To be fair, there are a lot of reasons to go to every county fair in the North Bay. In Napa County, it's the brightness of the sky in a one-day Fourth of July extravaganza in Calistoga. In Marin County (July 2–6), there's the classic rock of Huey Lewis and the News and Joan Jett to hear in San Rafael. In Sonoma County (July 24–Aug. 10), there are monster trucks, horse races (with betting), bands like Lifehouse and Los Hurricanes del Norte, a rodeo and tons more in Santa Rosa. And at the Sonoma-Marin cross-county spectacular in Petaluma (June 18–22), Eddie Money serenades his fans after they've ridden the Tilt-a-Whirl and helped judge the world's ugliest dog contest. —Nicolas Grizzle
Sonoma County Pride Celebration What's not to love about a party whose theme is "Free to Be"? Dance parties take place the night before, and a parade strolls through Main Street in Guerneville on Sunday, followed by an event on the plaza with vendor booths and, hopefully, spontaneous dance parties. There's also a commitment ceremony, family pool party and an interfaith service on Sunday. Parade and vendor fair take place June 1 on Main Street in Guerneville. 11am. Free. www.sonomacountypride.org.
Auction Napa Valley This is the huge auction your friends always talk about. It's raised over $100 million for local nonprofits since 1981. Welcome parties take place June 5 at various locations throughout the Napa Valley, with the barrel auction at Charles Krug on
June 6 and the main auction scheduled for June 7 at the three-Michelin
starred Meadowood. 707.963.3388. www.auctionnapavalley.org.
Beerfest: The Good One! Say "Be Here Now" really fast and it sounds like "beer now." That's the idea behind the 23rd annual Beerfest to benefit the Face to Face-Sonoma County Aids Network. Tickets include all food and beer tastings and a souvenir glass. With more than 60 microbreweries and more than 120 different beers, this event is a who's who of Northern California artisans. June 7 at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 1–5pm. Twenty-one and over (alcohol till 4:30pm). $45. 707.546.3600. www.f2f.org.
DjangoFestMill Valley With only two fingers on his left hand, Gypsy-jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt could play circles around just about anyone in the world in the 1920s. His groundbreaking musical career is celebrated in Mill Valley with a three–day festival of fans and players presenting concerts, workshops and, yes, "djam" sessions to honor his spirit and inimitable sound. June 6–8
at 142 Throckmorton Theatre.
142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. Times vary. $35–$50. 415.383.9600.
Peggy Sue's All-American Cruise Four days of classic Ameri–car–na in Santa Rosa begins Thursday with a cruise-in at 4pm followed by a chili and pasta cook-off Friday at 6pm, with entertainment that includes the Hot Rods Band and Peggy Sue's Pin–Up Contest. Saturday starts with a pancake breakfast and continues with classic cars on display. Music by the Poyntless Sistars fills the afternoon before the cars take to the streets for a cruise through downtown. June 12–15. at A Place to Play Park. 2375 W. Third St., Santa Rosa. Times vary each day. $6–$30. www.peggysuescruise.com.
Huichica Festival David Longstreth of the terrific band Dirty Projectors headlines this year's festival. Bunk Sandwiches, Salumeria, Rancho Gordo and Q Craft highlight the culinary options. June 13–14 at Gundlach Bundschu Winery. 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma. June 13, 6pm; June 13-14, noon. $30–$120. 707.938.5277.
Film Night in the Park Sometimes things are just more fun outdoors—like cooking, exercise and watching movies. Now in its 23rd year, Film Night in the Park, presented by APPLE Family Works, brings the big screen to parks around Marin County. This year's selections include Monsters University, Moneyball, I Am Sam, The Fifth Element and Frozen. Bring blankets, pillows, backrests and low–seated chairs. June 13–Sept. 27 in parks in Fairfax, China Camp, Peacock Gap and San Anselmo. Free. 415.272.2756. www.filmnight.org.
Novato Festival of Art, Wine & Music Two–day live music fest features area crafters, good things to eat and drink, a wine garden and live music on two stages. A children's area, delicious food, boutique wines and art line the streets of Novato June 14–15. Old Town Novato, on Grant between Redwood Avenue and Seventh Street. Free. 415.472.1553.
Cotati Jazz Festival The town with bumper stickers that read "Keep Cotati Weird" celebrates the 34th anniversary of the Cotati Jazz Fest with music, food, beer and dancing. This event encompasses musical and nonmusical venues in downtown Cotati with the main acts slated for La Plaza Park. Check individual venues for other bookings. La Plaza Park, downtown Cotati. June 15. Noon–5pm. Free.
Long Meadow Ranch Concert Series This music series leans toward folk and Americana, with a lineup that includes Hot Buttered Rum (June 15), Holly Williams (July 20), Goodnight, Texas (Aug. 3), the Brothers Comatose (Aug. 24) and the Mother Hips (Sept. 14). June 15–Aug. 24 at Long Meadow Ranch Winery. Concerts at Long Meadow Ranch also feature chef Stephen Barber's barbecue, horseshoes and, of course, local wine. Bring a lawn chair and blanket and make a day of it. 738 Main St., St. Helena. 3:30pm each day. $25–$45. 877.963.4555.
Sundown Music Series Extended park hours and an open barbecue make this a great summer getaway. Music lineup includes Jami Jamison Band (June 19), Acoustic Soul (July 17), Hugh Shacklett & Possible Friends (Aug. 21) and Tudo Bem (Sept. 18). June 19–Sept. 18 at Jack London State Park. 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. 5–9pm. Free. www.jacklondonpark.com/sundown.html.
Sierra Nevada World Music Fest The world is a big place, so a world music festival, by default, must also be big. This festival doesn't disappoint, with dozens of musical acts and a summer solstice celebration. Artists at this year's festival include Rebelution, Barrington Levy, Tarrus Riley, Mykal Rose, Horace Andy Ozomatli and many others, plus late-night dancehall with Mighty Crown, Adrian Sherwood and Comanche High Power. June 20–22 at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds, Boonville. All three days, $60–$170; limited camping available. 916.777.5550. www.snwmf.com.
Napa NASCAR Night The first–ever NASCAR night in a city known for wine brings the fastest stock cars on the planet downtown. The inaugural event gives fans a chance to meet the drivers, see the cars up close and maybe even change a tire with the pit crew. Live music and concessions, too. June 21 at Veteran's Park. Main and Second streets, Napa. 3–9pm. Free. www.donapa.com/events.
San Anselmo Art & Wine Festival More than 40,000 folks converge on downtown San Anselmo each year—hungry, thirsty, craft-starved folks. As usual, a section of the fest will include over 200 artists and their various works. There will also be food booths, wine, a merchant marketplace, live music and a kids' area. June 21–22. San Anselmo Avenue between Bolinas and Tamalpais streets. 10am–6pm. 415.454.2510.
Rodney Strong Concert Series The 24th annual Summer Concert Series in the sunny grasslands behind vineyard features adult contemporary favorites and music legends. This year's lineup includes Jazz Attack (June 21), Chris Isaak (July 13), Mindi Abair with Elliot Yamin (July 26), Chris Botti (Aug. 16) and Tower of Power and Jonathan Butler (Aug. 31). Rodney Strong Vineyards, 11455 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg. $50–$115. 707.869.1595.
Mill Valley Wine & Gourmet Food Tasting Organizers predict the 33rd year of this festival will break attendance records, with more than 1,000 people expected to peruse the latest food trends and fine wines Mill Valley has to offer. Live music, too! Proceeds benefit local nonprofits.
June 22 at Depot Plaza. Downtown
Mill Valley. 1–4pm. $50–$60.
Age 21 and over only. 415.388.9700. www.millvalley.org.
Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival This festival always draws excellent musical acts to honor the work of late singer-songwriter Kate Wolf. This year includes performances by Joan Baez, the Indigo Girls, Los Lobos, Garth Hudson, Darlene Love, Jackie Greene, Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet and many others. Camping is the best way to experience this festival. June 27–29 at Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville. $40–$230. Children under nine admitted free. www.katewolfmusicfestival.com.
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 affable night air in Jack London State Park. On the schedule this year are "One Singular Sensation" (June 27–29, July 2, 3, 5), "Fantastical Family Night" (July 25–26), "The Music of the Night" (Aug. 14–16, 22–24) and the Gala Celebration
(Sept. 5–6). June 27–Aug. 16 in the outdoor winery ruins at Jack London State Park. 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. Pre-show picnic at 5pm; concerts begin at 7:30pm. $29–$125. 877.424.1414.
Days of Wine and Lavender Sip whites and reds among the blooming fields of lavender at a hillside winery. Food pairings and live music, too. June 28 at Matanzas Creek Winery. 6097 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. Noon–4pm. $75–$95. www.matanzascreek.com.
Mondavi Winery Summer Music Fest After 45 years, you'd think this concert series would slow down. Well, you'd be wrong. The series kicks off with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (June 28) and continues with swing revivalists Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (July 5), pop group Five for Fighting (July 12) and smooth saxophonist Dave Koz (July 18), then wraps up with pop diva Colbie Caillat (July 19). June 28–July 19
at Robert Mondavi Winery.
7801 St. Helena Hwy., Oakville. Dinner available. $55–$225. 888.769.5299.
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California Beer Festival
The annual California Beer Festival puts on a quartet of quaffing events throughout the state through September, led this year by the June 28 event at Stafford Lake Park in Novato.
Seventy craft beers, a whole lotta beef sliders—and bands? Sign us up. There's a Stones tribute act, reggae from IrieFuse and the 85's, a band that's strictly '80s and offers crafty sampling from the English Beat to Van Halen.
It's a beer festival, so here are a bunch of the brews you'll get to sample from 1–4:30pm: Altamont Beer Works Bicycle Brustop, FreeWheel Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Big Sky Brewing, Bear Republic brewing, Broken Drum, Iron Springs, Stone Brewing, Six River Brewers, Hopmonk Tavern, Alaskan Brewery, 21st Amendment, Mendocino Brewing Company, Strike Brewing—and, of course, mighty Lagunitas (and more).