10 festive events to check out this Labor Day weekend


Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial last hurrah of summer, and the Sacramento region is going out with a bang. From a fireworks show to food truck festivals, a comic convention and a chalk art street party, here are 10 festive events where you can celebrate all weekend long.

Journey with The Doobie Brothers

Sept. 2 Journey owned the ’70s and ’80s with a string of hits like “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” “Faithfully,” “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” and “Any Way You Want It,” all of which can be heard in Wheatland this summer, with Arnel Pineda replacing former lead singer Steve Perry. Grammy-winning roots-rock trio The Doobie Brothers will also take the stage with perennial favorites like “Listen to the Music,” “Jesus is Just Alright” and “Black Water” (which spent 17 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart). Guitarist Dave Mason will open the evening with tunes from his decades-long career, including “Feelin’ Alright,” which he wrote as a member of the British rock group Traffic. $29.50-$142. 7 p.m. Toyota Amphitheatre. 2677 Forty Mile Rd. Wheatland. 800-745-3000. livenation.com

Off the Grid

Sept. 2-4 This food truck bonanza offers three different chances to get your fill throughout Labor Day weekend. On Friday night from 5 to 10 p.m., head to the Barn in West Sacramento for live music from First Act and frozen treats like mango sorbet from Luciano’s Scoop, or creative fries (think toppings such as pulled pork with pickles) from Elk Grove’s Street Eatz. Stop for lunch at the Folsom Premium Outlets on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to nab a lobster roll from Rancho Cordova’s Rudy’s on the Roll or a Vietnamese pulled pork sandwich from Elk Grove’s Dojo Burger. Off the Grid goes back to West Sacramento on Sunday with its River Walk rendezvous from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., which will serve up tacos, quesadillas and mulitas from Chando’s Tacos, as well as brunch cocktails from San Francisco’s Rye on the Road, like the Brunch Cup made with vodka, cucumber, ginger and lime. Dates, times and locations vary by event. offthegrid.com


Sept. 2-4 This twice-yearly convention will highlight Asian pop culture fandom through Cosplay contests, K-pop dance battles and visits to Cafe Hoshi (described as a maid-and-butler cafe where the servers perform a song-and-dance show while patrons snack on Japanese pastries and drinks). Expect a slew of celeb appearances, including Linda Larkin (best known as the voice of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin) and Jonathan Freeman (who voiced Jafar in the same film). Also on the ticket are renowned video game designer American McGee and a Power Rangers Turbo cast reunion. $20-$45; $50 for full weekend pass. Hours vary by day. Sacramento Convention Center. 1400 J St. sacanime.com

Sacramento Greek Festival

Sept. 2-4 Head to the Sacramento Convention Center for this big, fat Greek fiesta. Learn traditional Greek dances like the Kalamatiano (a 12-step circle dance where everyone joins hands), or roll up your sleeves for hands-on cooking demonstrations on how to manipulate phyllo dough to make delicious traditional treats like baklava and spanakopita (a flaky pocket stuffed with spinach and cheese). As always, there will be no shortage of Greek foods to feast upon—yearly favorites include moussaka (a layered eggplant and beef dish) and the doughnut-like loukoumades. $5. Hours vary by day. Sacramento Convention Center. 1400 J St. sacramentogreekfestival.com

Hot Jazz Jubilee

Sept. 2-5 It’ll be a hot time with some cool cats at this annual jazz jamboree, which will kick off with a parade featuring brassy big band tunes by the Ophir Prison Band accompanied by ladies and gents in Prohibition-era garb. Nearly 30 musical groups—including Dixieland jazz outfit the Crescent Katz, rockabilly-blues group Todd Morgan & the Emblems, and the all-female boogie woogie trio Sister Swing—will convene in Sacramento for four days of all things jazz. The Moonlight Swing Big Band will get folks on their feet at Saturday night’s dance party. $40-$55 per day. Hours vary by day. Doubletree by Hilton Sacramento. 2001 Point West Way. 813-7665. hotjazzjubilee.com

River Cats

Sept. 2-5 The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd. Join the Sacramento River Cats for their last few home games of the season at Raley Field during Labor Day weekend. Friday night kicks off a four-game series against the Fresno Grizzlies with giveaways of statues of Giants legend Gaylord Perry to the first 3,000 fans through the gate. On Saturday, the team will don red panda jerseys in support of the Sacramento Zoo and the evening will go out with a bang after the ninth inning with a fireworks show. Sunday is Fan Appreciation Night with prizes, pregame player autographs, face painting, balloon artists and a chance for kids to run the bases. The season closes on Monday with a Labor Day barbecue picnic on the field and the opportunity to meet animals from the Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation when the game gets underway. $10-$65. Fri. & Sat. games start at 7:05 p.m. Sun. at 5:05 p.m. Mon. at 1:05 p.m. Raley Field. 400 Ballpark Dr. West Sacramento. 371-4487. sacramento.rivercats.milb.com

Tomato Taste-Off

Sept. 3 See—and taste—red during this event at the Sunrise (Mall) Saturday morning farmers’ market. Sample the best heirloom tomatoes from local and regional farms, like Brandywine and Cherokee Purple varieties, then pick a winner in four categories: most beautiful, sweetest, juiciest and meatiest. Enter your own tomato-based recipe in the salsa competition for a chance to win a farmers’ market gift certificate or goodie basket, and check out the chef demonstration with E.J. Rifkin of Sacramento-based Thoughtful Cuisine. Kids can play beanbag tosses and “pin the stem on the tomato,” and participate in a market-wide scavenger hunt. Free. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Sunrise Mall. 6041 Sunrise Blvd. Citrus Heights. 484-7000. ilovemyfarmersmarket.com

Yolo Brewfest

Sept. 3 Two blocks of Woodland’s Historic Downtown will be cornered off to make room for this jam-beer-ee, which will feature more than 30 breweries, from local faves like Sactown Union, Yolo Brewing and Sudwerk to out-of-town crowd-pleasers like Seattle-based Elysian Brewing Company. Sacramento’s own Element Brass Band will keep things hopping with its signature blend of New Orleans jazz and West Coast hip-hop. A VIP ticket gets beer geeks in an hour early, as well as small bites from area restaurants like Father Paddy’s Irish Pub and Las Brasas Tacos & Salsas. $35 ($45 for VIP ticket; $10 for designated drivers). 3-6 p.m. Main St. Downtown Woodland. yolobrewfest.com

Chalk it Up

Sept. 3-5 Fremont Park will once again be chalk-full of art enthusiasts at this 26th annual festival, which raises money for youth art programs. Local artists will take their talents to the streets to create art out of the 238 sidewalk squares that surround the midtown park. The free three-day festival will also include lessons in painting, sugar-skull crafting, and Tapigami (making small figures out of tape), as well as live music and a beer garden with suds from Sierra Nevada and other breweries. Free. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fremont Park. 16th and Q streets. 213-5059. chalkitup.org

Rainbow Festival

Sept. 4 This annual fest will bring the party to the intersection of 20th and K streets to celebrate Sacramento’s LGBTQ community and raise money for local nonprofits. While folks 21 and over can pop in and out of bars like Badlands, Faces and The Depot, which will all open early for the event, attendees of all ages can visit area restaurants like LowBrau, Mango’s and Azul, and watch live performances from headliner Deborah Cox—an LGBTQ activist and artist whose sultry 1998 song “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here” hit No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts—and Detox, who competed on Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. $10. 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (Entertainment starts at noon.) 20th and K Streets. sacbadlands.com

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