Del Mar Racetrack-Grandstand- Under The Lights
How about a race by the sea on a cool summer’s night? Try it at the Del Mar Racetrack. Photo courtesy of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

It’s summer and one hallmark of the San Diego season is ready to pop out of the gate. 

Yep, the ponies hit Del Mar Racetrack Friday and the first day’s festivities are sold out, but you have the rest of the weekend, and then until Sept. 6, to be part of the action. Racing takes place Tuesdays through Sundays. Reserved and box seats start at $16, while tables for four begin at $102.

San Diego Pride continues Friday with the Pride of Hillcrest Block Party, at 2 p.m., and the annual Spirit of Stonewall Rally, at 6 p.m., both at the Hillcrest Pride Flag on University Avenue. The block party takes place Saturday too. Pride events wrap up Sunday.

Want to see some of the world’s best musicians? The 2021 iPalpiti Festival continues its is 20th season of performances by prize-winning young musicians. Highlights include two firsts – the orchestra’s appearance at the Prebys Performing Arts Center and the West Coast premiere of the violin concerto “Seascapes.” The festival hosts two shows Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Encinitas Library, 540 Cornish Drive. The arts center show takes place at 3 p.m. Sunday, for $39 admission; $25 gets you into the library shows.

Whitney Shay dropped her album “Stand Up” last year. Why’s she hosting the release party this weekend? Pandemic, y’all. In the spirit of “better late than never,” go enjoy the San Diego Music Awards nominee for Album of the Year at 8 p.m. Friday downtown at the Music Box. Tickets cost $15 in advance, and $20 at the door. 

The first North Park Book Fair showcases family-owned businesses, including stores in Del Mar and North Park, and independent presses. The free event, hosted by Verbatim Books and North Park Main Street, includes live talks by local authors, poetry readings, an open mic, and craft and food vendors. Find it on 30th Street and North Park Way at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Prefer a food fest? Nothing says summer more than big, fat, juicy watermelons. Eat your fill at the Watermelon Weekend Festival, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Mellano Farm Stand in Oceanside. Enjoy food trucks, tractor rides and live music too. The event continues Sunday.

The Little Italy Association partners with Cinema Little Italy each year to show Italian films at the Amici Park Amphitheater on Date and State streets. The Little Italy Summer Film Festival returns at 8 p.m. Saturday and continues through Sept. 18.  Admission is a $10 donation. First up: the 2014 comedy Smetto Quando Voglio. All films will be subtitled if you find your Italian’s gone a bit rusty.

The Olympics are almost here, but it you just can’t wait, seek out the California State Games, in which 10,000 athletes face off in two dozen sports. From Friday to Sunday, competitions include archery, track, wrestling, ice hockey, diving. Host venues include Chula Vista, Carlsbad, Poway, University City and Rancho Bernardo.