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October 4: Wine & Sunsets, Santa Rosa
Watch the sun set over the Russian River Valley from the balcony at Paradise Ridge Winery during one of their last Wine & Sunsets events of the year. Paradise Ridge serves wine by the glass and bottle on their veranda and terrace, paired with food truck cuisine and live music. On October 4, Grammy-nominated band Solid Air will perform and Nellie's Oysters will serve up - you guessed it - oysters, with dessert served by Master Piece Cakes. Picnics welcome. Tickets start at $5. Every Wednesday through October 25.
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October 6-8: Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Santa Rosa
This year marks the 43rd Sonoma County Harvest Fair, which showcases the bounty of the county's wine, beer, and food industries. Winemakers, ranchers, vintners and farmers are awarded prizes for their craft. The weekend culminates in the Grand Harvest Tasting, where guests can taste over 300 award-winning wines and food pairings. Don't miss the World Championship Grape Stomp, which attracts competitors from around the world to earn their purple legs and a $1,500 prize. Tickets start at $5.
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October 8: SoCo Unplugged, Guerneville
Four local bands unplug in a redwood grove for a good cause at the 6th annual SoCo Unplugged festival. The event, which benefits Ceres Community Project, features live acoustic music from Dgiin, Heather Combs, the Easy Leaves and Tumbleweed Soul. Local wineries, including Reeve Wines and La Pitchoune, will serve their vino along with Barrel Brothers Brewing Company beer. Local Guerneville restaurants will also be on hand, including Seaside Metal Oyster Bar and Nimble & Finn's. Tickets start at $25.
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October 9: With Bold Knife and Fork, M.F.K. Fisher and Cassoulet, Sonoma
Celebrate the life of famous food writer M.F.K. Fisher, who lived in Sonoma County until her death in 1992, with one of the writer's favorite foods: cassoulet. "With Bold Knife and Fork" features cassoulet by the Depot Hotel and Epicurean Connection, cheeses from the latter's cheesemaker, Sheana Davis, salad from Stone Edge Farm, and desserts from Bouchon Bakery, all served with local wines. The event benefits restorations to Fisher's historic home in Glen Ellen. Tickets start at $100. (M.F.K Fisher photographed by Jeff Celia)
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October 13: Garrison Keillor, Rohnert Park
Fans who are sentimental for the old days of "A Prairie Home Companion" can satisfy their love for all things Lake Wobegon with an evening of poetry, stories, commentary and the unique perspectives of Garrison Keillor at the Green Music Center. Throughout the evening, Keillor will share anecdotes about growing up in the Midwest, his experience with late-in-life fatherhood, and perform songs with his backup band. Tickets start at $40.
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October 13-15: Sonoma Laughfest, Sonoma/Santa Rosa/Healdsburg
Over 100 comedians will take the stage in three Sonoma County cities during the course of the weekend for the 3rd annual Sonoma Laughfest. Participating stand-up comedians and improv troupes, from across the country, have appeared on TV shows including Black-ish, How I Met Your Mother, Community, Silicon Valley, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, and more. Tickets start at $27.
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October 15: Quartet, Petaluma
Age, romance and opera are just a few of the themes explored in the comedic play, Quartet at Cinnabar Theater. Written by Ronald Harwood (The Dresser), the play circles around four former opera stars, living in a retirement home for aging musicians, who come together, despite their differences, to throw a gala fundraiser to keep their home from closing. The play was made into a film in 2012 starring Maggie Smith and was produced by Dustin Hoffman. Tickets start at $15. October 13 through October 28.
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October 16: Ghostbusters, Sonoma
The Sebastiani Theatre Vintage Film Series presents the classic 1984 film: Ghostbusters. The eccentric storyline follows four quirky guys - a paranormal investigator, an engineer, a physicist, and a loudmouth local, as they seek out to prove that ghosts exist in modern day New York City. With their proton packs on their backs, the film climaxes with an epic battle between the Ghostbusters and thousands of ghosts in Time Square. Tickets $10.
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October 19-22: Alexander Valley Film Festival, Healdsburg/Geyserville/Cloverdale
The third annual Alexander Valley Film Festival, which showcases local, regional and international independent films, takes place over the course of four days at seven venues throughout Healdsburg, Geyserville and Cloverdale. The festival features 29 award-winning films including narrative, documentaries and short films. Highlights include Dolores, about Dolores Huerta who founded the first farmworker union, and Mary Janes: The Women of Weed, which documents women of the "puffragette movement."
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October 20-29: Spamalot, Rohnert Park
Fans of English comedy shouldn't miss Spamalot at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center. Based on the cult film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this Tony Awarded "Best Musical" retells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. In this version, the knights must fight their way through showgirls, cows, killer rabbits and French people in their quest for the Holy Grail. Tickets $28. Through October 29.
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October 21: Star Party, Kenwood
Once a month, the Robert Ferguson Observatory opens its doors to the public, allowing visitors to explore the scientific observatory, complete with telescopes for viewing the stars, planets and anything else the sky has to offer. During the day, you can use the telescopes to look at, and even hear, the sun. At night, attend presentations about astronomy, view the night sky through a giant telescope, and meet scientists and star enthusiasts who bring their own telescopes for viewing. Free for children, $3 for adults and $8 parking fee. (Photo: Diane Askew)
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October 22: Pinot on the River, Healdsburg
Pinot noir fanatics will flock to downtown Healdsburg's historic plaza for a day of sipping their favorite varietal from over 100 wineries and sample food from local chefs during Pinot on the River. Most of the producers pouring don't have tasting rooms or are by appointment only, making the event a rare chance to taste small lot wines. Guests can vote on their favorite wines and 110 silent auctions lots are offered for guests to bid on, with proceeds benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County. Tickets start at $75. (Photo by Beth Schlanker)
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October 27-31: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Santa Rosa
The cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, will take the stage at Santa Rosa's 6th Street Playhouse for a Halloween season showing. The original stage musical, which the 1975 film is based on, tells the story of a "sweet transvestite" named Dr. Frank-N-Furter and an innocent couple whose car breaks down near the doctor's mansion. Dress in your best Rocky-themed costume and don't forget your water guns and bread loaves. Tickets start at $26.
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October 29: El Dia de Los Muertos, Windsor
Honor family and friends who are no longer with us at El Dia de Los Muertos on the Windsor Town Green. The traditional Mexican holiday celebrates the memories and legacies of those who have died with colorful art, celebratory dance, and other festivities. This year's event features a low-rider car show, food, and at sunset, a blessing followed by a candlelight procession featuring Azteca performers, giant puppets, and more. Don't miss the costume contest after. Free.