It’s that time again; the season for jack-o-lanterns, raking leaves, feasts, gatherings and a bounty of entertainment throughout the North Bay. From Labor Day to Thanksgiving, there are huge music festivals, live theater productions, festive art fairs and much more happening in Sonoma and Napa counties. You can’t do it all, but our annual Fall Arts Guide lays it all out.
Taste of Sonoma
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend’s annual tasting event has all the looks and flavors needed to celebrate the region. Taste of Sonoma once again takes over the lawn at Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center, with thousands of glasses of wines on hand and chefs from around the county. Live music, chef demos, seminars and more round out the premiere event on Saturday, Aug. 31, at Green Music Center, 1801 E Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park. Noon to 4pm. $180. tasteofsonoma.com.
Benefitting Napa Valley food programs, the 27th annual event features tastings from many noted Napa chefs and winemakers, silent and live auctions, and dancing under the stars with the Bobby Joe Russell All-Star Band. Aug. 31. Charles Krug Winery, 2800 Main St, St. Helena. 4pm. $75 and up.handsacrossthevalley.com.
There will be fun and food at Fishstock, the annual fundraiser for the Jenner Community Club. Enjoy chowder tasting, barbecue salmon, offerings from local wineries and breweries, live music, an ice cream parlor, a raffle and more in a day by the sea. Sept. 1. 10398 Hwy. 1, Jenner. 11am–5pm. $5/ kids free. jennercommunitycenter.org.
The revue is back with musicians, dancers, storytellers, performers and clowns keeping audiences on their toes while honoring the traditions of the original Chautauqua events from a hundred years ago. This revue always sells out, so act fast. Sept. 4-7. Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, 15290 Coleman Valley Road, Occidental. Wednesday–Saturday, 7:30pm; children’s matinee, Saturday, 2pm. Evenings, $25 and up; matinee, $10 and up. 707.874.1557.
Broadway Under the Stars Gala Celebration
Transcendence Theatre Company closes out their 2019 season of shows in the winery ruins at Jack London Park with their biggest party of the year, featuring an all-star cast of singers and dancers who will delight audiences of all ages with fresh takes on classic Broadway hits and plenty of surprises. Sept 6-8. Jack London State Park, 2400 London Ranch Rd, Glen Ellen. Pre-show picnic, 5pm; showtime, 7:30pm. transcendencetheatre.org.
Sebastopol Center for the Arts
French attire is encouraged for the themed “Gypsy Jazz” cabaret celebration and fundraiser for the arts center. Highlights include bites from local celebrity chefs Rick Vargas, Josef Keller and Bob Simontacchi, live music by Dgiin, silent and live auctions and more. Sept. 7, 282 S High St., Sebastopol. 5:30pm. $125; after party $65. Sebarts.org.
Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering
Rooted in the ranching and farming tradition, this touring event intersects the cowboy life with music and entertainment. Performers for the evening include Gail Steiger, joined by poet Olivia Romo and songwriter Mike Beck; all of whom embody the history and modern relevance of the cowboy culture. Sept. 7. Lincoln Theater, 100 California Dr, Yountville. 7pm. $20. Lincolntheater.com.
Daily Acts Matter! Rising Up for Climate Change
New music festival hosted by Daily Acts features a lineup of music from Rupa & the April Fishes, the Coffis Brothers, the Highway Poets and others. There will also be presentations from organizations on topics of climate change and sustainability, green technology demos, local craft and food vendors, a kid’s craft area, silent auction and more. Sept. 8 at SOMO Village, 1100 Valley House Dr., Rohnert Park. 1pm to 7pm. $20-$100. Dailyacts.org.
National Heirloom Exposition
Dubbed the “World’s Pure Food Fair,” this massive expo of food providers and enthusiasts brings together chef demos, displays, live music, a giant pumpkin contest, antique tractors and plenty of good food benefiting school gardening education. Sept. 10-12. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. $15–$30; kids free. theheirloomexpo.com.
The popular circus changes things up this year with an evening event that gathers three rings worth of aerialists, sideshow performers, and burlesque, live music from punk icons Gogol Bordello, midway games and beer from Lagunitas and guest brewers on Sept. 14, at Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, Petaluma. Doors open at 4:20pm; show starts at 5pm. $40. 21 and over only. lagunitas.com/beercircus.
Ceres Community Project hosts its largest fundraising gala of the year, with a garden reception, outdoor dining, silent and live auctions and live music. The proceeds from the gala raise funds to bring healing meals to our neighbors in a health crisis, lovingly grown and prepared by teen volunteers. Sept. 14, at Ceres Community Garden behind the O’Reilly Complex, 1003 Gravenstein Highway N., Sebastopol. 5pm to 9pm. $175. Ceresproject.org.
Sonoma Harvest Music Festival
The music lovers at B.R. Cohn Winery team up with the festival aficionados at BottleRock for two weekends of live music, food, wine and communal vibes. The first weekend’s lineup includes Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals and Ms. Lauryn Hill. The following weekend’s headlining performers are Chvrches and Death Cab for Cutie. Sept. 14-15 and Sept. 21-22 at B.R. Cohn Winery, 15000 Sonoma Hwy, Glen Ellen. Tickets are $119 and up. sonomaharvestmusicfestival.com.
Redwood Arts Council
The 40th season of this world-class Chamber Music series again presents the best performers in an intimate space for truly unforgettable concert experiences. The season opens with internationally renowned guitarist Paul Galbraith performing his 8-string “Brahms Guitar” on Sept 14 at Community Church of Sebastopol, 1000 Gravenstein Hwy, Sebastopol. Occidental Center for the Arts, 3850 Doris Murphy Ct, Occidental. Shows begin at 7:30pm. $10-$30, kids with adults are free. redwoodarts.org.
Old Grove Festival
It’s hard to find better acoustics in the heart of the Armstrong Woods than the 1930s-era, open-air Redwood Forest Theater, home of the annual Old Grove Festival. The 14th annual edition of the festival is a two-day affair, with indie-folk bands the Sam Chase & the Untraditional and the T Sisters playing Saturday, and Jay Som and Alex Bleeker (of the band Real Estate) performing Sunday. Bring flashlights, seat cushions and warm clothes. Sept. 14 and 15. Redwood Forest Theater, 17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville. 4:30pm. $45 and up. 707.869.9177.
Bipedal-powered literary event is back for its 24th year. Readings by dozens of regional poets and authors are scattered throughout downtown Petaluma within easy walking distance of each other, with the day kicking off at Hotel Petaluma’s Ballroom and wrapping up at Aqus Cafe. Sept. 15. 11am–8pm. Free. Check website for full list of venues and schedule. petalumapoetrywalk.org.
Fiesta de Independencia
Celebrate Mexico’s independence and Latino Heritage Month with this 10th annual day-long fiesta featuring authentic food, music, games and activities for the entire family. Dance to live mariachi bands and swing at piñatas—and don’t miss out on the salsa contest. Sept. 15. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 1pm to 7pm. Free. 707.546.3600.
Santa Rosa Art
& Antiques Fair
Turn back the clock with a new family friendly fair in the Railroad Square district of downtown Santa Rosa. The fair features arts and crafts from local vendors and artists, antiques and antique appraisers, classic cars, food and drinks and live music. See for yourself on Sept. 15 along the 100 Block of Fourth Street and Depot Park, Santa Rosa. 10am to 4pm. Free. 707.479.3698.
Art for Life 2019
Support Face-to-Face/Sonoma County AIDS Network in their mission to end HIV in the North Bay, and get some fine art, including original paintings, photography, pottery, drawings, sculpture and jewelry, from hundreds of generous donators at this annual auction and party. Sept. 21. Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol. 2–6pm. $50 and up. 707.544.1581.
Napa Valley Aloha Festival
The Manaleo Hawaiian Cultural Foundation hosts this 12th annual event covering two days and including live music and dance from the Hawaiian and Polynesian communities, Hawaiian food, and arts and crafts. Sept. 21-22. Napa Valley Expo, 575 Third St., Napa. Saturday,10am–6pm; Sunday, 10am–4pm. Free (bring a canned food for donation). nvalohafest.org.
Open Studios Napa Valley
Art studios from all stretches of Napa Valley are open for this 32nd annual event, taking place over the last two weekends in September. Self-guided tours feature dozens of diverse artists working in several media. The event is juried, and unlike other open studio tours in the North Bay, the artists run the entire affair. Many of the artists also show their work at Art Gallery Napa Valley, 1307 First St., Napa. The tours run Sept. 21-22 and 28-29. 10am to 5pm. Maps and info at artnv.org.
Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival
One of the oldest and biggest parties in the Sonoma Valley is back for its 122nd year with live music, amazing food, spectacular wines and family activities like the opening night gala, traditional grape stomp, 5K and 12 K races, a light-up parade and more. With a focus on local culture and community, this vintage fest is organized by local volunteers and benefits several Sonoma County nonprofits and projects. Sept. 27-29 at and around Sonoma Plaza, First St. E., Sonoma. valleyofthemoonvintagefestival.com.
Sonoma County Philharmonic
Community-based nonprofit organization celebrates 21 seasons of orchestral performances with some of the biggest names in classical music. First, conductor Norman Gamboa leads the symphony and Bulgarian-born violinist Jassen Todorov, professor at San Francisco State, for a program featuring works from Brahms and Beethoven, Sept. 28-29. Jackson Theater, Sonoma Country Day School, 4400 Day School Place, Santa Rosa. Saturday, 7:30pm; Sunday, 2pm. socophil.org.
Sonoma County Harvest Fair
The 2019 Harvest Fair has undergone some changes, and is now a two-day event focusing on the Grand Tasting event in Grace Pavilion and the World Championship Grape Stomp Competition. Stomp or sip your way though the new fair on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4-5, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. Fri, 4:30-8pm; Sat, noon to 5pm. Tasting tickets, $65-$70; 2-day pass is $120. Harvestfair.org.
Santa Rosa Symphony
Acclaimed symphony’s 92nd season features music director and conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong taking the baton and leading the orchestra in classical concert series beginning with “Unmasking the Stars” Oct. 5-7. Weill Hall at Green Music Center, 1801 E Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park. Times vary, $24 and up. srsymphony.org.
Sonoma County Art Trails
With more than 140 participating artists, this annual tradition offers a self-guided opportunity to explore, engage with and collect an abundance of art directly from artists while peeking into their workspaces. Oct. 12-13 and 19-20. 10am–5pm. Preview exhibit at Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol. Tuesday–Friday, 10am–4pm; Saturday, 1–4pm. Free. sonomacountyarttrails.org.
HenHouse Brewing Company, in collaboration with the Bay Area Brewers Guild, is beyond stoked to introduce a new beer festival that highlights freshness. That means that the more than 100 beers on hand for tasting will all be less than a week old. In addition, the Freshtival boasts live music, delicious food, a gallery of beer art and more. Oct. 12 at SOMO Village, 1100 Valley House Dr., Rohnert Park. 1:30pm to 7pm. $20-$55. 21 and over only. henhousebrewing.com.
Sebastopol Craft Brew Festival
Rotary Club of Sebastopol invites the public to sample the best beers, wine, food and music in this returning fundraiser that’s evolved from a bash to a festival. Oct. 12. Holy Ghost Society, 7960 Mill Station Rd, Sebastopol. 1pm to 4pm. sebsunriserotary.org.
Alexander Valley Film Festival
The fifth annual festival brings a Hollywood flair and an indie sensibility to its programing, and features domestic and international narrative features, documentaries, short films, student films and other community events and screenings. Oct. 17-20, at venues in Cloverdale, Healdsburg and Geyserville. For details and tickets, visit avfilmsociety.org.
Inaugural convention gathers together comic book, toy and fantasy art exhibitors and vendors as well as artists like Tim Bradstreet (The Punisher, Hellblazer) and Brent Anderson (X-Men, Swamp Thing) and other celebrities. Oct. 20 at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country, 170 Railroad St., Santa Rosa. 10am to 5pm. $10; kids 8 and under are free. santarosacomiccon.com.
The North Bay’s top film, food and wine extravaganza returns to Napa Valley with more than a hundred films playing in four towns over the course of five days. Red-carpet screenings, sneak previews, industry panels, gala parties and appearances by many A-list Hollywood actors and filmmakers are only the beginning. Nov. 13-17. Nvff.com.
Warren Miller Film Tour
Warren Miller Entertainment’s annual winter sports film is another exciting globetrotting adventure. This year’s 70th anniversary film, “Warren Miller’s Timeless,” features footage of ski legends in stunning locales. Nov. 20 at Mystic Theatre, 23 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma. 7:30pm. Warrenmiller.com.
Art & Exhibitions
Museum of Sonoma County
“Tierra de Rosas” & “A Way of Life,” dual exhibits feature work from Mexican-born artist and immigration activist Maria de Los Angeles and a group show featuring her artistic connections. Reception, Aug 24. 425 Seventh St, Santa Rosa. 707.579.1500.
Healdsburg Center for the Arts
“Great Outdoors,” see visions and impressions of our world from more than 20 artists, sponsored by Sonoma Land Trust. Reception, Aug. 31 at 5pm. 130 Plaza St, Healdsburg. 5pm. 707.431.1970.
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art
“Bingo,” exhibit tells the story of San Francisco native, Chinese American artist, and community activist Bernice Bing through her art. Reception, Sept. 21, at 551 Broadway, Sonoma. 6pm. $10. 707.939.7862.
Clubs & Venues
& Music Hall
North Bay vocalist Stella Heath leads the Billie Holiday Project on Sept. 7. Locally produced tribute compilation, “The Songs of Hank Williams,” gets a release show with several performers on Sept. 21. Country Roots presents alt-rockers Son Volt on Oct. 21. The Portland Cello Project plays the music of Radiohead and others on Nov. 11. 23 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma. 707.775.6048.
Green Music Center
Anthemic pop singer Andy Grammer performs on Sept. 6. Acclaimed vocalist and pianist Diana Krall comes to town on Sept. 26. Several jazz and funk stars, like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Ivan Neville, appear for the “Take Me to the River” celebration of New Orleans on Oct. 25. Veteran jazz band the Branford Marsalis Quartet spends the evening on Nov. 9. 1801 E Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park. 866.955.6040.
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
Iconic crooner Chris Isaak returns to the North Bay on Sept. 4. Classic rock bands Kansas and Steely Dan appear back-to-back Sept. 13-14. Comedian Demetri Martin shares his wandering mind on Oct. 4. Humorist and author David Sedaris speaks from the heart on Nov. 14. Jason Mraz plays with folk-rock band Raining Jane on Oct. 27. Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs music off their soundtrack for “A Tuba To Cuba” on Nov. 15. 50 Mark West Springs Rd, Santa Rosa. 707.546.3600.
Extended Grateful Dead family member Mark Karan and friends play the café on Sept. 5. Veteran Latin-funk stars Richard Bean & Sapo perform on Sept. 21. Country-rock staples Jeffrey Halford & the Healers release their latest album with a show on Oct. 19. The Peace & Justice Center holds its annual awards ceremony at the café on Nov. 9. 8240 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati. 707.795.7868.
Gundlach Bundschu Winery
Chicago indie-rock duo Whitney plays a Halloween show with costumes and related activities on Oct. 31. Boise, Idaho, underground rock legends Built to Spill performs on Nov. 23. Brooklyn post-punk band DIIV rock out on Dec. 13. 200 Denmark St, Sonoma. 707.938.5277.
Blue Note Napa
Jazz guitar master Al Di Meola performs on Sept 27-29. NorBay-winning reggae band Sol Horizon celebrates the music of Bob Marley on Oct. 4. Dennis Quaid and Jamie James are on hand for the venue’s third birthday party Oct. 25-26. Jazz legends Blood, Sweat & Tears plays Nov. 7-10. 1030 Main St, Napa. 707.880.2300.
David Crosby and his friends spend the evening onstage on Sept. 6. Comedians Ron White and Adam Carolla perform standup Sept. 21-22 and Sept. 27 respectively. Acclaimed rock band Switchfoot and acclaimed bluesman Robert Cray play back-to-back on Sept. 8 and 9. 1350 Third St, Napa. 707.259.0123.
6th Street Playhouse
Housed in the heart of Railroad Square, the popular playhouse continues to present plays and musicals designed to delight and entertain. The season opens with “The Book Club Play,” an endearing comedy is about five book-loving friends Aug. 23-Sept. 15. 52 W Sixth St, Santa Rosa. 707.523.4185.
Dynamic Petaluma theater company presents a season full of musicals and dramatic works. First, beloved musical comedy “Little Shop of Horrors,” runs Aug. 30-Sept. 22. 3333 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma. 707.763.8920.
Spreckels Theatre Company
The semi-professional resident theater company shows an aptitude for producing both critically acclaimed straight plays and show-stopping musicals. First, the new play by acclaimed playwright Jonathan Spector, “Eureka Day,” makes its North Bay premiere Aug. 30-Sept. 22. 5409 Snyder Ln, Rohnert Park. 707.588.3400.
Main Stage West
Intimate and exciting, the season at the Sebastopol theater house starts with the equally hilarious and heartbreaking play “Body Awareness,” running Sept. 6 -22. 104 N Main St, Sebastopol. 707.823.0177.
Lucky Penny Productions
Napa’s theater production house covers a lot of dramatic ground this season, beginning with ‘9 to 5: the Musical,” based on the movie and featuring music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, Sept. 6-22. 1758 Industrial Way, Napa. 707.266.6305.
Left Edge Theatre
Based in the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Left Edge presents another season of imaginative productions that push the envelope on a local level. The season opens with the compelling courtroom drama “Nuts,” running Sept. 6-29. 50 Mark West Springs Rd, Santa Rosa. 707.546.3600.
The players present another year of lively plays that run the gamut of emotions. The classic killer comedy “Arsenic & Old Lace” opens the season Sept. 13-29. 115 North St, Healdsburg. 707.433.6335.
Sonoma Arts Live
The theater company opens their 2019-20 season, themed ‘A Season to Remember,’ with an original musical, “Merman’s Apprentice,” starring Sonoma favorite Dani Innocenti Beem as Ethel Merman, running Sept. 27-Oct. 13. 276 E Napa St, Sonoma. sonomaartslive.org.
SSU Theatre & Dance
Sonoma State University’s dramatic arts department presents several, well, dramatic works this fall. The season opens with the offbeat, funny and surprising “Origin Story,” Oct. 3-11. 1801 E Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park. 707.644.2474.
SRJC Theatre Arts
With the Santa Rosa Junior College’s Burbank Auditorium still under renovations, the theater department makes due and continues to present endearing works, starting with Neil Simon’s classic comedy, “The Good Doctor,” set to be the final show staged in Newman Auditorium, Oct. 4-13. theatrearts.santarosa.edu.