As the days lengthen and the temperatures shoot up, umbrellas are popping up across Sonoma County, marking the opening of the summer's night markets.
It's a chance for residents from Sonoma to Windsor to celebrate the season with blackened turkey legs and gritty blues music.
There are a few people who show up early to shop for the farmers' berries and fava beans. But let's be honest: At the evening markets, most of us are seeking an easy dinner accompanied by a cold beer and some cool tunes.
It's free fun, the people-gazing is priceless, and the mood is entirely different from that of the more food-centric morning markets that draw cooks, chefs, foodies and gourmands.
Here's the rundown on what's new at the market parties this year:
Santa Rosa Wednesday Night Market: Now in its 26th year, this market pops up from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 20 along Fourth Street between Mendocino and E street.
For those who have worked up a thirst, the Wine Garden returns for its fourth year on D Street between Fourth and Fifth streets.
Four wineries pour each week, accompanied by acoustic music. It's $10 for six tastings, or $6 for three tastings.
The main stage is located at the end of Fourth Street at E, next to the farmers' booths lining E street. This Wednesday, The Deadlies bring on their surf music to the main stage.
The city of Santa Rosa will hold a Water and Green Expo on May 28. On July 23, the Wine Garden is going to switch it up with craft beers for the first time.
"That's our country night as well," said Nick Hansen, board president. "Hopefully, it will be a warm July night."
Valley of the Moon Certified Farmers Market: This party near City Hall on Sonoma Plaza takes place from 5:30 p.m. until dusk Tuesdays through October.
"It's kind of like a city party every Tuesday night," said Chris Welch, market manager.
"There are lots of food vendors, but lots of farmers, too."
This year, the music stage has moved and is facing away from the produce booths in order to make chatting with your favorite farmers — The Patch, Paul's Produce and Oakhill Farm — a lot easier.
You can eat at the tables throughout the plaza, or picnic on the lawn in front of the music stage.
Food vendors will include familiar faces like Mike the Baker, along with new folks such as Drums and Crumbs — yum! — a fried chicken purveyor.
Cloverdale Certified Farmers Market: This market pops up from 5:30 p.m. to dusk on Fridays along Cloverdale Boulevard, from May 30 to Aug. 29, and dances with the Friday Night Live concerts, which start at 7 p.m. on the plaza.
"We're separate, but we comingle," said Karen Tankersley, market manager. "People come early to shop."
Food vendors this year include Hamburger Ranch & BBQ and Thai Way 101 of Cloverdale, plus The Wurst of Healdsburg. There are about a dozen farmers selling products, including Red Owl Farm of Healdsburg and Shamrock Artisan Goat Cheese of Mendocino.
Petaluma Evening Farmers' Market: Located in the chic Theater District, this Wednesday market runs from 4:30 to 8 p.m. June 4 through Aug. 13, with new food vendors offering everything from crepes to sushi.