Welcome to your weekend, San Diego. Fashion, films and Oktoberfest celebrations aplenty, it’s a great weekend to explore America’s Finest – and maybe most fun – City.
Thursday, Sept. 29
Fashion Week San Diego
Times Vary (Thursday through Sunday); Multiple Locations in La Jolla
Fashion Week San Diego (FWSD) 2016 will bring couture to La Jolla with lots of events throughout the weekend. This includes the “Art & Beauty Behind Fashion” exhibit at Shane Bowden: The Gallery Thursday night, plus high-fashion runway shows at Hotel La Jolla from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, the La Valencia Hotel will host the FWSD 2016 Trunk Show from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., where fashion lovers can shop for designer looks.
San Diego International Film Festival
Times Vary (Sept. 28-Oct. 2), Various Theaters in San Diego
Movie buffs will love this one: the San Diego International Film Festival returns this weekend, with multiple screenings each day at locations like the Geoffrey Theater, Regal Theater and ArcLight Cinemas at UTC. The fest officially begins with an 11 a.m. screening Thursday of “Crossing Bhutan,” a 60-minute film about the last Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom, Bhutan – the only county in the world to use “Gross National Happiness” as its primary yardstick for progress. The film festival will wrap up Sunday with a 7:30 p.m. screening of whichever flick wins the “Best Feature Film” category, to be announced Saturday. Tickets can be purchased for each screening for about $15 per movie, or you can buy a pass for an entire day or several days that includes all screenings.
Big Head Blues Club
7:30 p.m., California Center for the Arts Escondido
An epic blues jam session awaits Friday at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido as Big Head Todd and the Monsters join forces with Mud Morganfield, Billy Branch and Ronnie Baker Brooks for a tribute concert dedicated to music legend Willie Dixon. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online or by calling (800) 988-4253.
Modern Times Beer Dinner
6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Oceana Coastal Kitchen
Oceana Coastal Kitchen (3999 Mission Blvd.) will host an evening of perfectly paired bites and beers at this four-course Modern Times Beer Dinner Thursday. The special menu includes brown sugar-cured Baja scallops paired with Modern Times’ Blazing World Amber, and New York Steak with dried apricot and black peppercorn compote paired perfectly with Modern Times’ Orderville IPA. Reps from the brewery will attend the dinner, too, explaining tasting notes and the process of brewing as attendees enjoy the evening. Tickets are $65 per person, which includes the beer pairings, food and valet parking. Reserve your spot by calling (858) 539-8635.
Friday, Sept. 30
The Art of the Brick
10 a.m., The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
“The Art of the Brick” – a collection of artworks made entirely from LEGO bricks – opens Friday at The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. Visitors can expect a 20-foot-long T-Rex dinosaur skeleton made out of LEGOs, a giant LEGO skull and reimagined, all-LEGO versions of famous art pieces like Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” The exhibit will be open daily at 10 a.m. and on display until Jan. 29, 2017. Tickets cost $29.95 for adults; $24.95 for juniors; $27.95 for seniors. Fleet Science Center members get in for $10.
12 p.m. (Friday through Sunday), Del Mar Fairgrounds
More than 80 exhibitors will bust out their bling for the three-day Gem Faire at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The show runs from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7 for a pass that’s valid all weekend; kids 11 and under get in free.
Back to School Carnival
4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Twin Oaks Elementary School
Twin Oaks Elementary School in San Marcos will host a huge ‘Back to School’ carnival Friday that includes a free concert by Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Greg Douglass (Steve Miller Band, Van Morrison, Eddie Money), performing at 6 p.m. The event, which also helps kick off the school’s fundraising season, will include carnival rides, games, activities, raffles and more live entertainment. Admission is free, and proceeds from rides and food goes right back into the school to help fuel music and arts programs. Organizers expect about 3,000 people to attend.
La Mesa Oktoberfest
4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Sept. 30); 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Oct. 1); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Oct. 2), La Mesa Village
A long-standing tradition in the downtown Village, the 43rd annual La Mesa Oktoberfest returns Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, bringing the ultimate street fair to the East County community. As always, the event will include German beer, German food and German music and dancing aplenty. The Oktoberfest party typically draws about 100,000 revelers to La Mesa Village, as well as 100+ vendors selling their unique goods. Admission is free; bring cash for brews and bites. Also, sporting your lederhosen is not a bad idea: usually, the event includes a German costume contest.
Oktoberfest in El Cajon
Times vary (Sept. 30 to Oct. 2; and Oct. 7-9), 1017 S. Mollison Ave.
Oktoberfest in El Cajon is so nice, it happens twice. The first round of Oktoberfest runs Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 (4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sept. 30; 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Oct. 1; 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 2), and returns the following weekend – Oct. 7-9 – at the same times. Hosted by the German American Societies of San Diego, Inc., this traditional Oktoberfest takes place at 1017 S. Mollison Ave. and will feature authentic German food – think pretzels and ox-on-the-spit here – a beer garden, games and family-friendly activities. Also on the agenda: live “Oom-Pah” music from the Bavarian band, Guggenbach-Buam, straight from Baden-Württemberg, Germany, performing classics like polkas, waltzes and other famous beer-drinking tunes. Raffles, games, crafts and a kids zone round out the fun. Admission is $10 for attendees 21 and up on Sept. 30, Oct. 1, Oct. 7 and Oct. 8; $5 on Oct. 2 and Oct. 9. Active-duty military members and anyone under 21 gets in free.
8 p.m., Humphreys Concerts by the Bay
Stand-up comedian, author, commentator and actress Paula Poundstone will take her show to Humphreys Concerts by the Bay on Shelter Island, bringing laughs to locals. Tickets start at $45.
Champions of Comedy: Matt Iseman
8 p.m., Harrah’s Resort Southern California
Comic Matt Iseman will perform stand-up in the Courtyard at Harrah’s Resort Southern California Friday. The event includes live music, too, at 8 p.m. Iseman takes the stage at 10 p.m. There’s a $10 cover charge for this 21+ event.
Keith Sweat in Concert
7:30 p.m., California Center for the Arts Escondido
R&B legend Keith Sweat, best known for his strings of soulful hits in the 1990s, will perform at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido Friday night. Today, he has his own studio in Atlanta where he practices his passion for discovering new artists. Tickets to Sweat’s concert range from $40 to $85.
Saturday, Oct. 1
Oktoberfest Family Fall Festival in Carlsbad
12 p.m. to 10 p.m., Holiday Park
The longest running Oktoberfest in San Diego’s North County returns to Holiday Park in Carlsbad on Oct. 1. Entertainment includes live music and dancing, costume contests and lots of activities for the kids, including a pumpkin patch, face painting and arts and crafts. Food vendors will sell German-inspired items like pretzels and strudel; a Biergarten will give revelers a perfect place to toast. Buy your ticket ahead of time for $15, which includes a German meal (bratwurst, sausage and other selections), or buy a ticket on the day of the event for $5, without the meal. Kids 10 years old and under get in free.
Double Peak Challenge
7:30 a.m., San Elijo Hills Town Square
Runners, take your marks! At this outdoor celebration, trail runners will start at San Elijo Hills neighborhood Park and start the 1,176-foot ascent to the top of Double Peak’s summit. It’s a challenging outdoor race, but if you’re not up for the full gain, try out a 2-mile course with the whole family. Proceeds benefit the Friends of San Marcos Parks and Recreation and the San Marcos Promise. Tickets start at $15.
Pumpkin Festival Craft Fair
9 a.m., Bates Nut Farm
Start your morning this Saturday with the Lion’s Club Pancake Breakfast at 7 a.m. and, for $6, enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage and coffee. Then it’s off to the craft fair, where more than 80 artisans will have crafts and fine art for sale: everything from fall decorations, candles, toys and more. Don’t forget to grab a ride on the tractor, run through the straw maze or try a pony ride. Admission is free, and parking is $5.
9 a.m., Pacific Beach
More than 50,000 San Diegans will head out to one of Pacific Beach’s most popular annual festivals. Start the morning early on the beach, where attendees will compete in the action sports tournaments, including a two-man Pro-Am volleyball tournament and a surfing competition south of Crystal Pier. Not in the mood for sports? There will be live music on three stages, plus dozens of local vendors will have fine arts and craft displays. Admission is free.
James Adomian at American Comedy Co.
9:30 p.m., American Comedy Co. on 6th Avenue in Downtown San Diego
This Last Comic Standing finalist, known for his many characters of IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! and Adult Swim’s Children’s Hospital, will stop in San Diego Saturday to perform stand up. Tickets start at $18.
8 p.m., Spreckels Theatre
This Mel Brooks musical – based on the 1968 film about a scheming producer and his mousy accountant, who try to produce the biggest flop on Broadway – starts its run at the Spreckels Theatre in downtown San Diego Friday night. Tickets start at $40; the musical runs here through Oct. 9.
Sunday, Oct. 2
10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Mountain Vista Drive and El Camino Real
The 21st annual Encinitas Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest will be held from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 2 at Mountain Vista Drive and El Camino Real. The free event includes a concert from a German-American band, Bavarian dancers and a street fair filled with more than 200 vendors selling crafts and unique goods. There will be activities and rides for the kids, too, plus a parade at noon. A food and refreshment tent will boast authentic Oktoberfest food, including Tarantino Gourmet Sausage dishes, plus beers from national and local breweries. Free parking is available at Flora Vista Elementary School (1690 Wandering Rd.), and a free shuttle service will take attendees directly to the festival.
PurpleStride San Diego
7 a.m., De Anza Cove Park
Join the fight against pancreatic cancer this Sunday by getting up early and running (or walking) in this family-friendly event. The event, presented by Halozyme Therapeutics, helps raise awareness and support for the fight against cancer. Plus, there will be activities for children, entertainment, refreshments and more. A ticket for an adult timed runner starts at $35.
10 a.m., San Diego Convention Center
Planning your 2017 wedding? Stop by the Bridal Bazaar in Downtown San Diego. San Diego’s largest fall bridal show will give you endless ideas and inspiration for your upcoming wedding. Tickets cost $12.
Disney’s The Lion King: on Tour
1 p.m., 6:30 p.m., San Diego Civic Theater
See the Disney classic come alive on stage this weekend in San Diego. The imaginative and creative production spins together stunning visuals and unique storytelling for this Broadway spectacular. Before you go, learn about the local cast members you'll see on stage, and their unlikely path to friendship. Be sure to buy your tickets early for one of the Sunday shows, as limited tickets are available. The show runs in San Diego through early October. Tickets start at $32.50.
7 p.m., La Jolla Playhouse
If you’re looking for a homegrown theater standout to go see this weekend, check out Tiger Style! The show follows star students and siblings Albert and Jennifer Chen, who decide to take a trip from California to China in the face of their failing personal lives and adolescent achievement. Playwright Mike Lew is a La Jolla High graduate who went on to present his plays across the U.S. Tickets start at $20. Don't miss the play, in its last weekend at the Playhouse.