This Saturday, January 25, is the 11th annual Bodega Bay Chowder Day.
Here's how it works. No advance tickets are sold. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, show up in the parking lot at the Tides Wharf and follow the signs to tables where you pony up just $10 per person, which gets you a map and a wrist band.
Then set out to taste all the clam chowders, about 14 or so. You have until 3 p.m.
Ticket sales continue until all 1,000 have been sold or until 2 p.m. Parking can be challenging, so carpool if you can.
Participants are not announced before Chowder Day, but it's a good guess that Spud Point Crab Company, which took first place last year, will be one of them.
Sandpiper Restaurant and Cafe took second place in 2013, followed by The Tides Wharf in third place. The best new competitor was Fishetarian.
Participating locations set up tasting stations and are typically also open for regular business. If you fall in love with a particular chowder, you can get into another line and buy a full portion.
But pace yourself: Two-ounce portions of competing chowders add up to a lot.
Votes will be tallied by volunteers and announced a few days after the event. Don't forget to turn in your ballot.
Chowder Day has become extremely popular, especially with people from Sacramento and the Bay Area. If you want to join in, don't wait until the last minute.
<strong>Calling All Rare Fruit Lovers:</strong> On Saturday, the California Rare Fruit Growers Garden Club hosts its annual scion and plant exchange at the Santa Rosa Veterans Building (1351 Maple Ave.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The event features more than 500 varieties of scions (cuttings) from familiar, rare and experimental fruiting plants from throughout Northern California.
In addition, there will be classes on pruning, grafting and planting for beginners, with experts will be on hand to answer your questions.
Consider getting advice on how best to establish new fruit trees during a drought.
Admission, which includes the classes and a selection of scions, is $5. If you'd like your scions grafted onto rootstock, that will cost just a few dollars more.
Attendees should bring a gallon-sized baggie, tape and a Sharpie to label acquisitions.
For more information about California Rare Fruit Growers, visit <a href="http://CRFG-Redwood.org" target="_blank">CRFG-Redwood.org</a>.
<strong>Worth Our Weight Reopens:</strong> After a well-deserved break, Worth Our Weight Culinary Apprentice Program (1021 Hahman Drive, Santa Rosa) reopens for brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
There's now another way to support the program and enjoy the delicious food the apprentices prepare. The Worth Our Weight Cafeteria is open in the county building (575 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa) weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Big congratulations and gratitude to Evelyn Cheatham, her crew of apprentices and her dedicated volunteers, who provided more than 540 people in Sonoma County with a bountiful Christmas dinner.
<strong>Rumi Calling:</strong> If you want to join in the 13th annual Rumi's Caravan, you should probably get your tickets sooner rather than later. This popular event typically sells out well in advance.
The Caravan rolls into the Glaser Center (547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa) on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. The evening's entertainment includes Eliyahu and the Qadim Ensemble, whose unique Near East music will accompany recitations of poetry not only by Rumi but also by Hafiz, Rainer Maria Rilke, Mary Oliver and others.
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