From Michael Jackson to Cajun/Zydeco, there will be music for varied tastes next week in the East Bay Regional Parks.
Michael Jackson fans will enjoy a free concert Aug. 15 at Contra Loma Regional Park in Antioch, featuring the Jackson tribute band Foreverland. The concert is one in a series of events celebrating the 80th anniversary of the park district's foundation.
Activities start with a program for kids at 5 p.m. Foreverland will play from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to bring a picnic dinner and make an evening out of it. The concert and parking are all free. One advisory: no alcoholic beverages of any kind will be allowed in the park. Contra Loma Regional Park is located at the end of Frederickson Lane off Golf Course Road in Antioch.
At the opposite end of the park district, Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont will host its annual Cajun/Zydeco music festival from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 16. Attractions will include Cajun/Zydeco music, dancing, Southern and Cajun food and specialty vendors. National and local bands will perform and feature Andre Thierry.
Advance tickets to the festival cost $20 for adults ages 16 and older, $5 for children ages 4 through 15. The tickets can be obtained through Aug. 11 at www.ebparksonline.org or call 888-327-2757, option 2. Tickets at the gate cost $24 for adults, $7 for children, and entry is free for ages 3 and under. Parking is free. Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., just north of Highway 84 in Fremont. For general information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2797.
And don't forget the free Concert at the Cove, Crab Cove in Alameda to be specific. It's from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday and features Robin Applewood and The Orange Peels in a battle of the bands. The best parking for the concert is in the Crown Beach lot at the intersection of West Line and Otis Drives. Crab Cove is located at 1252 McKay Ave. off Central Avenue in Alameda. For information, call 510-544-3187.
Nature fun time: As long as we're at Crab Cove, Family Nature Fun Time will explore "ocean potions" in a program from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. And fish-feeding time is from 3 to 3:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday at the center's large aquarium.
Tilden: Dragonflies and damselflies, a couple of insects that have been around for about 300 million years, will be the focus of a free program from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Environmental Education Center in Tilden Nature Area next to Berkeley. Naturalist Anthony Fisher will give a slide show then lead the group on a dragon quest in the nature area. The center is located at the north end of Tilden's Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.
Tuesday Twilight: Las Trampas Regional Wilderness in San Ramon will be the venue for one of the Tuesday Twilight hikes, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. next week. Naturalist Gail Broesder will lead it.
This one is vigorous, designed for ages 10 and older. The breathtaking ascent of Rocky Ridge leads to equally breathtaking views of Mount Diablo and the San Ramon Valley. Meet at the end of Bollinger Canyon Road off Crow Canyon Road in San Ramon. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2233.
STAR Gazing: Stargazers will enjoy an expedition to Brushy Peak near Livermore from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 11, led by naturalist Cat Taylor, to watch the annual Perseid meteor shower. It's a walk of only 1 to 1 miles, but bring a flashlight and something to lie on while stargazing.
The Perseid meteor shower is sometimes spectacular and sometimes a bust, but Brushy Peak is a great park for stargazing and constellation spotting. To get there, exit Interstate 580 at Vasco Road. Immediately north of the interstate, turn onto Northfront Road. In about a mile, turn left onto Laughlin Road. Meet Cat at the parking lot at the end of Laughlin Road.
Big Break: Owls and some other birds regurgitate in pellet form the indigestible parts of their food. The naturalists at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley will host an owl pellet dissection session from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday to find out what the birds have been eating.
And from 9 to 10 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday in August, you can help the naturalists test the Delta water quality to see how it is affecting the environment. Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Main Street in Oakley. Entry is free. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.