Dipper turns the big 9-0

The Giant Dipper, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's famous wooden roller coaster, will celebrate its 90th anniversary this Saturday, May 17, with freebies and fun for all you coaster fanatics. There will be free rides on the coaster from 10 to 11 a.m. that day, and the first 500 paid riders starting at 11 a.m. will receive a Giant Dipper 90th anniversary pin.

The events coincide with the Boardwalk's season kickoff. You can watch a preview of the Street Drum Corps' new summer show, "Lost at Sea," at 1 p.m. and catch a free concert by Y&T at 5:30 p.m.

On May 18, check out Eat Drink Play for our annual theme-park roundup. We'll be covering what's coming up this summer at all the big parks in California.

Jump, I say!

Thanks to Mark Twain, the jumping frogs of Calaveras County have been famous since 1893. And this year's contestants are stretching their slimy back legs in preparation for this year's Jumping Frog Jubilee.

It's all part of the Calaveras County Fair, California's oldest, which starts Thursday, May 15, and features rodeo events, cowboy poetry, livestock shows and daily frog jumps -- all leading up to the froggie finals on May 18.

Want to jump a frog? You don't even have to bring your own; the fair will loan you a bullfrog when you arrive and sign up. Details: www.gocalaveras.com.

-- Linda Zavoral, Staff