Explore the night sky over a national park

Guests and speakers of the 2015 Dark Sky Festival participate in an evening full of planets, galaxies and star clusters at the Star Party.
Guests and speakers of the 2015 Dark Sky Festival participate in an evening full of planets, galaxies and star clusters at the Star Party. Alison Taggart-Barone

The night sky will be the subject of study at the Sequoia and Kings national parks’ Dark Sky Festival. José Hernández, a NASA astronaut who embarked on the 2009 STS 128 shuttle mission, will be on hand to meet with visitors. People can also view the sun through a special telescope, take in night photography and walk a 2,000-foot scale model of the solar system.

Festival events take place Friday, Aug. 5, through Sunday, Aug. 7, at the Lodgepole campground area in Sequoia National Park and the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park. Admission to all lectures and activities is free. Crystal Cave tour tickets range from $5 to $16 per person.

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Indian Fair Days


What: The Sierra Mono Museum’s Indian Fair Days & Pow Wow celebrates new and old Native American traditions. Enjoy dancing, food, singing, arts and crafts.

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6, and Sunday, Aug. 7

Where: Minarets High School, 45077 North Fork Road

Cost: $5 admission at the gate; children 12 and under get in free


Exploring Portugal


What: Debbie Newton, an English teacher and adventurer who has traveled throughout Portugal, will share her experiences of traveling in the country.

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2

Where: Sacramento Public Library, 2443 Marconi Ave.

Cost: Free admission


Reggae on the River

What: The 32nd annual Reggae on the River is a four-day festival with late-night dancing, on-site camping and dozens of local and international bands.

When: Show times run from 8 a.m. to midnight, Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 4-7

Where: French’s Camp, 657 Highway 101

Cost: $90 for a single-day ticket; $200 for a three-day ticket; $250 for a four-day ticket; $500 Ambassador “VIP” Pass; children under 12 get in for free.


Old Spanish Days


What: The Old Spanish Days Fiesta is one of Santa Barbara’s largest, most beloved celebrations. The 90-year tradition has hosted acts from Shirley Temple to Will Rogers. Take in a parade that features more than 900 horses, a rodeo, historical tours and more.

When: Event times run all day from Wednesday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 7.

Where: Venue locations throughout Santa Barbara

Cost: Ticket prices vary per event and day, ranging from free to $75.


Jazz and Beyond


What: The Carson City Music Festival will host more than 100 musicians in multiple genres at over 60 events.

When: Times vary between Friday, Aug. 5, through Sunday, Aug. 21.

Where: Multiple venues throughout Carson City

Cost: Most events are free. The Saturday, Aug. 13, “Speakeasy Dance Party” costs $20.