.How to ‘Summer’ in SoCo

During the summer months, living in the North Bay can feel like having a built-in coastal Californian holiday at one’s fingertips.

Beach days, restaurant trips and wine pours galore are there to take people around every corner, along with entertainment and activities for personal enrichment or debauchery (depending on the individual, naturally). Personal preferences aside, these long, sunny days and warm nights promise locals a lot of hours to fill with only the best of the North Bay’s upcoming events.

Get ready to grab that sunscreen, some hot company and cool drinks because the starting line for the summer of 2024 begins here and now.

music in the park san jose
music in the park san jose

So, get ready, set and play the days away this summer in the North Bay.

Cotati Accordion Festival

Some fan-favorite events are too funny to make up or leave off of a list, and the Cotati Accordion Festival just so happens to be one such happening coming to the North Bay this summer. Not only is this a manifold opportunity for musical fun in the sun, a hilariously random stamp to add to one’s seasonal calendar, but it also offers a sneak peek into the fascinating realm of unique instrumentals and those who enjoy them. So, fold to peer pressure and visit the Cotati Accordion Festival at La Plaza Park Aug. 16 through 18.

To reserve tickets to the 33rd annual Cotati Accordion Festival, visit the website at cotatifest.com.

Country Summer Music Festival

For those out of the lasso loop, the North Bay boasts one crown jewel: Northern California’s biggest country music festival. That’s right, alongside some other incredibly famous and eclectic musical selections this summer, there’s also the County Summer Music Festival. So, one, two, step on down or otherwise West Coast swing the way to the best country music event west of Texas. Headliners for this year’s County Summer Music Festival are Old Dominion, Little Big Town and Jordan Davis.

The County Summer Music Festival is at 1350 Bennett Valley Rd. in Santa Rosa. It will run from June 14 through 16—for more information, to see the full lineup of musicians, buy tickets and/or reserve camping spots, visit the website at countrysummer.com.

Flynn Creek Circus

For those North Bay locals who have always dreamed of running away with/to the circus to escape the day-to-day grind of life so close to the city, they’re in luck—Flynn Creek Circus has precisely what they need to beat the heat these hot summer months ahead. And there isn’t a hotter event in town than the adults-only night at Flynn Creek Circus. The Flynn Creek Circus website promises not only spectacle and a place to party but also enticing tidbits like, “Adults Only shows do feature crude and sexual language and semi-nudity. You’re welcome.”

Whether one is looking to send their kid off to camp to teach them applicable life skills like the trapeze, tightrope or possibly lion taming, or if they want a night away to take in an adult-only show of raucous cabaret, then Flynn Creek Circus is a top choice for only the hottest of summers.

To learn more about Flynn Creek Circus and see the travel calendar for their summertime tour up and down the West Coast, visit the website at flynncreekcircus.com.

Gravenstein Apple Fair

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but visiting the Gravenstein Apple Fair can keep those pesky health practitioners away for up to a year (allegedly). For 51 years, this apple-centric celebration has cheered locals and visitors alike with crisp, juicy delights. Attendees can enjoy apples, apples and more apples in the form of fruit, drinks, music and more—no time for questions. Just buy a ticket, explore and eat down to the core.

The Gravenstein Apple Fair is located at 500 Ragle Rd. in Sebastopol and runs from Aug. 10 to 11. To learn more about this town’s summertime apple extravaganza, visit the website at gravensteinapplefair.com.

Healdsburg Jazz Festival

This year celebrates the 26th annual summertime extravaganza of all things jazz. Musical enthusiasts can come out and enjoy the masterful work of headline artists such as Samara Joy, Ambrose Akinmusire and Joshua Redman (to name only a few).

The Healdsburg Jazz Festival is located at 122A North St. The festival spans from June 15 through 23, meaning nine days to drink wine and dance one’s heart out to jazz this summer. To ensure one doesn’t miss out on the opportunity to move with the groove or check out who will be jamming, visit the website at healdsburgjazz.org.

North Coast Wine and Food Festival

Foodies of the North Bay, look no further than the North Coast Wine and Food Festival to satisfy all those summertime food and wine wants, needs and otherwise desirous thoughts. This is the event of the summer for anyone looking to get a little Dionysian for the season.

The North Coast Wine and Food Festival is set to take place on June 15 at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, located at 50 Mark West Springs Rd. in Santa Rosa. To learn more or purchase tickets for this local culinary event, visit northcoastwineandfood.com.

The Greatest Fair on Earth

Don’t let the humble name behind this local fair fool anyone because The Greatest Fair on Earth has nothing to be demure about. After all, this 10-day event from Aug. 1 to 11 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds promises everything and a bag of chips. From the beloved rural traditions like horse racing, rodeos, junior livestock auctions, thrilling carnival rides, perfectly fried fair food, monster truck rallies and demolition derbies, and even Sylvia Zerbini’s Liberté experience in between…well, let’s just say this fair earned its title fair and square.

To visit The Greatest Fair on Earth this summer at 1450 Bennett Valley Rd. in Santa Rosa, go to the website and book tickets at sonomacountyfair.com.

The North Bay’s summer social events offer more options than there are days on the calendar—opportunities to get out into nature, visit delicious restaurants, explore cute little towns and see and meet…the possibilities are nearly endless. Plus, it’s best not to forget all the outdoorsy holidays coming up, which make for an excellent reason to serve up red, white and bubbly like it’s already past 5 o’clock on the Fourth of July. So, get out there and carpe diem California’s central coast this summer!

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