothers Pizza, Mastiff Sausage Company, Frida’s Cocina and SnoCal Shaved Ice) while enjoying live music and craft brews from Culture Brewing Company — plus that warm, fuzzy feeling knowing it’s all for helping an animal in need: All proceeds from the evening will be donated to HANA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping animals in need. Admission to the event is free, although donations are appreciated. For more information about the event and the organization it’s supporting, go to

Saturday, Aug. 19, 8 p.m. — West Coast Funnies! presents Cathy Ladman: There’s no better way to kick off a weekend than a night of stand-up comedy. Oceanside’s Sunshine Brooks Theater is welcoming actress and comedienne Cathy Ladman for a one-night engagement in her West Coast Funnies! debut. Ladman has starred in hit television and cable shows including “Mad Men,” “Pretty Little Liars” and “The Tonight Show.” The evening is for guests ages 18 and up. Tickets are available online and range between $20 and $25. For event information and ticket purchases, visit

Friday, Aug. 25, 10:30-11:30 a.m. — Farm Animal Friday: The last Friday of every month, the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum hosts its Farm Animal Friday. Children get to meet some farm animals, read stories and do an art project to go along with each month’s theme. This month’s theme is “What sound do birds make? Discover different types of birds and what makes them unique!” Farm Animal Friday is free with admission, which is $8 per person (12 months and under are free; military families enjoy a discounted price of $5 per person). For more information about the museum or its programs, visit

Friday, Aug. 25 to Sunday, Aug. 27 — Carlsbad Music Festival: Come check out the Carlsbad Music Festival, which has been touted as “one of the area’s most innovative music showcases” (KPBS) and “magnificently enlightening” (Los Angeles Times). The 12th annual event will showcase more than 60 performers in a combination of free and ticketed shows over the course of the three-day festival. Food trucks and a beer garden will be available as well. More information on the event, including daily lineups and ticket purchases, is available at

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