San Diego’s top weekend events for Aug. 4-8: Toro Nagashi festival, ArtWalk and more

The Floating Lamp is a type of lamp that floats on the surface of the water.
(chuck/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Here are the top events happening in San Diego from Thursday, Aug. 4 to Sunday, August 8.


Concert at the garden

The San Diego Botanic Garden hosts Billy Lee and the JukeTones on Thursday during its special extended summer hours. Bring the kids to enjoy this concert on the Gazebo Lawn. Pack a towel or small blanket to sit on; folding chairs not allowed unless needed for ADA accommodation. Food from on-site vendors is available for pre-order online. 6-8 p.m. Thursday. San Diego Botanic Garden, 300 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas. Free with admission; $18 adult, $12 military, senior, student, $10 youth (10-17), free for age 3 and younger. Reserve admission tickets early via the online reservation system.

“Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic”

Fenix Theatre Collective presents Matt Cox’s off-Broadway comedy inspired by author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series. It’s the story of a group of nerdy, unpopular students in the “Puff” house at Hogwarts wizardry school witnessing Potter’s rise from the sidelines. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through Aug. 13. 10th Ave. Arts Center, 930 Tenth Ave., San Diego. $35. (619) 768-3821.

John Tufts, left, Ruibo Qian, Kate Abbruzzese and Nathan Darrow in the Old Globe's "Dial M for Murder."
John Tufts, left, Ruibo Qian, Kate Abbruzzese and Nathan Darrow in the Old Globe’s “Dial M for Murder.”
(Courtesy of Jim Cox)

“Dial M for Murder”

The Old Globe presents the world premiere of Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Frederick Knott’s 1952 thriller about a tennis pro plotting to having his wealthy wife killed so he can keep her fortune. 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays. 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Through Aug. 28. Sheryl & Harvey White Theatre, The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, San Diego. $30 and up. (619) 234-5623.

The Plot adds music series

Oceanside’s plant-based restaurant The Plot had introduced a summer live music series from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday nights. The free performances take place in the Plot’s fenced-in garden patio just behind the restaurant. 1733 S Coast Highway, Oceanside.


An animated sprite explores an oboe in the multimedia concert and film "Philharmonia Fantastique."
An animated sprite explores an oboe in the multimedia concert and film “Philharmonia Fantastique” at the Rady Shell on Aug. 5.
(San Diego Symphony)

‘Philharmonia Fantastique’ at Rady Shell

“Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of the Orchestra” is a 23-minute multimedia concerto with live music accompanying an animated film featuring a magical sprite exploring symphony instruments. Concert features music by Mason Bates, Leonard Bernstein and Valerie Coleman. 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, 222 Marina Park Way, San Diego. $20 to $95. (619) 235-0804.

Toro Nagashi Festival

This festival of floating lanterns at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park commemorates loved ones and wishes them peace. Starting at 10 a.m. Friday, 100 lanterns will be available for purchase online so that guests can float them in the lower garden stream. First come, first served. Saturday’s lanterns are sold out. The festival will have various performances and guest speakers, in addition to food vendors and a beer and sake garden from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Japanese Friendship Garden, Balboa Park. Admission $12 adults (18-plus), $10 students, military and seniors 965-plus), free for children 6 years and younger.

Opera Neo Summer Opera Festival

San Diego’s Opera Neo returns to in-person performances with two productions this month. This weekend, in a co-production with Hungarian State Opera, the company presents Mozart’s “La finta giardiniera” (“The Pretend Gardener”), featuring singers from Hungary and the United States and scenery designed by director András Almási-Tóth. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Bread and Salt, 1955 Julian Ave, San Diego. $28-$75 ($10, students). (858) 888-2231.

SummerFest: A Weekend in Paris

Three concerts of works by mostly French composers will be presented this weekend at La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest. “The Salon and Masquerade” features works by Debussy, Chopin, Caplet, Ravel and Sarasate, at 7:30 p.m. Friday. “Le Conservatoire” features works by Debussy, Boulanger, Franck, Messiaen and Fauré, 7:30 p.m. Saturday. “Beg, Borrow and Steal” features works by Couperin, Milhaud, Saint-Saëns, Schumann and Ravel, 3 p.m. Sunday. Baker-Baum Concert Hall, Conrad Prebys Fine Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla. $48-$98. (858) 459-3728.

Outdoor Music Series and grand opening

Brazilian-influenced Afrozilian headlines Friday’s show at Carruth Cellars in the Arts District at Liberty Station. Wander and explore while enjoying the outdoor performance. Carruth Cellars also celebrates its grand opening Saturday and Sunday at this new location with musical performances, special food, photo booth, cheese demo, art exhibits and more. On Saturday, harpist Chiara Capobianco performs from 1-4 p.m. and Italian/international cover band St Cats Band plays from 5-8 p.m. The duo Perfect Blend perform from 4-7 p.m. Sunday. Outdoor Music Series, 5-8 p.m. first Fridays through October. Carruth Cellars, 2710 Historic Decatur 17, San Diego. Free.

Bryan Banville (left) as Nigel Bottom and Cameron Bond-Sczempka as Nick Bottom
Bryan Banville (left) as Nigel Bottom and Cameron Bond-Sczempka as Nick Bottom in Moonlight’s production of “Something Rotten!”
(Courtesy photo by Rich Soublet II)

‘Something Rotten!’

Moonlight Stage Productions presents the final performances of this musical comedy about two brothers in 1590s England who come up with the idea to write a musical to compete against the vain and ultra-successful William Shakespeare. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Moonlight Amphitheatre, Brengle Terrace Park, 1250 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista. $8 to $56. (760) 724-2110.

“Head Over Heels”

San Diego Junior Theatre presents this 2015 Elizabethan-themed jukebox musical comedy featuring songs by the ‘80s all-girl rock band, the Go-Go’s. Based on the 17th-century play “The Arcadia” by Philip Sidney, it’s about a royal family who embark on an epic journey to save their female-centric kingdom from an oracle’s prophecy of doom. 7 p.m. Fridays. 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through Aug. 14. Casa del Prado Theatre, 1650 El Prado, #208, Balboa Park, San Diego. $16-$18. (619) 239-8355 or visit


ArtWalk @ Liberty Station

It’s the 17th year for this two-day art and entertainment event in San Diego’s Arts District at Liberty Station. You’ll find art for sale from more than 150 artists from both sides of the border and several states, including paintings, photography, glass and ceramic, jewelry and sculpture. Food, beverages and live entertainment, too. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Ingram Plaza, 2571 Dewey Road, San Diego. Free.

Latin American Festival and Mata Ortiz Pottery Market

Old Town San Diego’s Bazaar del Mundo Shops present three days of folk art, food and entertainment Friday through Sunday. More than a dozen Latin American master artisans will be hosting booths with hand-painted Mata Ortiz pottery, traditional embroidered clothing, handwoven textiles, collectibles, jewelry, ceramic and clay pottery and more during this annual event. Neighboring Casa Guadalajara restaurant will sell food, and Latin American folk band TINKU will entertain. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sunday. Bazaar del Mundo, 4133 Taylor St., San Diego. Free.

Tiki Oasis

Tiki Oasis, the world’s largest tiki-themed convention, continues through Sunday. This year’s 21st festival includes tiki drinks, sunset dinners, live music, dancing, educational seminars and a marketplace with cocktails and more than 150 artists and authors. 8:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Town and Country Resort, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego.


Islands marks 40 years

To mark its 40th anniversary, Carlsbad-based Islands Restaurants chain is hosting themed food and drink specials all summer. The Heat Wave Burger, made with grilled serrano and green chiles, pepper jack cheese and spicy mayo, has been brought back for a limited time. A 40th anniversary Islands Summer Blonde Ale is now available on tap. And through Aug. 30, a giveaway program, both in-store and on social media, will feature prizes ranging from a trip to Catalina to Islands beach towels and trucker hats. For locations, visit

North Italia launches “Summer Sips”

Through Sept. 22, North Italia locations are offering bespoke cocktails that are unique to each city. The locations at One Paseo in Del Mar and in Fashion Valley shopping center are serving the Smoky Sunset, a $15 drink made with Banhez mezcal, Fiorente liqueur and lemon, blood orange and pomegranate juices. Customers who order the drink with a “speakeasy” password posted on North Italia’s Instagram page will be able to take two Polaroid pictures of themselves with their drink for an in-house promotion.

Side Bar pours high-flying cocktails

Side Bar nightclub in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, has introduced five cocktails inspired by summer travel season. Portofino Affair, an Italianate mix of gin, lime Lambrusco wine and mint syrup; Coco Beach Club, a Mexican-inspired tequila cocktail with lime and blood orange juices; Tanlines in Aruba, an Instagram-worthy tiki drink with rum, coconut cream and crème de banana; St. Tropez Spa Day, with botanical vodka, cucumber basil syrup, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and chamomile bitters; and Kiss Me in Rio, an Aperol-based drink with dragonfruit and lemon. 536 Market St., San Diego.