The Memphis Speed Kings are one the jazz bands scheduled to play at the festival. Photo from the band's Facebook page
The Memphis Speed Kings are one the jazz bands scheduled to play at the festival. Photo by Patrick Rutherford from the band’s Facebook page

If you like your Thanksgiving turkey with a beat, “the crown jewel of jazz festivals” takes place through Sunday at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center.

The 37th annual San Diego Jazz Festival attracts visitors from around the world with a mix of traditional jazz, dixieland, ragtime, swing and rockabilly presented in large concert rooms with double dance floors and small, intimate listening rooms.

Over 30 bands and artists will perform, with most scheduled on Friday and Saturday. The festival kicked off Wednesday evening, continues with a live-jazz Champagne buffet on Thanksgiving day, then has music scheduled for more than 12 hours each day Friday through Sunday.

Tickets are available at the door and range from $50 on the busiest days to $110 for the entire five-day festival. The event is sponsored by America’s Finest City Dixieland Jazz Society.

Run for the Hungry on Thanksgiving

Get your Thanksgiving day exercise before the big feast by participating in Jewish Family Service of San Diego‘s annual Run for the Hungry. All profits from this race are donated to the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and hunger-relief programs operated by JFS. The 10K begins at 7 a.m. and the 5K at 8:15 a.m., which is late enough to join even if you don’t decide until Thursday morning. You can run or walk, and dogs are welcome. Registration is available online.

Julian Country Christmas and Tree Lighting

San Diego County’s favorite mountain town celebrates an old-fashioned Christmas and tree lighting on Saturday. Festivities begin at 1 p.m. in downtown Julian and culminate with a tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. and Santa’s arrival on a firetruck. You can stroll the town’s picturesque streets, shop in its boutiques and craft stores. and listen to carolers. Activities for children include candle dipping, rustic ornament making, cider pressing and tasting, a holiday hayride, a petting zoo and tomahawk throwing.

Seaport Village’s Surfin’ Santa eyes the San Diego waterfront.

Surfin’ Santa Visits Seaport Village

Santa is a long way from the North Pole when he visits San Diego, and he dons boardshorts and a Hawaiian shirt for his annual visit to Seaport Village. After a waterfront arrival at 1 p.m. on Saturday, visitors can pose for free photos with Santa on his giant surfboard and six-foot wave until 5 p.m. A festive parade along the boardwalk, kids crafting activities, live street performances and a variety of unique local shops and eateries will keep visitors entertained throughout the holiday event. The event is free, and parking is $4 with validation.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.