The clutch of industrial buildings known lately as Arcata's creamery district is in the midst of a revival. It's an artsy enclave — home to the Arcata Playhouse, Redwood Raks dance studios, Holly Yashi Jewelry and the Kinetic Sculpture Lab, among others — and it's throwing itself a three-day coming out party.
Friday's Elemental night starts at 8 p.m. west of K Street by the old creamery building, and it sounds dreamy. All those lanterns you've seen at the farmers market make their debut alongside huge sculptural lanterns on parade through the streets with stilt walkers and giant puppets. There's a shadow play, salsa dancing, even a choir singing before it wraps up with an outdoor showing of Buster Keaton's silent classic The General with a live score from a five-piece band.
On Saturday starting at 11 a.m., a dozen local bands, including 51 Cards, La Patinas, Bandamonium, Lemon Lemon Cherry and Kingfoot, rock the block with a day of free music (full schedule at creameryfestival.com). Stroll around and check out street performers, craft booths, food vendors, kinetic sculptures and SCRAP Humboldt's kids' area. The Randles, LaBolle and Amirkan trio jazz things up from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. before violinist Jenny Scheinman takes the stage at 8 p.m., followed by sax quartet The Tiptons and guest drummer Scott Amendola ($15, $13 for students). The afterparty is over at the Arcata Playhouse, where Los Angeles troupe Wet the Hippo ($10) is funnin' with some improv and sketch comedy.
Sunday morning at 11 a.m., get the good news from the Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir, followed by the Scotia Band. At 2 p.m., turn the clock back at the Big Top Vaudeville Variety Show — rope tricks, a tap dancing saxophonist (what's with all the sax?) and some Wild West stunts ($10, $7 for kids). Here goes the neighborhood.