It’s summertime and the living is easy—at least for those whose privilege it is to enjoy the attractions of this wine country wonderland we call home.
For many of the season’s offerings, your daddy need not be rich nor your mama good looking. For others—to borrow from another classic lyric—same as it ever was. Except that there’s now so much more.
What follows is a highly subjective and necessarily incomplete list of local summer offerings happening within the first month or so of a hot summer season brimming with options (including the “nuclear option,” if we’re to pay any mind to geopolitical saber rattling—which we’re not). So hush little baby, don’t you cry…
Windsor Summer Nights on the Green
Windsor’s annual spate of musical programming kicks off Thursday, June 2 with Foreverland, which is billed as “The Electrifying Tribute to Michael Jackson.” What’s germane is that the band isn’t a tribute or impersonation act—it’s just a straight up cover band interpreting the music of the King of Pop (which, frankly, is a relief for those still overcoming ’80s zipper-fatigue). The gig is sponsored by Friends of the Windsor Library.
For more information, visit foreverland.com or townofwindsor.com/342/Summer-Nights-on-the-Green.
Orsi Winery Summer Concert Series
Located just two minutes from downtown Healdsburg and surrounded by 70 acres of vineyard, Orsi Family Vineyards is known for bringing its Italian sensibilities to local environs—at least in the wine department. In the music department, however, there’s an apparent penchant for tribute bands with clever names—Fleetwood Mask and Petty Theft, each of which are playing the winery in June and July, respectively. The gigs are part of the Orsi Winery Summer Concert Series, which pairs a bevy of acts with their award-winning wine throughout the season. For more information, orsifamilyvineyards.com/calendar.html.
Sonoma County Pride Presents ‘Love, Simon’
Sonoma County Pride, whose mission is to promote equality for all while preserving and educating the community about the LGBTQIA+ history of Sonoma County, has put together a bevy of events during the annual June Pride Month celebration. Among the many, many highlights are “Pride Movie Night” featuring Love, Simon, hosted by Pride master of ceremonies Jan Wahl, the beloved film critic, Hollywood historian and fashionable hat fanatic. Fans are encouraged to “grab a blanket and your low-back lawn chairs, and order dinner from one of our downtown favorite restaurants for an evening of family time…” The festivities commence at 5pm, June 2 at Old Courthouse Square in downtown Santa Rosa. The event is free and for all ages.
For more information, visit sonomacountypride.org.
Beer Fest: The Good One
Before there was Vineburg, there was Hopland, which is another way of saying that we might reevaluate Sonoma County’s identity as a wine capital and recall that its beer scene has gone longer and perhaps stronger than their vintner colleagues might admit. Proving the point is Beer Fest: The Good One, which returns to the lawn of the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts and promises “mouth-puckering sour beers, hop bombs, barrel-aged brews, and a wide range of other cool libations that make Northern California one of the best beer-producing regions in the world.” With more than 40 breweries and cideries pouring samples, this brew-haha is a must for those with grain on the brain. The flow commences at 1pm and lasts until 4:30pm, June 12 at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa. Tickets are $50–$65, and net proceeds benefit Face to Face, whose mission is “…ending HIV in Sonoma County while supporting the health and well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS.”
For more information, visit beerfestthegoodone.f2f.org.
Railroad Square Music Festival
The Sixth Annual Railroad Square Music Festival welcomes all aboard June 12. Voted Sonoma County’s “Best Music Festival” all six of its years by readers of the Bohemian, the line up is a whirlwind of styles on multiple stages, including local luminaries like “gritty local rockers Kingsborough, powerhouse funk stalwarts Burrows & Dilbeck, Oakland/Guerneville hip hop artist Kayatta, indie rock salty pals Bad Thoughts, Petaluma’s surf pop-punkers The Happys, 5 piece norteño group La Agencia, indie jazz act Echolyptus, Petaluma R&B artist Simoné Mosely, railroading songstress Jade Brodie…” The list goes on and is as impressive as it is blissfully long. The multi-genre event commences at noon and continues to 7:30pm, Sunday, June 12, at Santa Rosa’s historic Railroad Square.
For more information, including the full line up, visit railroadsquaremusicfestival.com.
Billed as an “intimate fundraising event” for the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center, fans of former host of KQED’s Forum and author Michael Krazny and novelist, non-fiction writer, activist and writing teacher Annie Lammot are in for a double dose of literary love at this June 12 event. The author talk includes a book signing, live music and libations (of varying degrees, depending on your ticket preference).
For more information, including times and price, visit seb.org/special-events.
Healdsburg Jazz Festival
Jazz and wine are a natural pairing—both are expressive of their particular environs, both take a level of mastery to get right and both tend to get better with age. Now in its 24th vintage, the Healdsburg Jazz Festival proves all the above and more. Beginning June 13 and lasting through June 19, this year’s fest promises a thrilling week of music drawing from an array of influences. From National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) jazz master Dave Holland and blues legend Charlie Musselwhite to San Francisco vocal star Bobi Céspedes, the week-long event offers Healdsburg’s most enduring and celebrated soundtrack.
For more information, visit healdsburgjazz.org.
A couple of local traditions bookend Sonoma’s summers—the Sonoma-Marin Fair in June and the Sonoma County Fair in August. Both offer an array of festivities, vendors and attractions galore and both promise family-friendly fun and best of all—fair food. Deep-fried and delicious, the authentic stuff can only be gotten at local and county fairs—and you know you want it. Indulge! The Sonoma-Marin Fair runs from June 22–26, which gives you enough time to recover from the rush of salts, fats, sugars and umami to take on the Sonoma County Fair, which runs from Aug. 4–14.
To plan your gustatory gluttony, visit sonoma-marinfair.org and sonomacountyfair.com/fair/sonoma-county-fair.php.
Rock the Ride
We need look no further than the fatal shooting of 10 Black people by a white supremacist gunman in Buffalo, NY, to understand that gun violence is a real and present danger in America. Rock the Ride, pedal-powered protest and fundraiser against gun violence, encourages bicyclists at all levels to help raise awareness and monies for local and national nonprofit organizations that are addressing what is one of the most pressing issues of our time. Rock the Ride begins at various times throughout Saturday, June 25, in Napa Valley.
For specific times and location, visit raceroster.com/events/2022/57493/rock-the-ride-napa-ca.
Who could resist a portmanteau that combines the concept of fresh beer (no older than a week) and festival at which to enjoy? HenHouse Brewing Company, in collaboration with the Bay Area Brewers Guild, Somo Arts Village and Fat Dogg Productions, returns to present the largest variety of brewery-fresh beer ever poured in a single location. All 150 of the beers poured at this event will be less than seven days old, meaning they will be in perfect, brewery-fresh condition, having suffered none of the taste-tolling effects of time, temperature and travel. The Freshtival commences on June 25 at SOMO Village Event Center, 1400 Valley House Dr., Rohnert Park. For times and tickets, visit somovillage.com/event/the-freshtival-2022.
Fireworks at Green Music Center
Instead of potentially igniting the burbs with an errantly deployed Whistling Pete, consider watching some professional pyrotechnics, with the added bonus of the Santa Rosa Symphony and Transcendence Theatre Company providing a soundtrack of show tunes and patriotic classics. The 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular at the Green Music Center is the biggest fireworks display in Sonoma County and a fine way to celebrate American independence from the Brits. There’s also a “Kids Zone” that opens at 4:30pm and features carnival games, bounce houses and face painting. Indoor and outdoor seating options are available (indoor guests will be given time to relocate outside prior to the start of the fireworks display). Michael Berkowitz conducts.
July 4. Tickets are $30–$60. More information at gmc.sonoma.edu/4th-of-july-fireworks-spectacular.