Has it finally stopped raining? Really? That must mean that summer is near and it wouldn't be summer without our Hot Summer Guide, your official program to all the music, festivals, art shows and fun that summer in the North Bay has to offer.
Season of Wine & Lavender What began as a daylong celebration is now a three-month season—May through July 15—of tastings, food pairings and tours of lavender-filled fields. Special events include plein air painting sessions and photography safaris, with winemaker seminars elevating the palate at Matanzas Creek Winery. 6097 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. matanzascreek.com.
Funky Fridays The weekly summer series brings popular North Bay bands like the Bruthas (May 26), Hour of Tower (June 23) and Frobeck (Aug. 4) to the gorgeous lawn in front of the historic Hood Mansion while raising money for Sonoma Valley parks every Friday through Sept. 1. 1450 N. Pythian Road, Santa Rosa. Doors at 5:30pm. $10; kids under 18, free. funkyfridays.info.
BottleRock Napa Valley The biggest concert festival to hit Napa has been sold-out for months, so hopefully you already got your tickets to see headliners Maroon 5, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Foo Fighters, and eat the best of Napa Valley food and wine. May 26–28 at the Napa Valley Expo Center. 575 Third St., Napa. bottlerocknapavalley.com.
- SNAP! Broadway Under the Stars returns to Jack London Park in June.
Oysterpalooza Celebrate the bivalve by eating everything oyster, with a heavy bent on the cuisine of New Orleans. There are also plenty of drinks and live music by the Sam Chase & the Untraditional, Dirty Cello and others. May 28 at Rocker Oysterfeller's. 14415 Hwy. 1, Valley Ford. Noon. $10–$20 (does not include food). 707.876.1983.
JaM Cellars Ballroom The historic ballroom that sits above Blue Note Jazz Club in downtown Napa is now known as the JaM Cellars Ballroom, at the Margrit Mondavi Theatre, to be exact, but we're more excited about the lineup than the title. After a slew of BottleRock after-parties featuring performers like Bob Moses and House of Pain, the ballroom hosts performers that range from Jazz Getaway founder Brian Culbertson (June 10) and laidback songwriter Donavon Frankenreiter (June 16), to events like the community dance event Salsa con Vino (June 17) and a benefit for the Schoolbox Project with the Brothers Comatose and others (July 7). 1030 Main St., Napa. Full lineup at bluenotenapa.com and jamcellarsballroom.com.
Concerts at Montgomery Village Santa Rosa's Montgomery Village Shopping Center offers several music lineups throughout the season. Look for rocking weekend afternoon and Thursday-evening shows with bands and performers like Pride & Joy, Pete Escovedo's Latin Jazz Ensemble and others. June 1 through October. 707.545.3844. Full lineup at mvshops.com.
Sonoma County Pride Celebration What's not to love about 30 years of Russian River pride? This year's festivities start on June 2, with a concert featuring Billy Gilman and Steve Grand at the Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park. On June 3, a Solidarity Rally and National LGTBQI March at Guerneville Lodge features speakers, music and food, and a film festival screens at Rio Theater in Monte Rio. A festival full of entertainment, exhibitors and more follows the annual unity march and parade on June 4. Downtown Guerneville. sonomacountypride.org.
- SIR LAUGH A LOT Bill Murray appears at Festival Napa Valley in July.
Healdsburg Jazz Festival Sound the trumpets and walk that bass right on up to Healdsburg for the 19th annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival. There are over a dozen concerts scheduled, and this year features the Heath Brothers, Bobby Hutcherson Tribute Band, Henry Butler, Joe Lovano Quartet and the Kenny Garrett Quintet among many others. Concerts take place June 2–11 at various locations in and around Healdsburg. Prices vary. 707.433.4633. healdsburgjazzfestival.org.
Uptown Theatre's Summer Lineup Downtown Napa's art deco concert venue welcomes an array of performers to its landmark stage. Veteran Bay Area rockers Y&T perform on June 2. Gifted guitarists Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' team up for Taj Mo on June 15. Celebrity-biting comedian Kathy Griffin takes the mic on June 17. Songwriters Aimee Mann (July 13) and Judy Collins (July 21) dazzle, and Robert Cray brings the band on July 23. 1350 Third St., Napa. 707.259.0123. See full lineup at uptowntheatrenapa.com.
Curtain Call Theatre The company takes on the hilarious play-within-a-play Noises Off June 2–24, including a fundraising Champagne buffet gala closing night, and later in the summer, the company dreams up an adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Salome Sept 1–23 at the Russian River Hall, 20347 Hwy. 116, Monte Rio. $15–$20; $50 gala. 707.524.8739.
Art at the Source More than 160 artists in dozens of studios throughout western Sonoma County open their space to the public for an interactive art experience over two weekends, June 3–4 and June 10–11. Maps can be found at artatthesource.org or at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, the home of the event's preview exhibit, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol. Free. 707.829.4797.
Napa Live: Inside & Out Last year's debut music crawl through Napa was so popular it's back for three days this summer. Thirty locations inside and out once again offer music by more than 40 live bands and performers, with local venues, shops, plazas, patios, restaurants and more hosting Serf & James, Full Chizel, Craig Corona, Lo Watters, the Deadlies and many others throughout downtown Napa on June 4, Sept. 3 and Oct. 1. Noon to 6pm. Free admission. 707.257.0322.
Goose & Gander Music Series Napa Valley's wine country public house is the perfect setting to see locals play on the lush patio. The summer series opens with Lonesome Locomotive on June 4 and continues each Sunday afternoon through Sept. 24. 1245 Spring St., St. Helena. 1pm. goosegander.com.
Live at Lagunitas Everyone's favorite Sonoma County brewery has lots of music on tap this summer in its Petaluma amphitheaterette. High-energy rock band Low Cut Connie open the series on June 6. Soulful hip-hop group Tank & the Bangas perform June 27. Indie rockers Whitney play on July 25. Songwriter James McMurtry croons Aug. 7. Free tickets are limited and go on sale three weeks before each show on the bands' websites, so set your calendars accordingly. 1280 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma. For the full lineup, visit lagunitas.com/live.
Napa Valley Jazz Getaway Musician and producer Brian Culbertson's sixth annual event features an incredible lineup of jazz and R&B artists, including guitarist Marcus Miller, funky frontwoman Candy Dulfer, legendary group the Whispers and more. Wine receptions, dinner concerts and after-parties mix up the fun, June 7–11, at various locations throughout Napa Valley. jazzgetaway.com.
KRUSH Backyard Concerts The summer series reflects the radio's laidback, community-oriented vibe with a selection of North Bay stars of Americana and beyond. On June 8, a pre-party for the forthcoming Railroad Square Music Fest features the Crux crooning along with help from the Easy Leaves and Ashley Allred. Other performers this summer include Keller Williams (June 29), Sang Matiz (July 27) and Kingsborough (Aug. 10). 3565 Standish Ave., Santa Rosa. Doors at5:30pm. Free admission. Get the full schedule at krsh.com.
Huichica Music Festival Sonoma's top two days of music, food and wine features a lineup that includes veteran stars like Robyn Hitchcock, the Mother Hips' Greg Loiacono and Galaxie 500's Dean Wareham, and indie stars like Allah Las, Beachwood Sparks, Cave Singers and Two Sheds. Amazing culinary options like Zuzu and Ippuku, and plenty of beer and wine round out the weekend. June 9–10 at Gundlach Bundschu Winery. 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma. $40–$95; kids 12 and under, free. 707.938.5277.
Sonoma Arts Live Community-produced musicals and plays take center stage at this series of performances. Playwright Steven Dietz's thoughtful comedy Becky's New Car stars Melissa Claire as a mid-life woman considering big changes, June 9–25. Then the 1920s world of vaudeville comes alive when the classic musical Gypsy runs July 14–30. The Rotary Stage in Andrews Hall at the Sonoma Community Center, 276 E. Napa St., Sonoma. sonomaartslive.org.
Beerfest: The Good One Personally, I think all beerfests are good, but this one gets the title for its combination of good brews and a good cause. Whether you prefer hoppy IPAs, sour beers or even ciders, you'll find old favorites and new loves at this massive tasting event featuring nearly 50 pouring stops and awesome food vendors. The day also benefits local nonproft Face to Face, whose mission is ending HIV in Sonoma County and supporting the health and well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS. June 10. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 1pm. $50–$60. beerfestthegoodone.com.
- ROASTED Kathy Griffin brings her celebrity-skewering comedy to Napa in June.
Peggy Sue's All-American Cruise Hundreds of classic, stock and custom All-American Cars roar into Santa Rosa for the annual cruise, and will be on display with live music and awards at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds throughout the day. Then those classic cars roam downtown Santa Rosa in the evening to show off for families and car lovers. June 10. cruiseforpeggysue.com.
Stumptown Daze Parade Join the friends of Stumptown Brewery and the Russian River Chamber of Commerce for a time-honored tradition that celebrates the opening of the summer season on the river. June 10, downtown Guerneville. 11am. russianriver.com.
Creativity Jam Napa's nonprofit arts group Nimbus hosts this seventh annual day of art and entertainment for kids and the kid in us all. Local artists are on hand to lead a variety of projects, and performers like renowned puppet troupe Magical Moonshine Theatre dazzle audiences of any age on June 11 at di Rosa art galleries and grounds, 5200 Sonoma Hwy., Napa. 11am to 3pm. $5–$10; kids under three, free. dirosaart.org.
Railroad Square Music Festival North Bay Hootenanny hosts this third annual day of local music and community in the heart of Santa Rosa. David Luning Band, John Courage, La Gente, Lungs and Limbs, Black Sheep Brass Band and many others take several stages, with a shop party of local vendors, food, beer and wine, art and fun for all. June 11 at Railroad Square, Fourth and Wilson streets, Santa Rosa. Noon. Free admission. railroadsquaremusicfestival.com.
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts The performing arts center brings some of the biggest events and names in music and comedy to the stage this summer. Popular mom bloggers #IMOMSOHARD share their hilarious outlook on life on June 14. Mexico's pop sensations Reik perform on June 23. Comedians Brian Regan (July 14) and Jim Jefferies (July 15) split a weekend of standup. NPR host Ira Glass engages the audience on Aug. 26, and classic rockers Kansas (Sept. 8) and Steve Winwood (Sept. 11) keep the music alive. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 707.546.3600.
Third Thursday Festivals at the Barlow Sebastopol's artisan center of merchants and restaurants is adding live music to its repertoire for select dates throughout the summer. Adult beverages and kids' activities keep everyone happy, and popular bands and a silent disco get the groove going. The Highway Poets bring the rock on June 15, and the series features new acts each third Thursday of the month through October. 6770 McKinley St., Sebastopol. 4pm. thebarlow.net.
Calistoga Concerts in the Park Bring your blankets, lawn chairs, picnic dinners and friends and family to enjoy these weekly concerts in a gorgeous natural setting. Each week's show offers something different, from rock and rollers Kingsborough on June 15, jazz band Swing 7 on July 6, outlaw country jammers Poor Man's Whiskey on Aug 17 and others. Concerts in the park take place every Thursday, June 15–Aug. 17, Pioneer Park, 1308 Cedar St., Calistoga. 6:30pm. Free admission. visitcalistoga.com.
SRJC Summer Rep Classic musicals like West Side Story and Chicago anchor this season's theatrical offerings from the Santa Rosa Junior College. June 16–Aug. 5. 1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. summerrep.com.
Country Summer The biggest country music event in the North Bay also features Western-themed attractions, country-inspired culinary delights and an array of libations. Headliners this year include Darius Rucker, Thomas Rhett, Justin Moore and many more. June 16–18, at Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. $79 and up. 707.543.0100. countrysummer.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 Sonoma County night air. On the schedule this year is Another Openin' Another Show, which opens the season with a tribute to some of the most powerful songs and shows ever written (June 16–July 2). Fantastical Family Night (July 14–15), Fascinating Rhythm (Aug. 4–20) and the Gala Celebration (Sept. 8–10) feature an invigorating blend of movement and song, and also transcend theater in the outdoor winery ruins at Jack London State Park. 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. Pre-show picnics at 5pm; concerts begin at 7:30pm. 877.424.1414.
Cotati Jazz Festival Share in an afternoon of music, food, beer and dancing in the town's 37th annual festival. This event encompasses several venues in downtown Cotati with main acts slated for La Plaza Park, Downtown Cotati. June 17. Noon. Free admission. cotatijazz.com.
Mystic Theatre Summer Concert Lineup The downtown Petaluma venue has a packed schedule this summer with an eclectic array of acts ranging from electronic dance pioneers the Crystal Method (June 20), songwriter Trevor Hall (July 21) and legendary funk group George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic (Aug. 4). Oh yeah, actor Corey Feldman is playing too (seriously!) on June 17, at the Mystic Theatre, 23 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma, 707.765.2121.
Sonoma-Marin Fair This year's music lineup features Tower of Power (June 21), Jana Kramer (June 22), Loverboy (June 23) and John Michael Montgomery (June 24). Don't forget the classics too: the world's ugliest dog contest, destruction derby, carnival rides, fair food and livestock. The fair runs June 21–25, at Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma. sonoma-marinfair.org.
Mondavi Winery Summer Concerts After nearly five decades, this popular concert series shows no sign of slowing down, kicking off this year with a fireworks-worthy show by indie-pop pianist Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness and songwriter Allen Stone on July 1. Blues vocalist Patti LaBelle (July 8), soul band the Revivalists (July 15), socially conscious songwriter Michael Franti & Spearhead (July 22) and Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals (July 29) also appear. Tickets are already selling fast, so don't wait. Robert Mondavi Winery. 7801 St. Helena Hwy., Oakville. Dinner available. $70–$225. 888.766.6328. robertmondaviwinery.com.
Green Music Center Summer 2017 Sonoma State University's superb Weill Hall hosts a season of concert events that spill out on the lawn and span classical, jazz, country, Latin and spoken-word. The season kicks off with a Fourth of July concert featuring Grammy-winning vocalist Kathy Mattea and the Santa Rosa Symphony, followed by fireworks. The GMC Bluegrass Festival returns on July 9 with Del & Dawg, Mark O'Connor & the O'Connor Family Band and Sierra Hull. Other highlights include Gloria Estefan (Jul 15), Diana Krall (Aug 4), Dr. John & the Nite Trippers (Aug. 13) and Common (Sept. 16). 1801 East Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. 866.955.6040.
Napa County Fair & Fireworks Farm fun, rides, clowns and food—this fair's got it all, in one svelte day of blistering excitement. Culminating in a fireworks spectacular in the evening, the fun starts with a parade at noon through downtown Calistoga. July 4 at the Napa County Fair. 1435 North Oak St., Calistoga. napacountyfair.org.
Flynn Creek Circus The boundary-pushing ensemble of performers flies, tumbles and juggles its way into the North Bay with stops at several towns throughout the month. This year's show, "Inter-Active," mixes up the circus magic with improvised comedy that's led by audience suggestions, meaning no two shows will be the same. See the circus in Santa Rosa July 7–9, Sausalito July 13–16, Calistoga July 20–23 and Windsor July 27–30. Get details about locations and times at flynncreekcircus.com.
Wine Country Big Q Seventh annual barbecue competition features grill masters from around the area competing in big beef and bold bean challenges. World-class wines, award-winning brews, craft cider and spirits pair with the meats, and live music makes for a party atmosphere on July 8, Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma. 1pm. $20–$75. winecountrybigq.com.
Sonoma County Yoga Festival With over 30 classes and workshops scheduled, this new community event puts the spotlight on yoga with local studios, food, music, art and more coming together for an exploration of mind and body. July 8–9, 1100 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park. $30–$90.
Rodney Strong Concert Series The wine-tastic annual live music series in the sunny grasslands behind the vineyard features adult contemporary favorites and music legends. This year's lineup includes Chris Isaak (July 8), Kenny Loggins (July 23), Chris Botti (Aug 27) and Kool & the Gang (Sept. 9). Rodney Strong Vineyards, 11455 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg. 5pm. $89–$129. 800.514.3849.
Petaluma Art & Garden Festival Presented by the Petaluma Downtown Association, the fest brings local eats, beer and wine and plenty of music to town for a 16th year. The vendor booths offer unique and charming items for the home and garden, plus animal mobiles and fun fairy clothing for the wee ones. The event also includes the annual chalk art competition. July 9. Kentucky and Fourth streets, Petaluma. 11am. petalumadowntown.com.
SOMO Concerts Rohnert Park's grand outdoor venue, the SOMO Village Event Center, once again packs a powerhouse lineup of performers for its seasonal series. California Roots presents reggae-infused hip-hop groups Dirty Heads and SOJA on July 11. The good vibes continue with Reggae Sunsplash, featuring Third World, Sol Horizon and others on July 29. Then things turn blue when harmonica master and North Bay–based Blues Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Musselwhite headlines the Sonoma County Blues Festival on Aug. 19. 1100 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park. somoconcerts.com.
Shakespeare in the Cannery Santa Rosa's outdoor theater experience, set in the brick ruins of a former canning warehouse, returns for an experimental season of works. First, David Lear directs In the Mood, a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, July 13–Aug 5. Then Jared Sakren directs Fairy Worlds, a new take on Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, Aug. 10–Sept. 2. 3 W. Third St., Santa Rosa. Gates at 5pm; shows at 7pm. shakespeareinthecannery.com.
- Jessie McCall
- BROTHERLY LOVE Popular Bay Area siblings the Brothers Comatose sound as good as they look when they play Napa in August.
Sonoma County Comedy Fest Local grape-stomping and funny-bone-smashing company Crushers of Comedy host a three-day standup extravaganza with a diverse lineup of comedians, including Desi Comedy Fest co-founder Samson Koletkar, West Coast alternative comedian Priyanka Wali and veteran standup and television writer Ronn Vigh. A slew of craft beers, winetasting, live music and more come together July 13–15 at the Crushers of Comedy's own brand-new lounge, the Laugh Cellar, 5755 Mountain Hawk Way, Santa Rosa. crushersofcomedy.com.
Festival Napa Valley Formerly called the Festival del Sole, this annual event offers more than 60 events over 10 days, ranging from concerts and dance performances to vintner-led luncheons and free community events. Opening night's gala features Danielle de Niese and Paulo Szot. Other performers include Joshua Bell, Gloria Estefan and Bill Murray's new touring project. Special events like the fundraising Arts for All Gala and Taste of Napa also highlight the festival, July 14–23, at various venues in the Napa Valley. festivalnapavalley.org.
Rivertown Revival The Friends of the Petaluma River once again present the "Greatest Slough on Earth," with live music, boat races, local food and drinks, crafty vendors and family fun. As in past years, this summer event also boasts local color and is one of the most eco-friendly fests in the North Bay, happening on July 22 at the McNear Peninsula at D and Copeland streets, Petaluma. rivertownrevival.com.
Reggae on the River Presented by the Mateel Community Center, the 33rd annual incarnation of this laid-back, family-friendly festival features Slightly Stoopid, Sly & Robbie with Marcia Griffiths, Walshy Fire with Kabaka Pyramid, J Boog and many others. Aug. 3–6 at French's Camp. 657 Hwy. 101, Garberville. Camping is included in the price of your event ticket. reggaeontheriver.com.
Sonoma County Fair This year, it's a celebration of "Holidaze at the Fair" with the largest themed flower show in the country, and horse racing, rodeo, destruction derby, carnival rides, local art and agriculture. Separate admission is required for some events. Fair runs Aug. 3–13. Horse racing happens Aug. 3–6, 10–13, and 18–20. Sonoma County Fairgrounds. 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. 11am to 9pm; closed Mondays. $6–$12; children under six are free. Sonomacountyfair.com.
Russian River Valley Experience & Somm Challenge Experience the flavors of five convenient Russian River neighborhoods, where six or more wineries will gather to share wine, food and more. There's also a special sommelier dinner where top somms pair with five top chefs, and you judge the culinary results. Aug. 4–6, throughout Russian River Valley. rrvw.org.
- NEW ORLEANS SOUL Offbeat R&B outfit Tank & the Bongas do it up at Live at Lagunitas in June.
Music in the Vineyards Now in its 23rd season, this nationally acclaimed chamber-music festival brings together renowned musicians from around the world to perform at the most picturesque locations in the Napa Valley. This year, the Escher, Pacifica and Chiara String quartets and the Horszowski Trio perform as the festival's ensembles-in-residence and special guest performers joining in on the music, Aug. 4–27, at a dozen winery venues in the Napa Valley. $55 and up. musicinthevineyards.org.
Petaluma Music Festival The 10th annual festival benefiting music programs in Petaluma schools features its biggest and best lineup yet. Headlining are North Bay favorites the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, with Scott Law & Ross James' Cosmic Twang, T Sisters, Royal Jelly Jive and many others. Aug. 5 at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma. Noon. $50. petalumamusicfestival.org.
Gravenstein Apple Fair Billed as the "sweetest little fair in Sonoma County," the 44th annual event, presented by Sonoma County Farm Trails, praises local pollinators and celebrates the local Gravenstein apple in all its delicious glory, with several food vendors, live music and local arts and crafts. Look for the artisan tasting lounge, the farm life arena, kids' activities and games and contests throughout. Aug. 12–13 at Ragle Ranch Park, 500 Ragle Road, Sebastopol. 10am to 6pm. gravensteinapplefair.com.
- AMERICAN LIFE NPR's Ira Glass tells stories with dry wit at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in August.
Cotati Accordion Festival Accordion veteran Marjorie Konrad is saluted as the honorary director and an international cavalcade of stars takes the stage at this 27th annual squeezebox party. International stars like Finland's Tiia Karttunen and Serbia's Ljubinka Kulisic perform, as well as local favorites like Oddjob Ensemble and the Mad Maggies. Aug. 19–20 in La Plaza Park. Old Redwood Highway, Cotati. 9:30am–8pm. cotatifest.com.
Blues, Brews & BBQ Mixing together live music, microbrews and enough barbecue to fill a pickup truck, this summertime party is not to be missed. There's a rib-eating contest, kids' area and, of course, blues artists all along the streets. Aug. 26 at First and Main streets, Napa. Noon–6pm. Free admission, beer tasting tickets available for purchase. donapa.com.
Bodega Seafood Art & Wine Festival Dozens of culinary companies come together to offer delicious seafood specialties at the 23rd annual event. Aside from the art and the eats, there are four stages of entertainment. The Main Stage features blues, jazz, swing, bluegrass and more from the likes of David Luning, Lost Dog Found, Roy Rogers & the Delta Rhythm Kings and LoCura. Other entertainers ranging from jugglers, magicians and other non-musical acts join in on the fun, and local art, food, wine and beer overflows Aug. 26–27 at Watts Ranch, 16855 Bodega Hwy. Saturday, 10am–6pm; Sunday, 10am–5pm. bodegaseafoodfestival.com.
Cochon 555's Heritage Fire Dozens of grills light their fire to roast and cook responsibly raised meats ranging from pig to rabbit and duck. Over 50 chefs and butchers offer up the succulent creations, paired with wine from several small wineries and artisan cheeses and other bites. The outdoor banquet commences on Aug. 27 at Charles Krug Winery, 2800 Main St., St. Helena. 4pm. $125 and up. cochon555.com.
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend's Taste of Sonoma Labor Day weekend belongs to wine at this signature event from the Sonoma County Vintners group. This year's offerings find a new home in Sonoma State University's Green Music Center, as Taste of Sonoma gathers over 200 wineries and 60 local chefs Sept. 2–3. As you taste thousands of wines and pair them with delicious concoctions, seminars and demonstrations that cover a wide range of wine topics tickle the intellect and tips gleaned from chefs stir the imagination. You can also upgrade the experience with and optional VIP package. In addition to Taste of Sonoma, wine tours, talks, lunches and other events dot the county Sept. 1–3. sonomawinecountryweekend.com.
Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival The summer's biggest party on the river celebrates 41 years with legendary artists and bands, sizzling food vendors, an indulgent wine garden and more. And if the music gets too hot, just take a dip in the water, sit in the shade of a beach umbrella or rent a canoe or kayak to paddle down the river. Sept. 9–10 at Johnson's Beach, 16215 First St., Guerneville. russianriverfestivals.com.
Music Festival for Brain Health The most successful mental-health event in the country, in terms of raising both money and awareness, returns for a 23rd year of science symposiums and chart-topping songwriters. There's also a winetasting reception featuring several top North Bay wineries and VIP dinner and a special guest chef. Sept 16, at Staglin Family Vineyard, 1570 Bella Oaks Lane, Rutherford. music-festival.org.
Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival One of the oldest and biggest parties in the Sonoma Valley is back for its 120th year with live music, amazing food, spectacular wines and family activities like the traditional grape stomp, a light-up parade and more. With a focus on local culture and community, this vintage fest is organized by local volunteers and benefits several Sonoma County nonprofits and projects. Sept. 22–24 at Sonoma Plaza, First St. E., Sonoma. valleyofthemoonvintagefestival.com.