From music festivals to apple celebrations, there’s a wide variety of fun, outdoor events in Sonoma County this summer for people of all ages. Now that summer is nearly upon us, it’s time to head outside to take advantage of these fun and unique happenings. All you need is a smile (and maybe your sunglasses), because these outdoor events in Sonoma will take care of the rest.
May 31 – June 9, 2019
Cost: Prices vary
Jazz lovers (and music lovers in general) will adore this ten-day festival, now in its 21st year, featuring world-class jazz musicians performing at diverse locations around town. As part of the festivities, Healdsburg’s West Plaza Park plays host to Jazz Village, where live performances, CD signings, and events will take place regularly, as well as the Jazz Village Campus, where educational weekday events will be offered for area K-12 school children to learn music for free.
Insider Tip: If you can’t make it in June, the festival hosts live jazz concerts at Hotel Healdsburg every Saturday evening from 6:30 – 9:30 pm, where you can sip cocktails while listening (without a cover charge).
June 23, 2019, 4 PM
Okay, okay, so we realize this event at Garden Creek Vineyards has already sold out, so you may be wondering why we included it in this list. Well, it’s because we think Outstanding in the Field is such a cool, unconventional dining experience that we want to remind you to mark your calendars for future events! Gathering renowned chefs and artisans into a “kitchen” out in the field, these rotating dinners (which happen throughout the country) offer the unique opportunity to dine at one very long communal table and share a meal with new friends in a beautiful outdoor setting. It’s an Instagram-worthy dinner you get to experience in real life.
Insider Tip: Due to the popularity of these events, tickets tend to sell out in a matter of minutes. So save March 20 in your calendar, when all tickets for summer / fall go on sale.
July 4, 2019, 10 AM – 5 PM
Celebrate Independence Day during Sonoma’s annual old-fashioned Fourth of July parade and celebration — a beloved tradition that brings the community together to honor our country. The parade kicks off at 10am, where 60+ floats and other entries will wind their way around the historic Sonoma Plaza. After the parade, help Sonoma’s non-profit groups with a festival full of food, drinks, and games to raise money for a good cause. The celebrations conclude with a 45-minute firework show at 5pm, lighting the sky above General Vallejo’s field. People from all over the country travel to celebrate the patriotic holiday in Sonoma — it’s no wonder that Yahoo News and Travel & Leisure magazine have named the Sonoma’s Fourth of July celebrations amongst the best in the nation.
Insider Tip: As if all that patriotic fun isn’t enough, the Valley of the Moon Artist Association adds to the day by hosting its Annual 4th of July Art Show 2019 in Sonoma Plaza from 10am – 5pm. Shop for fine art, crafts, and handmade goods as you celebrate our nation’s independence.
July 18 – July 21, 2019
Cost: Prices vary, VIP Pass is $495
Out in the Vineyard hosts a three-day weekend of fun LGBT events, including winery tours, winemaker dinners, and other activities to benefit the Face to Face, Sonoma County HIV/AIDS Network. Some of the highlights include a Twilight T-Dance at Chateau St. Jean, a Sunday drag queen brunch and auction, and an epic pool party at an undisclosed location. Whether you’re dancing in the vineyards or experiencing a behind-the-scenes tour of a winery, Gay Wine Weekend promises to be a lively and unique way to experience Sonoma County with the LGBT community.
Insider Tip: If you want to attend a handful of events, plan to purchase the VIP All Access Pass for $495, which gets you into the exclusive VIP Welcome Reception, LGBT Business Expo & Wine Tasting, Twilight T-Dance Reception and Dance Party, Apres T After Party, Drag Queen Recovery Brunch & Auction, and the Sunday Pool Soirée. Just note that winemaker dinners and winery tours are sold separately.
July 20 – July 21, 2019, 7 AM (8 AM for Run the Rosé 5K)
Cost: $40 per individual for the Run the Rosé 5K
While the popular Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon tends to sell out quickly, those who may have missed the deadline but would still like to run in Wine Country can register for the Run the Rosé 5K. New for 2019, The Rosé 5K takes place on the Saturday of the Half Marathon weekend, allowing participants to run through Sonoma, passing the vineyards along the way, then end in the historic Sonoma Plaza. It’s a great way to experience the beauty of the area, get some exercise, meet new people, and of course, enjoy some refreshing rosé.
Insider Tip: Celebrate your victory, Wine Country-style, with a post-race wine tasting in Sonoma Plaza on Sunday, where local wineries will be pouring refreshing libations to race participants.
July 27, 2019, 10 AM – 6:30 PM
Cost: $20 per car
Head to Fort Ross for this unique summer tradition in Sonoma County. Watch Kashia Pomo ceremonial dancing, learn from Alaska Native craftspeople, experience traditional Russian dancing, and more at this historical celebration of different cultures. Of course, it wouldn’t be a festival without some good food and libations, and a beer garden and local food trucks will help keep the festivities going all day.
Insider Tip: This year’s event will have the Fort Ross Militia on hand for musket and cannon firings, so you know it’s bound to be a blast — quite literally!
August 17 – 18, 2019, 10 AM – 6 PM
Cost: Adults $15, Children (ages 6 to 12) $10, Kids 5 and under are free
Enjoy the beginning of apple season with cider, wine, microbrews, food, live music, and more at the annual Gravenstein Apple Fair, also known as the “sweetest little fair in Sonoma County.” Held under the shade of the grand oak trees at Ragle Ranch in Sebastopol, this old-fashioned tradition celebrates, as the name implies, all things apples. There’s plenty of fun activities for kids and adults, including wagon rides, farm animals for petting, cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts, and games. Of course, it wouldn’t be an apple festival without locally-made cider, and there’s also plenty of wine and beer for those over 21.
Insider Tip: Gravenstein Apple Fair is one of the most kid-friendly events around and is sure to bring out the kid in everyone, regardless of age. From the no-hands caramel apple eating contest to the apple juggling contest, the fair brings a slice of good old-fashioned fun to Sonoma County.
August 24 – 25, 2019, 9 AM – 1 PM (Saturday), 9:30 AM – 3 PM (Sunday)
What better incentive to run a marathon than when there’s a beer festival waiting at the finish line? Don your running shoes to join fellow marathoners in the Santa Rosa Marathon, where you’ll glide across Wine Country via one of the four race distances offered. Afterwards, treat yourself to a fun after-party in the Old Courthouse Square featuring a pancake breakfast and plenty of craft beer.
Insider Tip: If beer tasting is what you’re after and you don’t feel like dealing with crowds, the Old Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa is a stone’s throw from Russian River Brewing Co. and Third Street Ale Works.