Summertime memories are best made casually—the late-night walks, the impromptu skinny-dipping sessions, the boozy kisses and the houses full of friends. But planning your summer is key also, if only to make sure you don't miss the best that the North Bay has to offer. Here's our selective list of ways to spend the hottest season of the year, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Napa Chefs' Market It's not all about wine in Napa—there's food, too. At the Napa Chefs' Market, check out two cooking demonstrations each night and enjoy the finished product. Local produce for sale, live music. Thursdays, May 16 through Aug. 1, downtown Napa. 5–9pm. Free. 707.257.0322.
Larkspur Flower & Food Fest Local gardeners bring their best flora to the 23rd annual celebration of pretty things that smell good and good things to eat. May 26 on Magnolia Avenue, downtown Larkspur. 11am–6pm. Free. 415.924.3803.
Oysterpalooza Celebrate the bivalve with New Orleans cuisine, live music and, of course, salty, sweet oysters in this sixth annual event. Music by Arann Harris and the Farm Band, the Crux, Church Marching Band, the Far West, Windy Hill Bluegrass and Supermule. Music begins at noon for the May 26 event at Rocker Oysterfellers, 14415 Hwy. 1, Valley Ford. $15, does not include food. 707.876.1983.
Healdsburg Jazz Festival Triumphantly returning for its 15th year, this not-to-be-missed, 10-day music festival delivers a straight-ahead jazz lineup of vibrant talent including Carla Bley, Charlie Haden, Ravi Coltrane, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Geri Allen, Lee Konitz, Bill Frisell and many others. Various locations in and around Healdsburg. May 31–June 9. Prices vary per event. 707.433.4633. www.healdsburgjazzfestival.org.
- RAVI COLTRANE
Friday Night Live The small town of Cloverdale hosts this big music series in conjunction with its farmers market. Among others, it features Roy Rogers & the Delta Rhythm Kings (May 31); Tommy Castro & the Painkillers (June 21); Hot Buttered Rum (July 12); SambaDá (July 26); and Chuck Prophet & the Mission Express (Aug. 30). May 31–Aug. 30 in the Town Square, Main Street, Cloverdale. Free. www.cloverdaleartsalliance.org.
Pride Comedy Night Sonoma County's most popular pride event, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender celebration features the riotous humor of comedian Marga Gomez on June 1. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 8pm. $35–$45. 707.546.3600.
Sonoma County Children's Museum Witness the groundbreaking for this fun museum that will surely delight for several generations. June 1. 10am. Future site of Sonoma County Children's Museum, 1835 W. Steele Lane, Santa Rosa. $5. 707.546.4069.
Beerfest: The Good One! Eat, drink and be merry to support Face to Face—Sonoma County Aids Network. With more than 50 microbreweries, this event is a who's who of Northern California artisans. June 1, 1–5pm. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. Twenty-one and over (alcohol till 4:30pm). $45. 707.546.3600. www.f2f.org.
Mateel Center Summer Arts & Music Festival The most comprehensive celebration of art and music on the North Coast kicks off with music from over 60 local bands, musicians, dance troupes, and children's entertainers. Over 150 handmade craft and food booths, an all-media fine arts showcase, the Outrageous Kid Zone, Belly Dance Temple and more on June 1–2 at Benbow Lake State Recreation Area. $15–$25; kids free. www.mateel.org.
Marin Home & Garden Expo Exhibitors, lectures and demos showcase all things for house and yard in Marin County at this third annual expo event. Put on by the Marin Builders Association, all proceeds benefit the association's scholarship fund. June 1–2. Marin Center Fairgrounds and Exhibit Hall, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 10am–5pm. $10. Free for kids 12 and under. 415.507.1537.