Category Archives: Weekend Fun

Family FIVE Events

Happy Halloween! I hope all of you have a safe and fun holiday this weekend. There will also be plenty of fun events going on this weekend, Halloween and not. Here are a few of my favorite picks for things to do with your family. For more family events, see our events page at, or at

A family has fun at last year's carnival at Howarth Park

Howarth Park Halloween
Sat Oct 29 12-3pm
Howarth Park (630 Summerfield Rd, Santa Rosa)
Come dressed in your Halloween costume to Howarth Park to take part in their annual party of tricks and treats. The train and carousel will be up and running, and kids will be able to trick-or-treat around the park. And don’t forget, this is the last weekend of the season (until February 2012) for the train, carousel, ponies, and boathouse.

Chop’s Teen Club’s Annual Halloween Carnival
Sat Oct 29 5-8pm
Chop’s Teen Club (509 Adams St, Santa Rosa)
The teens at Chops have prepared a night of safe, ghoulish fun for youngsters and their families. A jumpy house, game booths, costume contest, goodies, and more make this a night to get your Halloween groove on early.

Sing-a-Long Sound of Music
Sat Oct 29 7pm and Sun Oct 30 2pm
6th Street Playhouse (52 W Sixth Street)
Practice your do-re-mis and thing of your favorite things, because this Saturday you can open your vocal chords with a sing-a-long with the Von Trapp family. Audience participation make this full-screen presentation a fun and exciting event for the whole family.

Sun Oct 30 11am-6pm
Rio Nido Roadhouse (14540 Canyon Two Rd, Rio Nido)
It isn’t every day you can see real live mermaids, but the festival on Sunday brings these mystical creatures to you – including Vira Burgerman, the California Mermaid. Live music, tasty seafood and fisherman demos surround this event intent on supporting marine life, ecology, and the environment. Plus, mermaids will perform in the pool for your entertainment.

WordUP Fair
Sun Oct 30 11am-6pm
Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds (175 Fairgrounds Dr, Petaluma)
Benefitting Literacyworks of Sonoma County, the book lovers in your family will absolutely adore this free all-ages event promoting literacy and learning. Different booths will be set up teaching everything from pilates to auto care. The main stage will hold acclaimed author Anne Lamott, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, the Banana Slug Band, and more. Kids are encouraged to dress up for the Halloween costume contest!

To post or view more events, find tips for Halloween, and other family related news and tidbits, visit Have a wonderful week, and a fun Halloween!

Crissi Dillon

Creek Week 2011

Get out your waders and your tadpole catchers, we’re coming up on Creek Week! All through the Russian River and Santa Rosa Creek areas will be educational and adventurous events that celebrate our local waterways and offer ways to restore the creeks and enhance the habitat of our fish and wildlife.

The week kicks off with the 27th Annual Sonoma County Coast and Creek Clean Up. On Saturday, September 17th, volunteers will meet at Doyle Park at the Doyle Park Drive entrance at 9am, and work towards cleaning up debris and trash until noon. Gloves, tools, and snacks will be provided. (For more beach clean ups, contact Coastwalk at 829-6689). Contact: Alistair Bleifuss at 543-3845 or

Also on Saturday, Santa Rosa Creek will be host to the Whitewater Rodeo from 10:30am – noon. The whole family is invited out to race homebuilt toy boats down the raging shallow waters of the creek. Bring your own creation, or create a boat on the spot with materials (and assistance!) that will be available to the public. During the event, Boy Scouts and lifeguards will be demonstrating water safety skills. Meet up at the Pierson St bridge (between w. 3rd St. And W. 6th St.).Contact: Alistair Bleifuss at 543-3845 or

Sunday, September 18th will be a 10-mile hike to explore the headwaters of Santa Rosa Creek. Hike through Hood Mountain Regional Park and Sugarloaf State Park, peruse the steelhead trout spawning grounds in the upper creek areas, dip your feet in the creek, and enjoy your picnic lunch under the largest coast live oak in Sonoma County – the “Grandmother Oak” tree. Hike goes from 9:10am – 4pm. For location, please register at, email, or call 524-9318.

Monday, September 19th will be an exciting Downtown Underground exploration of the culverts and fish ladders below downtown Santa Rosa. Flashlights and sturdy shoes will be required for this interesting look at our city from underneath, and is not recommended for kids under age 10. But be prepared to get a brand new perspective of our town and its waterway. Meet at Gateway Park at Santa Rosa Ave and Sonoma Ave at 6pm, and hike till 7:30pm.Contact: Jill Scott at 543-4246 or

More exciting than the Tour de France, the Tour de Santa Rosa Creek will be underway on Tuesday, September 20th from 5:30pm – 7:30pm. Families and individuals are welcome to join in on the 12-mile round-trip bike ride on the flat and paved path alongside the creek trail between Olive Park Footbridge (1698 Hazel St) and Willowside Road. Contact: Sean McNeil at 543-4225 or

Finish the week with a clean up of Sierra Park Creek on Bennett Valley Clean Up Day. Saturday, September 24th, volunteers will meet up at Strawberry School (2311 Horseshoe Dr) at 9am and join neighbors, scouts, and Strawberry School in caring for this creek area until 11am. Contact: Alistair Bleifuss at 543-3845 or

More exciting events throughout the week:

“Turtle Talk” with Dr. Nick Geist on Sunday, September 18th from 3-4pm.
“Santa Rosa Creek Family Insect Exploration” on Sunday, September 18th, 4-5-ish pm.
“Santa Rosa Creek Trail Walk” for ages 8 and up on Wednesday, September 21st from 5:30-7:30pm.
“Are there fish in Santa Rosa Creek?” on Thursday, September 22nd, 5:30-7:30pm.

For a full listing of all the fun events and activities going on throughout the week, visit

This Week's Family Friendly Events

Ever wonder what’s going on around Sonoma County for your family? Think there’s nothing to do? Think again. Here are my top picks for family friendly events going on this week.

Ceramic Handprint Event at Cupcake!
Saturday, Sep 17 11:00a to 1:00p at Cupcake | Children & Maternity – Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa, CA
Price: $20-$85
Phone: (707) 280-0024
Twinkle Toes Ceramics makes your little one’s handprints/footprints into ceramic artwork. Have your child’s hand, foot, or both imprinted in ceramic with personalization! They will be finished before the holidays, so stock up on gifts!  *FREE handprint ornament will be given w/ purchase*
For appt. please RSVP to Twinkle Toes Ceramics: call 707-280-0024 or e-mail
Event Website

Dennis Hysom & Friends – Saturday Morning Concert
Saturday, Sep 17 10:00a to 11:00a at Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA
Price: $5 per person, $4 members
Join in magical, musical mornings of literature-inspired songs from Wooleycat’s Musical Theater book and song CDs. Dennis Hysom and Friends invite children, parents and grandparents to sing and play along. June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17, 10 AM at Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Listen to songs at
Event Website

Much Ado About Sebastopol Renaissance Faire
Saturday, Sep 17 10:00a to 8:00p at Ives Park, Sebastopol, CA
Price: $12/adult, $6 child 6-14, 5 & under FREE
Come one, come all… Celebrate the Feast of St. Michael (Michelmas), the autumnal equinox when the people of the 16th century town of Fenford make merry and give thanks for their bountiful harvest. Proceeds from this event will go to the Sebastopol Union schools to support educational programs for our local lasses and lads in such areas as music, art, and sports funding. Costumes are encouraged, but not mandatory.
Event Website

Meet and Greet with Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Glasser, Authors of Superhero Joe
Tuesday, Sep 20 3:30p at Copperfield’s Books, Petaluma, CA
Price: Free
Phone: (707) 762-0563
Meet the author and illustrator for this exciting new kids book! Joe is a boy with superpowers—or a super imagination? Armed with his cape of confidence (a blanket) and his shield of invincibility (a garbage can lid), Joe is ready to save the day. This author and illustrator will also be appearing at local schools; for more information, please contact Copperfield’s Books Petaluma store.
Event Website

Creek Week
Saturday, Sep 17-24 at City of Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa, CA
Price: FREE
Phone: (707) 543-3928
Creek Week is Sept 17-24. The City of Santa Rosa will host this week- long celebration of local creeks and waterways. ALL CREEK WEEK EVENTS ARE FREE. Events planned for the week will raise awareness of our local creeks and the Russian River. Creek Week is the perfect time to learn about the water resources in your community through a diversity of fun, family-friendly, free events.
Creek Week – Website

For more events, check out the Events Calendar at

Crissi Dillon

2011 Independence Day Events

We are so lucky to live here in Sonoma County. Celebrating Independence Day, the story of our fortune doesn’t change. There are so many celebrations to choose from, it’s hard to know which to attend. I’ve created a list of all the various parades and fireworks shows going on around Sonoma County that I know of. If I have missed any, please be sure to add them in the comments.

Note: You’ll notice several fireworks shows charge admission for their events. While I understand the desire to beat the crowds or save a bit of money by parking off site and enjoying the show from afar, I want to mention the huge cost that goes into holding these events. Not only that, many of the proceeds from these events go towards supporting local non-profits in our area. If you can, I encourage you to pack up your family and support the show by attending. If you can’t attend but still want to enjoy the show, consider looking into how you can contribute towards your favorite fireworks celebration so they can continue to run every year. Thanks for helping our community!

Santa Rosa

Red, White and BOOM!
Monday, July 4th – Event starts at 4pm, fireworks start at 9:30pm
This event is clearly the biggest of all the Independence Day celebrations. Held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, the gates open at 4pm for a ton of family-centered activities. Food and beverages will be served through various vendors, though picnic lunches are also encouraged. Kids can enjoy a bunch of fun games and activities. Live music will have you on your feet, dancing the evening away. And at 9:30pm the fireworks show begins in a display that can be seen all over Santa Rosa and beyond.  Profits from the 2011 Santa Rosa Red, White and BOOM will benefit the Youth Benevolent Fund
Admission: $7 ages 13 and up, $3 ages 6-12, FREE ages 0-5


Old Time Independence Day Celebration on the Green
Sunday, July 3rd – Event starts at 5pm
Vendors line the streets of Windsor’s Town Green for this packed family pre-fireworks event. Food and drink are aplenty, jump houses are bumping for the kiddos, and the Edwin Brothers will be rocking the Green with some live music from 6-9pm. Many bring blankets and low chairs to watch the fireworks launched from nearby Windsor High School once the show starts.
Admission: FREE

Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular
Sunday, July 3rd – Events starts at 4pm, fireworks start at 9:30pm
Remember Ashkon, the YouTube sensation that created the Giant’s “Don’t Stop Believing” Anthem that went viral? He’ll be entertaining the masses at this year’s event at Keiser Park in Windsor. Along with him will be local favorites Pride & Joy, as well as JD Bauman & the Old Boot Band. Dance to the live music, enjoy food and drink, and take part in tons of family activities. In fact, Sonoma County Fair is featuring the “Traveling Fair” to celebrate the fair’s 75th anniversary! The party starts at 4pm in the newly renovated park, though no parking is available at Keiser Park. Those who will be driving to the event are encouraged to use the parking lot at Windsor High School (8695 Windsor Rd).
Admission: $3 donation, kids 12 and under FREE


For the parents:
Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves Zindependence Weekend Event
Saturday July 2nd to Sunday, July 3rd – 11:00a to 4:30p both days
Sip the day away in this pre-4th celebration in the only way Wine Country folk can – with some fantastic Zinfandels to pair scrumptious morsels with (or savor on its own). Bella Vineyards (9711 West Dry Creek Road) is celebrating the almighty Zin, deemed “America’s Grape”, at their annual celebration. Picnic on their lawn, explore Bella’s barn and wine caves, and savor the melded flavors at five tasting stations – including a chocolate pairing for all you cocoa addicts! No reservations required.
Admission: $15, or FREE for Bella Wine Club members and four of their guests

And for the family:
21st Annual American Legion Fireworks Show
Monday, July 4th – fireworks start at approx 9:30pm
The local veterans of the American Legion – Sotoyome Post 111 are sponsoring the Healdsburg fireworks show for the 21st year in a row. Cuddle up with the kids on low chairs or a blanket at the athletic field of Healdsburg High School (1024 Prince Ave) to watch the spectacular 40 minute show, or avoid the crowd on one of the numerous side roads (you’ll want to stake out your place early).
Admission: FREE, but donation is gladly welcomed (send check to American Legion Veterans, P.O. Box 208, Healdsburg, CA 95448)


Cloverdale Lion’s “Pyrospectacular
Monday, July 4th – Fireworks start at 9pm
Bundle up the kids, grab the picnic blankets, and head out to the annual fireworks show at the football field of Cloverdale High (509 N. Cloverdale Blvd). The event is hosted by the Lion’s Club, funded by the TNT fireworks sales in the weeks before the event.
Admission: Donation, though no one will be turned away for lack of funds.


4th of July Fireworks Festival
Monday, July 4th – Events starts at 4pm, fireworks start at dusk (9-ish)
Get to the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds (175 Fairgrounds Dr) early to take part in Petaluma’s zesty event. The grounds will be teeming with food and drink from local merchants, as well as some sugary sweet morsels for dessert. Groove to live music by Clean Slate and Rock Skool, and let the kids enjoy entertainment like face painting and balloons. At dusk, camp out on the grounds with your blankets and low chairs to enjoy the show in the sky!
Admission: $2, kid under 6 FREE


Rancho Adobe Firefighters Association Pancake Breakfast
Saturday June 2nd – breakfast will be served from 7-11am
Grab the family and support your local firemen with a hearty breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and sausage. Held at the Rancho Adobe Fire Dept #2 on the corner of Old Redwood Hwy and Main Street (11000 Main St), the breakfast is one of their biggest fundraisers. Call (707) 795-6011 for more information.
Breakfast: $7 adults, $5 kids 12 & under.

Penngrove Parade and BBQ
Sunday, July 3rd – Parade starts at 11am, followed by BBQ and festivities
Head out to Penngrove Park for some good old-fashioned BBQ as well as the town’s traditional parade! Touted the “Biggest Little Parade”, Main Street is filled with those who come back year after year to enjoy the annual parade that highlights the community’s youth, local programs, and, of course, all things patriotic. For a peek at what’s in store, you’ll want to check out P360’s blog Above the Brim for their take on last year’s parade. This will be the parade’s 36th year. After the parade, enjoy the fantastic BBQ at Penngrove Park. Pit beef, chicken or combo plate $12, BBQ beef sandwich $6, hot dogs, oysters. Bring an apple pie to the park for their Old Fashion American Apple Pie Contest, dance to live music performed by Charlie Baker, and have at the many craft booths and games. Proceeds benefit the Penngrove Social Firemen’s Community Clubhouse and the park. No dogs or coolers.
Admission: FREE


Sonoma’s 4th of July Parade and Plaza Celebration
Monday, July 4th – 9am – 5pm, parade starts at 10am
A tradition among Sonoma families, this is an event that is looked forward to all year long. This year’s theme is “Our Local Heroes” with floats that honor past and present locals of Sonoma who have inspired and led others in their life. Food and carnival games will be in the Plaza, surrounded by the tunes of live music by the Bautista Band and The Joe Chaplain Band. For more info, visit the article in the Sonoma Towns section.
Admission: FREE


Doggie Festival and Pawtriotic Day
Saturday July 2nd – 9am
Kunde Family Estates is inviting the whole family in their annual Doggie Festival at their winery (9825 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood). And of course, your furry friends are invited. Bring the dogs for a short hike, a doggy parade, doggy portraits, vendors, art, and more. Plus, take part in some of the finest BBQ as well as an Eco-Tour and Wine Tasting. Pre-registration is required at Call (707) 282-1534 for more information.
Admission: $35/person

Kenwood’s July 4th Hometown Parade
Monday July 4th
Eat – 7:00 am, Pancake Breakfast at Kenwood Community Church (9637 Channing Row, Kenwood)
Run – 7:30 am, 3k-10k Kenwood Footrace,
Watch – 10:00 am, Kenwood Hometown Parade Plaza Park
Wake up early and join your neighbors for a Pancake Breakfast provided by Kenwood Community Church. Better fuel up good, too, because the Kenwood Footrace starts at 7:30am, winding through the backroads of Kenwood. Of course, if you haven’t registered for the race by June 30th, watching this fun event is just as fun. Stick around after the race and you’ll catch this year’s Kenwood Parade, themed “Old Fashioned Kenwood 4th of July”, made up of animals and kids, bikes and vintage cars, music, Uncle Sam, and more. 


Sebastopol Kiwanis July 3 Fireworks and Music Extravaganza!
Sunday July 3rd – event starts at 5:30pm, fireworks start at dusk
Some of the most delicious food venues will be setting up camp at Analy High School (6950 Analy Ave, Sebastopol) this July 3rd for the Sebastopol’s Independence Day celebration. Screamin’ Mimi’s, Martha’s Mexico, Mary’s Pizza….and more! The Analy Choir will perform songs as well as a Flag Ceremony. And you will enjoy live music by the Bija Children’s Choir, Harvest Band, and Blue Moon. No pets, alcohol, or personal fireworks will be allowed. Blankets and low chairs are recommended, though bleacher seating is available.
Admission: Adults $8, Youth 6-11 $4, 5 & under FREE

4th of July Concert – Ives Park Sebastopol
Monday, July 4th – event starts at 11am
Start the 4th of July out right with a free outdoor concert performed by the Sebastopol Community Band in Ives Park (S High St & Willow St, Sebastopol). Patriotic favorites will be performed under the direction of Nathan Riebli. For more information, contact (707) 889-0515
Admission: FREE

West County

Monte Rio Events
Saturday July 2nd, all day events
Big Rocky Games will be from 11am-4pm on both July 2nd and July 3rd, different events each day! There will be inner tube races, rock skipping, a swim race, an ice cream eating contest, and more. FREE for everyone! The Monte Rio Volunteer Fireman’s Association BBQ will run from noon – 5pm on Saturday at the firehouse (corner of Main St & Starrett Hill Rd. And the Water Carnival boat parade and Water Curtain start at dusk, followed by fireworks!

Guerneville Events
Sunday July 3rd, all day events
Come to the Plaza (Main St, just as you enter Guerneville) 10am-6pm for their annual Downtown Crafts Fair. At nearby Larks Drugs (16251 Main St, Guerneville), the Russian River Rotary will be holding their BBQ from 12-7pm, complete with live music and activities for kids. Wrap up the block party with the Fireworks on the River, starting at dusk.

Bodega Bay Events
Saturday July 2nd, all day events
The Bodega Bay Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast will be held at the Bodega Bay Grange (1370 Bodega Ave, across from Candy & Kites) from 7:30-11:30am. I even heard a solid rumor that along with the usual favorites, they’ll also be serving mimosas! Adults are $8, kids are $5. After breakfast, stick around for the Flea Market at the Grange, starting at noon and going till 8pm. And at 9:30pm, enjoy a spectacular show of Fireworks over Bodega Bay. They can be seen from a lot of places near the coast (around the Tides Wharf area is best) or you can join the party going on over at Westside Regional Park (2400 Westshore Rd). Be sure to dress warm! And throughout the whole day, take part in the raffle contest. Visit participating stores (list can be seen at, receive at least 5 stamps, and enter to win a gift package of more than $1000 treats from local businesses.

Weekend of words

The rain held us captive most of the weekend, much to both our delight and dismay. To be forced to have a weekend where we really couldn’t go much of anywhere was a gift in disguise, handed to us on a silver-lined cloud that we happily accepted. But it also meant that several things were going to be missed that weekend. For one, my daughter’s last soccer game was now unfortunately put off until a sunnier weekend (though it did save me from cheering her on through chattering teeth, wondering how I was going to do the obligatory photo capturing thing when all I wanted to do was bury myself under a sea of blankets). It also meant that our planned trip to the Pumpkin Maze was postponed yet again. Every weekend, something has come up to force us to abandon our plans, promising that next weekend we would go. And being that we are so close to Halloween, I am wondering if I’m going to be explaining the broken promise of traveling the maze to my kids as I tell them there’s always next year. But still, the negative was trumped by the positive of staying in PJs all weekend long, snuggling up by a fire in what was finally a true autumn weekend.

Of course, rainy day weekends mean that there has to be some creativity on a parent’s part. I don’t care if you are a parent of a toddler or a teen, your kid is still going to be bored on days when they are forced to stay inside, claiming there is nothing to do. And it was by accident that we figured out a way to occupy the weekend. I can’t really take any credit, it was actually my son’s idea. We had taken out the game of Risk, the boardgame of world domination by driving the players totally insane through rules that seem to change with every single turn. We hadn’t even gotten past the first round of turns when I flipped the board over in a tantrum after it wasn’t going my way and who cares about this stupid game anyway (just kidding, but I was totally tempted). And that’s when my son suggested a Spelling Bee.

Oh sure, that sound like a load of fun. Let’s find words on our days off of school and spell them out. That is almost as much fun as cleaning the oven or vacuuming the couch cushions. Still reeling from the brain twisting game of Risk, I was not much help in the “things to do” department. Luckily, Mr. W wasn’t nearly as affected by complex board games, and he grabbed the dictionary and flipped it to a random word.

“Spell ‘quandary’,” he said. And the Taz started, getting the word right on the first try. DQ’s interest was piqued, and she joined in on the next word. “Voluptuous.” “Can you use that in a…sentence,” she giggled, citing a Family Guy reference that is a little too un-PC for a family blog.  We flipped from page to page, trying to stump the kids over and over, and even stumping ourselves from time to time as we took a stab at it. If one person got it wrong, the word was retried by everyone until someone spelled it correctly. We began to keep track of the score, each kid earning a point for a correctly spelled word.

The game ended in a tie after the final word, ‘Iraqi’, had both kids scratching their heads, not convinced that some words with the letter ‘Q’ could be spelled without a ‘U’ following it. It was bedtime, forcing an end to a game that didn’t cost us any more than the dictionary that already existed on our bookshelf.

Much of the rest of the weekend was dedicated to TV (yeah Giants!!!), the temptation of couch lounging too great to resist. But the weekend wrapped up with the kids and I dedicated to various wordsy projects – me plummeting unapologetically into a book I’d been meaning to open, my daughter in her latest novel writing idea, and my son determined to create the best rap a 9 year old could create (“Can I use bad words if I bleep them out, mom?” “No.” “What if I start to say them, but use a different word instead?” “No.” “How about if I-” “NO!”). And it was the perfect end to a rain-filled weekend that managed to avoid the “I’m bored” blues.

For more ideas on what to do on a rainy day, be sure to check out the article on Rainy Day Boredom Busters.

What did you do for fun this rainy weekend? 

Places to go: The Beach

This has been a really foggy, cold week, hasn’t it? And next week it’s supposed to rain. The weekend is coming, and inevitably the kids will be saying, “I’m bored!” But with the weather as cold as it is, what exactly can you do to keep the kids from tearing apart the house and driving you crazy?

Go to the beach!

I know, I know. It’s not like Sonoma County beaches are known for their warmth at any time of the year. And yes, it is going to be cold. But hey, it’s cold already. You might as well bundle the kids up and take a trek out to Bodega, brave the winds, and watch your red cheeked child grin toothy smiles as they dig into the sand and chase seagulls away. Be sure to check out one of the many kite shops on the way there, or bring one of your own. The windy weather is perfect to bring out the stunt kite and whip it around the sky. The beaches are less crowded right now, so parking is not an issue. And there is plenty of room on the beach to walk the length of it, or to throw a Frisbee around. And right now is the start of the whale migration. If you go to one of our whale watching areas (such as Bodega Head), you may see a family of gray whales make their way through our ocean!

The beach is my family’s favorite place to go, well, anytime! But we especially like to go in the winter. We run around on the sand to keep warm, discover new caves or things in the sand, try to keep the kite in the air (instead of accidentally divebombing unsuspecting victims), and take lots of pictures. And when our fingers are so chilled we can barely move them, and our noses are running faster than we are, we get into our warm car and take a drive over to the Tides Restaurant. In their deli they sell the best tasting clam chowder I have ever had. We buy a pint of that and a loaf of sourdough bread, and then split it between the three of us. It’s the perfect way to warm our insides after a day of outside cold fun! Oh, and we never leave for home without a bag of salt water taffy, quietly munching them the whole ride back.

Weekend Family Fun, Dec 18 – 20

This is the last weekend of the holidays – enjoy it! This weekend is when the Sebastopol Ballet performs their version of The Nutcracker, and when homes up the ante in their light displays. If you find time in between shopping for that last minute gift or finishing up your wrapping, grab the munchkins and head out for some local weekend fun!

Sebastopol Ballet presents “The Nutcracker”   Last year, my kids and I had the pleasure of seeing Sebastopol Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker. Let me say, if you happen to go to this show you are in for a treat! The ballerina’s are incredibly talented and sweep you into their story through dance. And the little Ginger Snaps hiding under Mother Ginger’s skirts? Precious! This year is the school’s 18th year performing the Nutcracker. On opening night, be sure to partake in some complimentary treats, or the Sugar Plum party before each matinee. Call (707)576-3906 for more information, or visit their website.
Fri – Sun, December 18-20, 2009
Friday 7:00pm
Saturday 2:00pm & 7:00pm
Sunday 2:00pm
Analy High School Theater, Sebastopol, CA
Price: $18.00 Reserved, $15.00 General, $10.00 Senior/Youth

Holiday Lights and Dessert  This holiday season as you troll the neighborhoods for festive lights to ooh and ahh over, be sure you don’t miss 2045 Filamina Place, Santa Rosa. They will be serving hot chocolate, candy, and cookies on Saturday evening from 5:30pm – 9:30pm. For a full listing of holiday light displays in the area, be sure to check the Press Democrat’s list of homes that have gone all out, sent in by readers like you!
Sat, Dec 19th, 5:30-9:30pm
2045 Filamina Place, Santa Rosa

2nd Annual Holiday Wonderland Craft Faire   Don’t miss your last chance to find beautiful gifts and homemade crafts for yourself, or for someone you love! The Monte Rio Recreation & Park District is hosting their 2nd annual craft faire at the Monte Rio Community Center. Vendors will be selling a multitude of wonderful items, including soaps and candles, pottery, children’s toys, knit hats, and more. Call 707-865-9956 for more information, or visit their website.
Fri – Sun, December 18-20, 2009
Friday, 11-7pm
Saturday, 10-6pm
Sunday, 10-4pm
Monte Rio Community Center, 20488 Highway 116.

Little Hoopers- Basketball Basics for Tots  By the time kids are 2, you can pretty much tell if they are geared for sports. I knew this of my own son as he threw a perfectly arced ball right at my head from across the room, giggling as I ducked for cover just in time. Two former college basketball players with preschoolers of their own have developed Little Hoopers, a fun class for your ball hucking munchkin. The class is geared towards 2 – 4 year olds, and will include fun games and simple drills. They’ll learn to pass, shoot, and even slam-dunk a basketball! Call 707-775-8951 for more information, or visit their website.
Saturday, Dec 19 10:00a to 10:45a
Price: $ 7 per child or two for $10 sibling or friend
Sebastopol Community Center, Sebastopol, CA

Note: There will not be an events blog for the weekend of the 26th & 27th, or the 2nd & 3rd.  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!  Enjoy this time with your families and I hope you have a wonderful holiday week!

Weekend Family Fun Dec 12 – 13

A story by the fire at an inviting hotel, breakfast with Santa, hoping Eeyore finds his tail…..  This weekend is filled with lots of fun activities for you to enjoy with your children!

Light up a Life Tree Lighting   The holidays are especially hard when you have lost someone close to you. In Railroad Square this Saturday, you can join others in honoring your loved ones in a special and touching ceremony put on by Hospice of Petaluma and Memorial Hospice. This event is now in its 25th year. During the community tree lighting, there will be music, inspiration, and remembrance.
RR Square, Santa Rosa
Sat Dec 12th, 6 – 7pm

Once Upon a Gingerbread House   My mom used to go to the neighbor’s house for a ladies’ night in December and then come home with a special Gingerbread House that she had made for display. I never understood why the house was for looking only and not for eating. It didn’t matter. By the time Christmas came around, it looked like little mice had taken bites out of the house, stolen all the M&Ms, and left only half eaten walls and the yucky black licorice. Don’t be like my mom.* Take your precious child to create a house of their own at the Sonoma County Library this Saturday. And if they can’t just look at it, let them have a nibble.
So Co Library, Santa Rosa
Sat Dec12th, 11am – 12pm

*Let it be known that my mom was actually a great mom, and pretty much knew that my sisters and I were the little mice massacring her lovely gingerbread creation.

Breakfast with Santa   Mark this on your calendar! Santa is taking a little time off from the busy work being done at the North Pole, and headed to Costeaux Bakery in Healdsburg for breakfast! Dine on a decadent quiche or a buttery croissant with the Big Guy himself. Be sure to bring your camera so that your munchkins can take advantage of a great photo op!
PDF of the Breakfast Menu
Costeaux Bakery, Healdsburg
Sat Dec 12th, 9 – 11am

Holiday Storytelling   A warm cozy fire, riveting tale after tale being told, all the makings to bring the coziness into the holiday season. Come enjoy the warmth of Hotel Healdsburg in a classic family setting before heading back out into the freezing December air.
Hotel Healdsburg in front of the FP
Sat Dec 12th, 1 – 2pm

Magical Toyland Exhibit and Kid’s Open House   The Healdsburg Museum is opening its doors for this wonderful event showcasing toys from the 1860’s – 1960’s. What? No Guitar Hero in the 1800’s??? How did kids ever have fun? Give your kids an entertaining view of how toys used to be, and how cool these toys really are. Beyond toys, there will be games, crafts, storytelling, carols, and plenty of treats.
Healdsburg Museum & Historical Society
Sat Dec 12th, 1 – 3pm

Winnie the Pooh Christmas Tail   Oh dear. Eeyore has lost his tail, and it’s just before Christmas! Luckily he has plenty of friends in the 100-acre wood that can help him find it. Watch this musical adventure put on by the Raven Theatre players in Healdsburg this weekend or next. Tickets can be purchased at door, or in advance by calling 707-433-6335.
Sat Dec 12th or 19th, 11am, 2pm, or 7 pm
Sun Dec 13th and 20th, 2pm and 4pm
Raven Theatre, 115 North Street, Healdsburg
$10 adults, $5 kids under 12

Weekend Family Fun, Dec 5th – 6th

You know what I love about the holidays?  It seems like everyone is in the holiday spirit as they decorate their homes and businesses, and the reasons to get together and celebrate multiply.  As the weather turns a bit crisper, breath comes out in puffs of fog against the chilly air, and cheeks are a bit rosier behind wool scarves and hats, the smiles are contagious as each town celebrates this festive time of year. 

Do you know what you’re doing this weekend?   

Wolcott Family Light Show  Remember the Halloween display on Jose Ramon Ave? Well, the Wolcott’s have done it again for Christmas. Their lights are sequenced to Christmas music, and are sure to wow the crowds that are on a hunt for Christmas lights around town. The show starts this Saturday, and goes on until the end of the month. This year they have even wirelessly included their neighbors in the show, rigging their lights to blink and shine with the music. The shows last 35 minutes apiece, and are a must see on your journey for Christmas displays in the area!
Starts Saturday, Dec 5th, and goes on till Dec 31st.
Sunday – Thursday 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
472 Jose Ramon Ave, Santa Rosa

Guerneville Parade of Lights   Colorful floats and live music will rock Guerneville’s Main Street under the theme of Rockin’ Holiday. Residents of Guerneville won’t want to miss the traditional lighted parade Saturday night. If you want to see what the parade was like 2 years ago, here’s a link to Farmtube’s video on YouTube.  Fun for adults and toddlers alike!
Saturday, Dec 5th, 7pm – 8pm
16209 First St. Downtown Guerneville

Mrs. Grossman’s Warehouse Sale  Can I just say that I am a little more than excited about this event??? I remember my mom taking me when I was a kid. There were tables upon tables, filled with every kind of sticker you could imagine at extremely discounted prices. We would load up on stickers, bringing them to the checkstand by the armload. And then after, we’d go up to the storeroom to see what was new over at Mrs. Grossman. If you are a scrapbooker, or you have a child that loves stickers, or if you are just plain human, this event is one that can’t be missed. Mrs. Grossman’s stickers are known for their great quality and originality, and they are acid free, so they won’t ruin your pictures. Get there early, because this event is anticipated by everyone in the know.
Saturday, Dec 5th, 9am -5:30pm
Mrs. Grossman’s Warehouse – 3810 Cypress Dr. Petaluma
Join their
Facebook page for more info.

Merchants’ Holiday Open Houses   Various merchants in Downtown Petaluma will be taking part in an Open House that kicks off the annual “Shop and Crawl” in Petaluma. The event includes Horse & Carriage rides as well as Rickshaw rides, caroling by the Petaluma High School Choir, Fairy Dust Face painting, dancing, balloon animals, and lots of activities and discounts/freebies at all of the participating stores. See site for a list of participating vendors.
Sat, Dec 5th, 10am – 6pm
Downtown Petaluma

Lighted Boat Parade, sponsored by the Petaluma Yacht Club. After the Holiday Open House, come down to the Petaluma River and watch a fleet of decorated and lighted boats make their way from the Petaluma Marina to the Turning Basin. The boats will remain docked there as folks gather in Downtown Petaluma for caroling, and to enjoy entertainment and food at the surrounding shops. Santa will be there too, handing out treats to all the kids.
Saturday, Dec 5th
Boats leave Petaluma Marina at 6pm, and dock at Turning Basin at 6:30pm

Ways to Give

This Saturday is the Winter Whiskers & Wine Event at the Sonoma Humane Society, open from 12noon – 5 pm. While there, you will have the chance to help animals with a sponsorship of $5, $10, or $25. There will be hot cocoa, sparkling wine, a bake sale, and a drawing for a prize. Dogs are welcome also, and you can get a holiday picture taken of your pet for a donation of $10. See the website for more details on this fun event to support a worthy cause.

Weekend Family Fun, Nov 28 – 29

If you’ve come out of your turkey coma and can tear yourself away from the Black Friday doorbusters (be sure to see my blog entry on not-to-miss events going on today), here are some festive events that will be happening this weekend.

Santa’s Riverboat Arrival This has become a yearly tradition for us. We park downtown and make the trek over to the bridge so we can see it lift for the riverboat that carries Santa, Mrs. Claus, and all of their crew. After they greet the kids and pass out candy canes, they will journey over to Haus Fortuna for some free photo ops. We hope to see you there!
Sat, Nov 28th, Noon
Historic Downtown Petaluma

Petaluma Downtown Craft Mart There’s been a lot of buzz about this event. Even Frank Simpson of Petaluma Spectator wrote up on this event. There will be lots of great raffle prizes, tons of crafts, and free swag  for the first 50 patrons. This Craft Mart was even named a “Holiday Show You Can’t Miss” by Bazaar Bizarre.
Sun, Nov 29th from noon-5pm
Hotel Petaluma – 205 Kentucky Street, Petaluma, CA
$1 donation
Free Parking

Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair Being that this is Arts and Craft season, I couldn’t miss including the Holiday Faire being held by the Rohnert Park Recreation Department. This will be its 30th year running, and a great opportunity to see the work of talented artists and crafts people from all corners of Sonoma County. Santa will be there as well, busy guy that he is, and will be available for pictures.
Sat, Nov 28th 10:00a to 4:00p
Rohnert Park Community Center, Rohnert Park, CA

Cottage Gardens Holiday Open House What could be more festive than enjoying fresh baked cookies, cider, music, and good times in a beautiful garden setting? Cottage Gardens of Petaluma is opening their garden gates for an open house to start planning your garden, or finding that perfect gift for someone on your list. With any purchase of $25 or more, you will receive a free vintage ornament.
Sat, Nov 28th, 9:00a to 5:00p
Cottage Gardens of Petaluma, Petaluma, CA

Holiday Barn Sale Oilcloth Churcherias is holding their holiday barn sale where they will be selling oilcloth products, including oilcloth by the yard. Along with their market and computer bags, aprons, and tablecloths in a multitude of funky prints, there will also be jewelry, hand-painted crafts, photos, and so much more. Don’t miss the tamales and salsa put together by Mi Fiesta Catering (mmmmm!).
Sat, Nov 28th 10:00a to 3:00p
9201 Ross Station Rd, Sebastopol

Christkindlemarkt (Christmas/Holiday Market)
For a holiday market with a worldly flair, the Christkindlemarket will be a sure bet. Enjoy the many hand-made crafts, food, and music from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Munch on some brats and sauerkraut, and take the kids to get their photo with Santa.
Sun, Nov 29th 10:00a to 4:00p
at Hermann Sons Hall, Petaluma, CA



The Secret Santa Program, partnered with The Volunteer Center’s Giving Tree program, KZST’s Secret Santa Marathon and letter, and with support from Friedman Bros, has provided holiday joy to over 13,000 underprivileged children, vulnerable adults and lonely seniors in Sonoma County – just last year! This year is an especially marginal time as the economy has hit many of our Sonoma County neighbors. Dig a little deeper this year and help make the holidays brighter for a family in need. The Secret Santa Program spells out several ways to do this. First, you can pluck a heart from a tree at many of the businesses around the county that have a name on it and what they are hoping to receive for the holidays. Second, you can visit the KZST website, located at, and adopt a family or person in need. They also read letters every morning. Or third, the volunteer center is looking for more volunteers. Contact them at   to find out how you can help so that more needs are met in our county.

For more ways to help out this season, and all year round, be sure to check out Good Deeds, a blog on ways to serve our community.


Just a reminder, today is the last day to mail out your child’s letter to Santa so that it might run in the Press Democrat’s Holiday Gift Guide on December 10th. See forum for details.