Classic cars are gathered, the sounds of bells fill the air, love potions are for sale and the New York Philharmonic is set to perform. Just a typical summer weekend in Santa Barbara.

Vintage vehicles

Saturday’s “Groovin’ in the Grove” car show not only features classic automobiles, it also showcases delightfully restored vintage travel trailers, antique motorcycles, military transport vehicles and even a Hughes Aircraft helicopter from the Vietnam War era.

In all, more than 120 vintage vehicles will be on view from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Elks Lodge. Ernie and the Emperors, a local rock 'n' roll band, perform until 2 p.m., when the awards are announced. Best of all, admission is free. Groovy! (150 N. Kellogg Ave., Goleta;

Carillon recital

Storke Tower, rising 175 feet above the UCSB campus, contains a carillon, or bell organ, consisting of 61 individual bells ranging in weight from 18 pounds to 2.5 tons and spanning five octaves. During daylight hours, the bells mark the hours with lovely melodies; the instrument is also played before graduation ceremonies.

What a treat to hear it performed live, as it will be on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. in a free concert, featuring carillonist David Christensen from UC Riverside. Bring a blanket or beach chairs and sit on the grass near the base of the tower. A TV screen will show the carillonist performing. Can’t make it? On Aug. 13, UCSB’s own carillonist, Margo Halsted, will present a 1 p.m. recital, also free. (

Love Potion No.?

Get tips on free stuff and fun ideas delivered weekly to your inbox

Young Nemorino loves Adina, but he’s poor and she’s rich and has no interest in him. He resorts to buying a love potion, or elixir, from a shady traveling salesman. Will it do the trick? Find out at Gaetano Donizetti’s opera “Elixir of Love” (“L’elisir d’Amore”) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Granada Theatre, presented by the uber-talented, preprofessional musicians attending the Music Academy of the West.

Don’t be daunted because it is opera! Donizetti’s music is easy on the ears, English supertitles make it easy to follow the action, and tickets starting at $40 are easy on the pocketbook.

The Academy’s Summer Festival is in full swing with many other options this weekend, including a free Community Concert on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Central Library. Visit for a full calendar.

70th anniversary

The New York Philharmonic performs Monday at 6 p.m. as part of the Music Academy’s 70th anniversary celebration in what is being billed as “the largest classical music event in Santa Barbara history.” More than 7,000 music lovers will fill Santa Barbara City College’s La Playa Stadium to hear this great orchestra perform Beethoven’s towering Symphony No. 9, culminating with the triumphant “Ode to Joy” and a fireworks display over the Pacific. Tickets are $10, general admission, bleacher seating. Young people aged 7 to 17 are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. (

Julia McHugh can be reached at