Events: Get Out and Have Some Fun

Lots to do in the months of May and June! Check out these summer events and add them to your calendar!

The Luther Burbank Rose Parade is on Saturday, May 16. (photo by Conner Jay)

Lots to do in the months of May and June! Check out these summer events and add them to your calendar!

May 3

Day Under the Oaks: From magic shows in the chem lab to food trucks to Native American dancers, this annual Santa Rosa Junior College open house offers entertainment for all. The day includes planetarium shows, the Shone Farm petting zoo, arts and crafts, jazz and contemporary music, and more. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free admission and parking.
Santa Rosa Junior College, 1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-527-4424,

May 10

Mother’s Day Bubbles & BBQ: Give Mom an afternoon of ease and fun at this Sonoma winery. Enjoy a lavish barbecue buffet that will include slow-cooked beef brisket, pork spareribs and chicken. Sip award-winning sparkling wines and listen to live blues music. It’s not just for mothers; the entire family is welcome. Noon-2 p.m. $70; $45 for children 12 and younger.
Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, 23555 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 707-996-7256,

May 16

Luther Burbank Rose Parade & Festival: Few hometown traditions have this one’s track record. The theme for this year’s 121st parade is “Out of a Story Book.” Named for Luther Burbank, the world-famous horticulturist who lived in Santa Rosa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the parade starts downtown at 10 a.m. After the parade, the fun continues with a festival on Old Courthouse Square. Parade starts at Sonoma Avenue and E Street, proceeds north on E, turns west onto Fourth Street, then south on Mendocino Avenue.

May 15-17

Taste Alexander Valley: The three-day adventure for wine lovers offers special access to more than 45 wineries, plus dinner and a barn dance on May 15 (6-9:30 p.m. at a private equestrian ranch, $150). Winery open houses are held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 16 and 17. Weekend pass $70 in advance, $80 at the door; Sunday only $50 in advance, $60 at the door.

May 21

Healdsburg Twilight Parade: A charming bit of hometown Americana endures in downtown Healdsburg, where the local Future Farmers of America will put on their 66th annual parade, starting at
6 p.m. By that time, savvy locals already will have staked out a spot on the sidewalk. The parade is part of the three-day Healdsburg Future Farmers Country Fair, running May 21-23.

Healdsburg Jazz Festival. (photo by Alvin Jornada)
Healdsburg Jazz Festival. (photo by Alvin Jornada)

May 30-June 7

Healdsburg Jazz Festival:  The nine-day festival opens this year with a two-day mini-festival, “Jazz and the Music of the Americas,” featuring prominent Latin musicians with a jazz connection, including Eddie Palmieri, Pablo Ziegler and Brazilian diva Leny Andrade with Roni Ben-Hur. The Healdsburg area’s 17th summer celebration of jazz continues with George Cable, Kenny Barron, the Benny Green Trio and more.

May 31

“Fresh Paint”: Broadway performer Lexy Fridell, well-known to fans of Transcendence Theatre’s outdoor summer musical revues at Jack London State Historic Park, will star at this 15th annual fundraiser for the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, to be held at a private site in Glen Ellen. The evening includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dinner prepared by Olive & Vine. $500.

June 5-7

Country Summer: More than two dozen country stars, many of them young and rapidly rising talents, put on a three-day party at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, with performances by Jake Owen, The Band Perry, Brantley Gilbert, Gary Allan, Chris Young, Lee Brice, Jerrod Niemann and Trace Adkins. $69-$129 for one day, $189-$369 for three days.
Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, 707-543-0100,

June 6-7 & 13-14

Art at the Source: Art lovers can go above and beyond the typical gallery or museum experience, and see the artists at work during this annual open studio tour in western Sonoma County, sponsored by the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Each year, more than 150 artists open their workspaces to visitors, offering demonstrations, conversation and a close-up view of the creative process. Paintings, sculptures, fabric art and jewelry are among the many things of beauty that will be made before your eyes, and one-of-a-kind creations will be for sale. Free.

June 12-13

Huichica Music Festival: Gundlach Bundschu Winery, long known for its fresh and fun-filled ideas, brings back its annual spring indie-rock music and food festival this year. It opens with a concert on June 12 and continues the next day with more than a dozen other bands and great food choices. Friday $40, Saturday $55, two-day pass $85-$120.
2000 Denmark St., Sonoma, 707-938-5277,

Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic. (photo by John Burgess)
Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic. (photo by John Burgess)

June 20-21

Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic: Get a close look at as many as 30 hot air balloons as they rise over Windsor’s Keiser Park. Bundle up and show up at 5 a.m. either day for the Dawn Patrol, to see the balloons light up the dark sky. The main launch starts at 6:30 a.m. both days, and the festival continues until 11 a.m. with food and craft booths, and activities for kids. $10 adult, $5 children.
700 Windsor River Road, Windsor,

June 24-28

Sonoma-Marin Fair: By far the best-known event at Petaluma’s annual down-home hoedown is the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, which receives national attention. But the fair also books a strong lineup of rock and country music acts. Past performers include the Marshall Tucker Band, Kix Brooks and Loverboy.
Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma, 707-283-3247,

Late June-Early September

Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series: This perennial favorite really captures the charm of a Sonoma County summer. Surrounded by acres of beautiful vineyards, guests can enjoy fine wines, stunning scenery and performances by top names in jazz, pop and rock while picnicking at the winery’s outdoor venue, the Concert Green. Check the website for the schedule.
11455 Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, 707-431-0998,