Best of the Summer Music, Food & Cultural Events in California's Sonoma County

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Known as one of America’s premier wine and culinary destinations, Sonoma County California is offering travelers and locals alike a variety of festivals, concerts, wine tastings and more this summer showcasing some of the leading offerings from the region. Below is a sampling of upcoming events taking place in Wine Country through September:

Broadway Under The Stars in Jack London State Park: June 19 – September 13, 2015

Transcendence Theatre Company’s Broadway Under the Stars is an award-winning series of Broadway-inspired concerts that feature talent from the New York and Hollywood stages and screen. Each evening begins with picnicking on the great lawn, alongside the park’s sprawling vineyards. The concert will also offer local pours from numerous Sonoma County wineries, food from local vendors and pre-show music. This year’s shows include Oh What a Night, Fantastical Family Night, Rhythm of Life, and Gala Celebration. For more information, visit www.transcendencetheatre.org.

25th Annual Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic: June 20 – 21, 2015

Balloons of all shapes and colors will launch from Keiser Park in Windsor at this annual event, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The main launch will take place at 6:30 a.m. on June 20 and June 21 and will have around 30 balloons. The launch will be followed by tethered rides, food and craft booths and a kids’ play land until 11:00 a.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. For more information, visit www.schabc.org.

Gay Wine Weekend: June 19 – 21, 2015

Out In The Vineyard will host its Annual Gay Wine Weekend in June, a three-day festival where guests can enjoy premier wine tasting excursions, music and dancing, VIP receptions, champagne brunches, wine auctions and a Twilight T-Dance that benefits Face to Face, Sonoma County’s AIDS Network. MacArthur Place Inn & Spa will return as the host hotel for 2015 and will be offering visitors special Gay Wine Weekend Rates. Guest rooms start at $299 per night and $399 per room, per night for suites, with a two-night minimum stay. For more information: www.outinthevineyard.com.

Cotati Jazz Festival: June 21, 2015

KJZY 93.7 presents the 35th Annual Jazz Festival throughout downtown Cotati from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 21. The festival will feature numerous jazz ensembles, including Dave Haskell Group and Charged Particles. The festival also will offer free dance lessons and booths with food, wine and more. Admission is free to the public. For more information and the band listings, visit www.cotatijazz.com.

Matanzas Creek Winery Days of Wine and Lavender: June 27, 2015

Matanzas Creek Winery presents the 19th Annual Days of Wine and Lavender event where guests can savor the vineyard’s specialty wines and vibrant gardens of purple lavender. The event will be held from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will include live music, seminars with industry experts, food and wine pairings, Lavender Barn tours and showcased pieces of art from local artists. The winery will also be offering the first tastings of new release Matanzas Creek 2014 Sauvignon Blancs. Tickets are $90 for wine club members and $110 for the general public. For more information, visit www.matanzascreek.com.

Russian River Valley Passport: June 27 – 28, 2015

More than 30 wineries throughout the Russian River Valley will participate in the annual “Russian River Valley Passport” weekend. Guests will be able to sample limited edition or early release wines, while discovering some of the region’s most celebrated wineries and hidden gems. A Saturday night VIP barbecue will allow a limited number of ticket holders to mingle with the winemakers and growers over fresh, local summer fare. Tickets start at $55 for the weekend. For more information: www.rrvw.org/rrv-passport/.

Dancing Under the Stars at Francis Ford Coppola Winery: Every other Saturday: June 27 – September 12, 2015

Francis Ford Coppola Winery invites visitors to spend Saturday nights at the vineyard for a lively evening of wine and food with Salsa or Swing dancing under the stars. Dance lessons in the outdoor performance pavilion will be available from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. and live music will follow until 10:00 p.m. General admission tickets are $30.00 per person for Salsa and $20.00 per person for Swing. Additional tickets for Wine Family members are available. Guests must be 21 and over. For more information and the band listings, visit www.FrancisFordCoppolaWinery.com.

Live at Juilliard – Summer Concert Series: Every Sunday: July 5 – August 9, 2015

Now celebrating its 22nd season, this free concert series brings top Bay Area bands to Santa Rosa for an evening of live outdoor entertainment. Acts range from country to rock and a mix of genres in between. The concert series takes place on Sunday evenings in July and August in downtown Santa Rosa’s Juilliard Park. Guests can pack a picnic or purchase food at the event. All concerts are 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.srcity.org.

Annual Bacigalupi Vineyard Designate Tasting: July 18, 2015

The Bacigalupi Vineyard is welcoming guests for an evening of special vineyard designate wines, food pairings by local favorites Bay Laurel Catering and The Oyster Girls, live music and a silent auction. Multiple wineries will be in attendance, pouring wines exclusively from the Bacigalupi Vineyards. The event will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Bacigalupi Vineyards Tasting Room. Tickets are $85 for members and $100 for guests. All proceeds will be donated to the non-profit organization, The Guardsmen. For more information, visit www.bacigalupivineyards.com.

8th Annual Petaluma Music Festival: July 31 – August 1, 2015

The Petaluma Music Festival will feature music by 14 bands on three stages, including a Friday concert and VIP dinner featuring Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The festival will take place at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. Gourmet food trucks will have a range of local cuisine for sale. Lagunitas Brewing Company and Sonoma County wines will also be sold at the event. Admission ranges from $35 to $190. All proceeds benefit the music education programs of all Petaluma area public schools. For more information, visit www.petalumamusicfestival.org.

Summer Soiree at Dutton-Goldfield Winery: August 15, 2015

Visitors can meet and mingle with Dutton-Goldfield’s growers, winery team, and other members at this inaugural soiree. The event will include local food, live music and great wines at the famous Dutton Ranch. Devil’s Gulch Ranch is providing a whole pig, which will be roasted and served as the main food attraction, along with the vineyard’s Pinot Noirs. Local Santa Rosa band, Da Puna Bruddahs, will be performing throughout the event. The festivities will last from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $25 for Wine Club Members and $50 for Non-Members. For more information, visit www.duttongoldfield.com.

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend: September 4 – 6, 2015

This highly-anticipated weekend is Sonoma County’s signature event and one of the top-three national charity wine events named by Wine Spectator magazine. The event brings together over 200 of Sonoma’s top winemakers and growers, along with a collection of the area’s best chefs. Since its inception, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend has raised over $16 million for charities that benefit students, children, farm workers and people in need in the local community. The weekend includes exclusive lunches and dinners at an array of winery properties, followed by the Sonoma Harvest Auction on Sunday. Tickets range from $85 to $500. For more information, visit www.sonomawinecountryweekend.com.

Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival: September 12, 2015

More than 20 North Bay breweries will be showcasing their craft beer specialties along Petaluma’s historic riverfront at the 3rd annual Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival. The event offers craft beers, food and musical entertainment from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Advance admission is $40 and includes a souvenir beer glass and tickets for beer and food tastings. Designated driver admission is $20 and includes tickets for lemonade and food tastings. For more information, visit www.petalumarivercraftbeerfest.org.

Sonoma Grape Camp: September 20-22, 2015

Sonoma Grape Camp offers a hands-on experience for guests to learn the ins and outs of winemaking, while enjoying a series of intimate winemaker lunches and dinners and luxurious overnight accommodations over the course of three days. In addition to harvesting grapes and blending wine, guests will have access to the influential grape growers, winemakers and chefs who help make Sonoma County a leading wine region. Rates are $2,000 per person and $3,700 per couple including hotel stay for three nights at Vintners Inn, all meals, tastings and transportation during camp. For more information, visit www.sonomagrapecamp.com.

Photo credit: SonomaCountyKids.com.

Renee Blodgett
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Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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