Thursday, April 14, 2016

Take A Trip! The 35th Annual Steinbeck Festival Is Coming Up!

The 35th Annual Steinbeck Festival: “From Salinas to Sea of Cortez: Steinbeck on Land and Sea”

The Steinbeck Festival is back! The National Steinbeck Center, at One Main Street, Salinas, offers a weekend of “JON talks,” new films and tours, a Home Beer Fest on Saturday, as well as dinners Friday at the NSC and Saturday at the nearby Steinbeck House. Sunday features a slate of teacher workshops at the NSC.

The three-day Festival celebrates Steinbeck’s land/sea ethic and his enduring legacy as writer, activist, and ecologist.

Friday night’s keynote speaker is Kyle Van Houtan, the newly appointed Director of Science at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  He will discuss “The sea turtle populations of Hawaii—linking ocean, land and culture.” John Steinbeck brought a sea turtle back from Baja…

This year’s Festival features films and crowd-pleasing “JON talks,” half hour discussions of Steinbeck’s enduring legacy as well as local history. Director Susan Shillinglaw kicks off at 9:00 AM Friday with remarks about Steinbeck’s sense of place—why has Steinbeck Country become a magnet for visitors around the world? Friday morning speakers also include biographer William Souder (author of Rachel Carson and John James Audobon biographies), who will introduced his work-in-progress, a Steinbeck biography. Stanford English Department Chair Gavin Jones considers Steinbeck, land, drought and race. A round table discussion follows. Afternoon speakers consider the cultural impact of braceros in the Salinas Valley, as well as Filipinos newspapers and Japanese Flower growers.

Tours on Friday include the Red Pony Ranch and Salinas’s Main Street.

Saturday features talks on Steinbeck and the sea, with speakers on Ricketts, the restoration of The Western Flyer, and citizen science. After morning sessions, participants can stroll Main Street’s Home Beer Festival, sponsored by the Steinbeck Rotary (one beer garden is at the NSC!).  That afternoon, “JON talks” include making surfboards from Steinbeck themed wood and “Craft Beer 101” (Steinbeck once appeared in an ad for Balantine Ale.)

Sunday’s teacher workshop  theme is “crossing boundaries” and panelists will discuss integrated lessons: jazz, teaching the common good, and Japanese internment.

A three-day Festival pass is $75 (excluding dinners and tours). Tickets are available online at

May 6th - 8th
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
National Steinbeck Center
One Main Street
Salinas, CA 93901

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