Hot Summer Guide 2018

There’s nothing like a summer in the North Bay, as the warm weather drives folks out of the house to partake in one of the hundreds of community events, festivals, concerts, plays, parties and other activities that cover the region from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This year’s summer schedule includes lots of changes, debuts and special guests, so keep this guide close and get ready to enjoy all the fun the season has to offer.
Charlie Swanson


Concerts at Montgomery Village Santa Rosa’s Montgomery Village Shopping Center offers several music lineups throughout the season. Look for rocking weekend afternoons and Thursday concerts under the stars with bands and performers like Pride & Joy,
Super Diamond, Wonder Bread 5 and others. May 24 through September. 707.545.3844. Full lineup at

6th Street Playhouse Railroad Square’s resident theater company offers several special events and productions this summer in the playhouse’s G.K. Hardt Theatre. A lineup of standup comedy, improvised sketches, magic, music and more come together for the Gentlemen Basterds’ Big-Ass Comedy Variety Show on May 25. The Sound of Music gets a sing-along screening with subtitles so the whole audience can sing “Do-Re-Mi” on June 2–3. Illyria, the modern musical version of Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night, completes 6th Street’s season with hilarity and heart on June 15–July 8.
52 W. Sixth St., Santa Rosa. 707.523.4185.

BottleRock Napa Valley The biggest concert festival to hit Napa has been long sold-out, so hopefully you already got your tickets to see headliners Muse, the Killers and Bruno Mars, and eat the best of Napa Valley food and wine. May 25–27 at the Napa Valley Expo Center. 575 Third St., Napa.

Oysterpalooza Celebrate the bivalve by eating everything oyster, with a heavy bent on the cuisine of New Orleans. There
are also plenty of drinks and
live music from three bands.
May 27 at Rocker Oysterfeller’s. 14415 Hwy. 1, Valley Ford. Noon. $25. 707.876.1983.

Live at Lagunitas Everyone’s favorite Sonoma County brewery has lots of music on tap this summer at its Petaluma amphitheaterette. St. Paul & the Broken Bones are already sold-out for the opening for the series on May 28. Black Roots musician Fantastic Negrito performs June 12. Indie-pop artists Wild Child play on July 31. Songwriter King Tuff sings Aug. 28. Free tickets are limited and go on sale three weeks before each show on the bands’ websites, so set your calendars accordingly. 1280 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma. For the full lineup, visit

Krush Backyard Concerts The summer series turns 25 and continues to reflect the radio’s laidback, community-oriented vibe with a selection of North Bay stars of Americana and beyond. On May 31, Rockabilly Roadhouse will start things off by presenting artists such as Jinx Jones, Derek Irving & His Combo and Hunka Hunka Hula Revue. Other performers this summer include Achilles Wheel and Misner & Smith on June 14, Sol Horizon on July 26 and Wee Willie Walker & the Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra on Aug. 9. 3565 Standish Ave., Santa Rosa. Doors at 5:30pm. Free admission. Get the full schedule at


Goose & Gander Music Series Napa Valley’s wine country public house is the perfect setting to see locals play on the lush patio. The summer series starts in June and continues each Sunday afternoon through September. 1245 Spring St., St. Helena.

Season of Wine & Lavender What began as a daylong celebration is now a two-month season–June 1 through July 31–of tastings, food pairings and tours of lavender-filled fields. Special events include open-air painting sessions and photography safaris, and winemaker seminars elevate the palate at Matanzas Creek Winery. 6097 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa.

Funky Fridays The sixth annual weekly summer series brings popular North Bay bands like Levi Lloyd & Friends (June 1), the Funky Dozen (July 6) and Volker Strifler (Aug. 17) to the gorgeous lawn in front of the historic Hood Mansion, while raising money for Sonoma Valley parks every Friday through Aug. 31, Casa Manana Road, Santa Rosa. Doors at 5:30pm. Show starts at 7pm. $10; kids under 18 are free.

Sonoma County Pride Celebration After nine years in Guerneville, Sonoma County Pride returns to the heart of the county with a parade and festival in downtown Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse Square, anchoring a weekend of festivities. This year’s theme, “Together We Rise,” focuses on supporting people who feel threatened by the actions of the current administration and helping those affected by last October’s fires. The festivities also include a kick-off show at Laugh Cellar featuring actor and standup comedian Alec Mapa, a curated merchant and pub tour, OUTwatch LGBTQI film festival and more, all happening June 1–3 in or around downtown Santa Rosa.

Healdsburg Jazz Festival Sound the trumpets and walk that bass right on up to Healdsburg for the 20th annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival. There are over a dozen concerts scheduled, and this year features Bill Frisell and the Julian Lage Duo, Myron Cohen Quartet, Adam Theis, Lorca Hart Trio and the John Santos Sextet among many others. Concerts take place June 1–10 at various locations in and around Healdsburg. Prices vary. 707.433.4633.

SOMO Concerts Rohnert Park’s grand outdoor venue, the SOMO Village Event Center, once again packs a powerhouse lineup of performers for their seasonal series. Legendary punk-rock
band Social Distortion get things off to a loud start on June 2. The inaugural Rock & Wine Fest mixes heavy hitters Y&T and Dokken with plenty of vino on June 23. California Roots presents the
first of its Rebel Music Series concerts with Reggae stalwarts Toots and the Maytals on July 13, and two primo punk bands,
the Psychedelic Furs and X,
co-headline a show on July 25.
1100 Valley House Drive,
Rohnert Park.

Cotati Cabaret Summer Series The historic building that now houses Congregation Ner Shalom will house performances throughout the season. Grammy Award nominee Barbara Higbie spends an evening with Sonoma County musicians Nancy Vogl and Suzanne Shanbaum on June 2. N.Y.C.-based klezmer sextet Isle of Klezbos plays on July 8, and west Sonoma County–based THUGZ headline the 51st Summer of Love Anniversary Dance Party on
Aug. 18. 85 La Plaza, Cotati. Single show and series tickets available at

Summer Event Series at Farmstead St. Helena’s Long Meadow Ranch and its farm-to-table restaurant Farmstead are gearing up for a summer of guest chefs and live music that perfectly complement the views and dynamic culinary offerings. The Bluegrass-Fed Concert Series takes over the restaurant’s lawn and kicks off with Wisconsin-based progressive country band Horseshoes & Hand Grenades on June 3, followed by Tahoe’s own Dead Winter Carpenters for the July 4 show, with fireworks to follow. Over by the restaurant’s fire pit, the Live Fire Guest Chef Series welcomes chef Laurence Jossel of San Francisco’s Nopa restaurant to serve up a special meal on June 23. 738 Main St.,
St. Helena. 707.963.4555.

Uptown Theatre Downtown Napa’s art deco concert venue welcomes an array of performers to its landmark stage. Veteran rocker Brian Setzer performs Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot! on June 6. Gifted musician and activist Ziggy Marley gives voice to the spirit of revolution through his Rebellion Rises 2018 Tour on June 8. Country music star Mary Chapin Carpenter sings from her acclaimed catalogue on June 30. Blues pioneer Ry Cooder plays two nights, July 21 and 22, and soul singer Amos Lee appears on Aug. 11. The summer lineup is also packed with laughs, with shows featuring standup stars Brian Regan (June 9), Paula Poundstone (July 14) and Tig Notaro (July 28). 1350 Third St., Napa. 707.259.0123.

Napa Valley Jazz Getaway Musician and producer Brian Culbertson’s seventh annual event features an incredible lineup of jazz and R&B artists, including iconic group the Commodores, guitarist Norman Brown and singer Bobby Caldwell, in a show dubbed “Love & Soul,” R&B royalty Faith Evans, veteran comedian Sinbad and others. Wine receptions, dinner concerts and after-parties mix up the fun, June 6–10, at various locations throughout Napa Valley.

Huichica Music Festival
A refreshingly intimate and impressively curated take on the music festival format, Huichica (pronounced “wah-CHEE-ka”) features a music lineup that includes veteran stars like Jonathan Richman and Steve Gunn, as well as today’s hottest indie-rock auteurs, including Copenhagen-based post-rock band Iceage and a bevy of Bay Area favorites like Wooden Shjips, Vetiver and the Fresh & Onlys. Amazing views, delectable culinary options and plenty of beer and wine round out the weekend.
June 8–9 at Gundlach Bundschu Winery. 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma. $46–$121; kids 12 and under are free. 707.938.5277.

Enchanted Forest Gathering Eighth annual outing once again enchants audiences with three days of music, performance and visual art, workshops and other fairy-tale fun for the whole family. This year’s lineup boasts headlining acts like Beats Antique, Ozomatli and Dumpstaphunk, and the immersive natural environment includes a spa, crystal dome, art gallery and other wondrous experiences. June 8–10. Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville.

Napa City Nights Hailed as the event “where Napa makes music,” this family-friendly concert series offers a perfect view for local crowds to see and dance to their favorite North Bay bands and artists like Cripple Creek Band, Stax City, the Deadlies, the Hots and Tommy Odetto. Every Friday, June 8–Aug. 24. Veterans Memorial Park Amphitheater, Third and Main street, Napa. 6:30pm. Free admission.

Beerfest: The Good One All beerfests are good, but this one gets the title for its combination of good brews and a good cause. Whether you prefer hoppy IPAs, sour beers or ciders, you’ll find old favorites and new loves at this massive tasting event featuring nearly 50 pouring stops and awesome food vendors. The day also benefits local nonprofit Face to Face, whose mission is ending HIV in Sonoma County and supporting the health and well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS. June 9. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 1pm. $50–$60.

Peggy Sue’s All-American Cruise Hundreds of classic, stock and custom all-American cars roar into Santa Rosa for the annual cruise, and will be on display with live music, pin-up contest and awards at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds throughout the day. Then those classic cars roam downtown Santa Rosa in the evening to show off for families and car lovers. June 9.

Summer Drive-In Series The Alexander Valley Film Society turns back the clock this summer for three drive-in movie nights that screen classic blockbusters with vintage flair. First up, the family favorite E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial plays outside on the big screen on June 9, followed by a showing of Back to the Future on July 21 and The Wizard of Oz on Aug. 18. You don’t want to get stranded at the drive-in, so get tickets early and pack the car. Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds, 1 Citrus Fair Drive, Cloverdale. Doors open at 6:30pm, movies screen at dusk. Car tickets, $40 ($100, full series); individual tickets, $12 ($30, full series). Prices go up at the door.


Russian River Festivals This summer marks the centennial of the Russian River’s Johnson’s Beach in West Sonoma County, best known for its annual Jazz & Blues Festival. This year, the beach expands on the entertainment with three massive music festivals, beginning in June with the back-to-back Johnson’s Beach Feel-Good Beach Party and Russian River Blues Festival on June 9–10. Saturday’s party features headliners Goo Goo Dolls and Shaggy, alongside the California Honeydrops, Royal Jelly Jive, David Luning and Kingsborough. Sunday’s festival features Robert Cray, Eric Burdon & the Animals, Taj Mahal Trio, Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio and others. In September, the Russian River Jazz Festival fills out a full weekend, Sept. 8–9.

Railroad Square Music Festival North Bay Hootenanny hosts this fourth annual day of local music and community in the heart of Santa Rosa. Frankie Boots, Sol Horizon, the Highway Poets, Trebuchet and many others take several stages, with a shop party of local vendors, food, beer and wine, art and fun for all. June 10 at Railroad Square, Fourth and Wilson streets, Santa Rosa. Noon. Free admission.

Calistoga Concerts in the Park Bring your blankets, lawn chairs, picnic dinners and friends and family to enjoy these weekly concerts in a gorgeous natural setting. Each week’s show offers something different, from rock and rollers Kingsborough on
June 14, to Latin dance band
Maya on July 19 and funk and soul songwriter Ricky Montijo
on Aug. 2. Concerts in the park take place every Thursday,
June 14–Aug. 16, Pioneer Park, 1308 Cedar St., Calistoga. 6:30pm. Free admission.

Country Summer The biggest country music event in the North Bay also features Western-themed attractions, country-inspired culinary delights and an array of libations. Headliners this year include Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town, Toby Keith and many others. June 15–17, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. $89 and up. 707.543.0100.

Broadway Under the Stars Presented each year by Transcendence Theatre Company, some of the brightest stars in Hollywood and on Broadway come to perform in the Sonoma County night air. This summer’s schedule starts with “Stairway to Paradise” featuring songs from Broadway and beyond, June 15–July 1. The popular Fantastical Family Night dances to the beat of Broadway and Disney hits on July 13–14. “Shall We Dance,” showcasing an invigorating blend of movement and song, runs
Aug. 3–19. The Gala Celebration caps the season with appropriate flair, Sept. 7–9. Jack London State Park. 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. Pre-show picnics at 5pm; concerts begin at 7:30pm. 877.424.1414.

Cotati Music Festival After 37 years of the Cotati Jazz Festival, the small and spirited town of Cotati’s chamber of commerce is expanding on the musical offerings in this inaugural summer concert event. The Cotati Music Festival lineup includes local favorites like the John Courage Trio, Derek Irving & His Combo and Danny Sorentino, with food, beer and wine on hand. June 16. Noon. Free admission.

Rockstar University’s House of Rock Santa Rosa’s recording space and live-music venue celebrates two years this summer with a stellar lineup of new and returning favorites. The band Empty Spaces perform a tribute to Pink Floyd on June 16. British heavy metal band Union Jack & the Rippers rock the
house on June 30. Platinum-selling band L.A. Guns return for another round of rock on Aug. 11. 3410 Industrial Drive, Santa Rosa.

Benedettiville Summer Art Camps Husband-and-wife team Gio and Jen Benedetti are masters of blending music, stories and more under the name Benedettiville in concert and every Sunday on KPCA 103.3-FM in Petaluma. Now Benedettiville is offering a series of summer arts camps, partnering with the Petaluma Arts Center for three sessions of imagination. Future broadcasters ages 7 to 12 can spend a week creating a radio show June 18–21. Aspiring writers ages 10 to 14 can plant the seeds of their original stories July 23–26, and highschool students can learn to make old-school zines July 30–Aug. 2. Petaluma Arts Center, 230 Lakeville St., Petaluma. Times and costs
vary. 707.762.5600.

Luther Burbank Center for the Arts The performing arts center brings some of the biggest events and names in music and comedy to the stage this summer. Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox transforms today’s biggest hits into a 1920s swing and jazz soiree on June 22. Bianca Del Rio, alter ego of comic Roy Haylock and former winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, offers a scathing night of laughs on June 30. The original Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, sing their greatest hits on Aug. 5. Everyman standup star Jim Gaffigan appears for
two shows on Aug. 9. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa
Rosa. 707.546.3600.

Mystic Theatre & Music Hall The beloved downtown Petaluma venue has a packed schedule this summer with an eclectic array of events and concerts. Wavy Gravy hosts Seva Foundation’s 40th anniversary featuring Dark Star Orchestra on June 27. Indie-rock veteran and former Pavement front man Stephen Malkmus leads his longtime band the Jicks on July 17. Soul music icon Booker T. Jones performs on July 27, and original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley plays a solo show on
Aug. 5. Mystic Theatre, 23 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma, 707.765.2121.

Sierra Nevada World Music Fest The world is a big place, so a world-music festival, by default, must also be big. This year’s 25th annual SNWMF continues the festival’s legacy of offering
dozens of musical acts from around the world. Artists this year include Jamaican crooner Beres Hammond, British reggae legends Steel Pulse, Ethiopian pop star Teddy Afro and others. June 22–24 at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds, Boonville. $70 and up.

di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art The innovative arts center debuts a powerful new lineup of artists for the second installment of its socially-conscious exhibit “Be Not Still: Living in Uncertain Times.” See new experimental projects and bold art installations that address topics like immigration and healthcare when the exhibit opens with a reception on June 30. 5200 Sonoma Hwy., Napa. 707.226.5991.

Sonoma-Marin Fair This year’s Sonoma-Marin Fair blasts off with a “Beyond the Milky Way” theme that is sure to delight all ages. Headlining concerts, the world’s ugliest dog contest, destruction derby, carnival rides, fair food and a galaxy of fun await June 20–24, at Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds & Event Center, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma. Gates open at noon each day; $10–$15 general admission.

Kate Wolf Music Festival This festival, now in its 23rd year, always draws excellent musical acts to honor the work of the late singer-songwriter it’s named for, and this year’s lineup is one of the best yet. Confirmed performers include Los Lobos, Indigo Girls, Keb’ Mo’ and many others, with artists like the Rainbow Girls and Wendy DeWitt representing the North Bay. Camping is the best way to experience this festival. June 28–July 1 at Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville. $75 and up.

Mondavi Winery Summer Concerts After nearly five decades, this popular concert series is bigger than ever, with a lineup featuring Gavin DeGraw (June 30), Citizen Cope (July 7), Brandi Carlile
(July 14), X Ambassadors (July 21) and Fitz and the Tantrums (July 28). These shows are already selling out, so don’t wait to grab tickets. Robert Mondavi Winery, 7801 St. Helena Hwy., Oakville. Dinner available. $70–$225.


Green Music Center Summer at the Green 2018 Sonoma State University’s superb Weill Hall hosts a season of concert events that spill out onto the lawn and span classical, jazz, country, Latin and spoken word. The season’s Fourth of July concert features Transcendence Theatre Company and the Santa Rosa Symphony, followed by fireworks. The annual Bluegrass & Craft Beer Festival returns on July 15 with headliners Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder and Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands. Free movie screenings on the lawn happen all season, and other performers include Los Tucanes de Tijuana (July 21), Hunter Hayes (Aug. 10), Boyz II Men (Aug. 16) and the Punch Brothers (Aug. 23). 1801 East Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. 866.955.6040.

Napa County Fair & Fireworks Farm fun, rides, clowns and food, this fair’s got it all, in one svelte day of blistering excitement. Culminating in a fireworks spectacular in the evening, the fun starts with a parade at noon through downtown Calistoga. July 4 at the Napa County Fair. 1435 N. Oak St., Calistoga.

Wine Country Big BBQ Eighth annual barbecue competition features grill masters from around the area competing in big beef and bold bean challenges.
World-class wines, award-winning brews, craft cider and spirits pair with the meats, and live music makes for a party atmosphere
on July 7, Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma. 1pm. $20–$75.

Napa Craft Beer, Spirits & Oyster Festival In this case, the name really does say it all. Choose from an afternoon or evening session, or stay all day and indulge in unlimited tastings from 35 craft brewers, pouring over 75 beers. Resident mixologist Mcson Salicetti will be whipping up creative cocktails and the sommelier of oysters, Kevin Joseph (Empire Oyster, the OysterHood, Oysters Unlimited), curates an oyster
bar on Saturday, July 7, at the Napa Valley Opera House,
1030 Main St., Napa. 1pm. $44–$199.

Petaluma Art & Garden Festival Presented by the Petaluma Downtown Association, the fest brings local eats, beer and wine and plenty of music to town for a 17th year. The vendor booths offer charming items for the home and garden, plus animal mobiles and fun fairy clothing for the wee ones. The event also includes the annual chalk art competition. July 8. Kentucky and Fourth Streets, Petaluma. 11am.

Rodney Strong Concert Series The wine-tastic annual live music series in the sunny grasslands behind Rodney Strong Vineyards always features adult contemporary favorites and music legends. This year’s lineup includes Michael McDonald on July 8, Melissa Etheridge on July 22, a double-bill of the Temptations and the Four Tops on Aug. 26 and Boz Scaggs on Sept. 9. Rodney Strong Vineyards, 11455 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg. 5pm. $89–$129. 800.514.3849.


Napa Live: Inside & Out Napa’s music crawl is back for its third year, and includes four days of live bands, food and other fun within walking distance. Thirty-five locations inside and out offer music ranging from blues to funk to rock, with local venues, shops, plazas, patios, restaurants and more hosting on July 8,
Aug. 12, Sept. 9 and Oct. 15.
Noon to 6pm. Free admission. 707.257.0322.

MidSummer MusiCamp Founded in 1990, the Napa Valley Music Associates aims to develop the artistic potential of Napa Valley students with year-round music instruction. Each summer for the past 24 years, the highlight of these lessons is the MidSummer MusiCamp, and this year’s series includes special programs for kids age 4 to 17. The strings program offers classes for violin, viola and cello July 9–13, and the woodwinds and brass program provides instruction on clarinet, saxophone and more July 16–20. Both programs are for intermediate and advanced-level students, though kids with or without musical backgrounds are invited to the Joy & Fun: Creating Music program, July 23–27, that features special drumming and singing classes. Programs take place at Hillside Christian Church,
100 Anderson Road, Napa. Times and costs vary. 707.322.8402.

Shakespeare in the Cannery Santa Rosa’s unique outdoor theater experience—set in the brick ruins of a former canning warehouse—returns for its fifth and reported final season. Lead by director David Lear, the company is planning to go out in style, presenting the comedic and heart-warming Shakespeare in Love at sunset on select dates, July 12–Aug 3. 3 W. Third St., Santa Rosa. Gates at 5pm, shows at 7pm. 707.528.3009.

Sonoma Arts Live Nonprofit theater company wraps up its season, themed “The Way We Were,” with the heartfelt musical Always . . . Patsy Cline, July 13–29. Based on Cline’s true-life friendship with fan-turned-friend Louise Segar, the show features over two dozen classic hits. In the middle of that run, the company welcomes playwright and actor Del Shores to perform his hit one-man-show Six Characters in Search of a Play, on July 22. The Rotary Stage in Andrews Hall at the Sonoma Community Center, 276 E. Napa St., Sonoma.

Rivertown Revival The Friends of the Petaluma River once again present the “Greatest Slough on Earth,” and this year’s outing aims to support the region’s regrowth after last year’s natural disasters. The event features local artists and bands like the King Street Giants, the Crux, T-Luke & the Tight Suits, and Big Kitty performing, interactive art installations, kids activities, local food vendors and more. The eco-friendly event even boasts a Nautical Mass commute by boat, led by a historical schooner. Revive your summer on July 14 at the McNear Peninsula at D and Copeland streets, Petaluma.

Wine Country Comedy Fest Local grape-stomping and funny-bone smashing company Crushers of Comedy hosts its third annual summer standup extravaganza with a diverse lineup of comedians, including Steve Ausburne, Jenny Yang, Josh Argyle and many others. A slew of craft beers, winetasting, live music and more come together July 19–22 at the Laugh Cellar, 5755 Mountain Hawk Way, Santa Rosa.

Festival Napa Valley Formerly called the Festival del Sole, this annual event offers more than 60 events over 10 days, ranging from concerts and dance performances to vintner-led luncheons and free community events. Highlights include opening night’s Opera Under the Stars at Meadowwood with soprano Nadine Sierra, the Arts for All Gala in St. Helena with actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth, Joshua Bell performing the Academy Award–winning music from the film The Red Violin and a Leonard Bernstein centennial celebration. July 20–29, at various venues in the Napa Valley.

Healdsburg Arts Festival Feast your eyes on a world of visual art showing throughout the Healdsburg Plaza, presented by Healdsburg Center for the Arts in collaboration with the city. July 27–29. Downtown Healdsburg. 10am to 3pm. Free admission.

Napa Porchfest A music fest unlike any other, the annual Porchfest places Napa’s finest musicians on porches throughout the city’s historic homes for an afternoon of dozens of intimate performances within walking distance of each other. Stroll through the Porchfest on July 29, in downtown Napa. 12:30pm to 5pm. Free admission.


Sonoma County Fair This year’s signature summer fair presents a “Salute to Heroes” and honors first responders and those who saved lives and helped others throughout last October’s wildfires. In addition to the largest themed flower show in the country and horse racing, the annual affair once again offers rodeos, destruction derbys, carnival rides, local art and agriculture, and all your favorite fair cuisine. Separate admission is required for some events. The Sonoma County Fair runs Aug. 2–12. Horse racing happens Aug. 2–5 and Aug. 9–12. Sonoma County Fairgrounds.
1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. 11am to 9pm; $7–$12; kids six and under are free.

Music in the Vineyards Now in its 24th season, this nationally acclaimed chamber-music festival welcomes renowned musicians from around the world to perform at the most picturesque locations in the Napa Valley. This year, the Escher, Pacifica and Miró quartets and the Trio Machiavelli perform as the festival’s ensembles-in-residence and the all-star lineup includes big band leader Maria Schneider, guitarist David Leisner, violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama and pianist Michael Brown. Aug. 3–26, at winery venues in the Napa Valley. $55 and up.

Petaluma Music Festival The 11th annual festival benefiting music programs in Petaluma schools features another massive lineup of North Bay favorites like headliners Railroad Earth, the Brothers Comatose, Melvin Seals and JGB, Royal Jelly Jive and many others. Aug. 4 at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma. Noon. $55–$65 and up; students ages 13–17 can get limited $20 tickets at the door; kids 12 and under are free with adult admission.

Gravenstein Apple Fair Billed as the “sweetest little fair in Sonoma County,” the 45th annual event, presented by Sonoma County Farm Trails, celebrates the locally found Gravenstein apples in all their delicious glory, with several food vendors, live music and local arts and crafts. Look for the artisan tasting lounge, the farm life arena, kids activities and games and contests throughout. Aug. 11–12 at Ragle Ranch Park, 500 Ragle Road, Sebastopol. 10am to 6pm. $8–$15; kids five and under are free.

Cotati Accordion Festival Bay Area accordion veteran Paul Rogers of Those Darn Accordions and the Christmas Jug Band is saluted as the honorary director, and an international cavalcade of stars takes the stage at this 28th annual squeezebox party, which this year offers two days of peace and music in a Woodstock-themed affair. International stars like Finland’s Netta Skog and Germany’s Matthias Matzke perform, as well as local favorites like the Zydeco Flames, Culann’s Hounds, Oddjob Ensemble and the Mad Maggies. Aug. 18–19 in La Plaza Park. Old Redwood Highway, Cotati. 9:30am–8pm.

Blues, Brews & BBQ Mixing together live music, microbrews and enough barbecue to fill a pickup truck, this summertime party is not to be missed. There’s a rib-eating contest, kids area and, of course, blues artists all along the streets. Aug. 25 at First and Main streets, Napa. Noon–6pm. Free admission, beer tasting tickets available for purchase.

Bodega Seafood Art & Wine Festival Dozens of culinary companies come together to offer delicious seafood specialties at the 24th annual event. Aside from the art and the eats, there are four stages of entertainment. The Main Stage features blues, jazz, swing, bluegrass and more from the likes of the Highway Poets, Kevin Russell, Sang Matiz, Swing Fever and French Oak. Other entertainers, ranging from jugglers, magicians and other nonmusical acts, join in on the fun. And local art, food, wine and beer overflows Aug. 25–26 at Watts Ranch, 16855 Bodega Hwy. Saturday, 10am–6pm; Sunday, 10am–5pm. $15–$20; kids under 12 are free.

Cochon 555’s Heritage Fire Napa Dozens of grills light their fire to roast and cook responsibly raised meats ranging from pig to rabbit and duck. Over 50 chefs and butchers offer up the succulent creations, paired with wine from several small wineries and artisan cheeses and other bites. The outdoor banquet commences on Aug. 26 at Charles Krug Winery, 2800 Main St., St. Helena. 3pm. $150 and up.


Taste of Sonoma Labor Day weekend belongs to wine at this signature event from the Sonoma County Vintners group. This year’s event makes the most of its home at Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center, gathering wineries from across the region to pour hundreds of wines that can be paired by bites from dozens of local chefs. The event also hosts seminars and demonstrations that cover a wide range of wine topics to tickle the intellect and stir the imagination. You can also upgrade the experience with an optional Club Reserve package that gets you in early and intimate with local winemakers. Sept. 1. 1801 East Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. Noon to 4pm. $180–$255.

Music Festival for Brain Health The most successful mental-health event in the country, in terms of raising both money and awareness, returns for a 24th year of science symposiums and chart-topping songwriters. There’s also a winetasting reception featuring several top North Bay wineries, a VIP dinner and a special guest chef. Sept. 15 at Staglin Family Vineyard, 1570 Bella Oaks Lane, Rutherford.