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<strong>Celebrating our apple:</strong> The Gravenstein Apple Fair, long known as "the sweetest little fair in Sonoma County," takes place this weekend at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol.

Although the heart of the fair is the apple itself, there are many attractions for the entire family. You can enjoy a horse-drawn buggy ride; learn about beekeeping, sheep shearing and cow milking; relax with a glass of local wine, beer or hard cider; play games and enter such contests as apple juggling and pie eating, and listen to Scott Gerber tell cowboy stories. The Children's Museum will be on hand and there's a children's activity area, too.

More than two dozen food vendors attend the fair, offering treats ranging from apple pie and barbecue to Thai and Indian foods, fruit popsicles and Hawaiian shave ice.

The Oliver's Market Chef's Tent features cooking demonstrations and interviews on Saturday and cooking demonstrations on Sunday.

There is nearly nonstop music on two stages.

The fair is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors 65 and over and for anyone who bikes to the fair, $5 for kids under 12 and free for kids under 3. For advance tickets, stop by any Oliver's Market.

<strong>Zucchini Festival!</strong> This Saturday, the Healdsburg Farmers Market hosts its annual Zucchini Festival. Here's how it works. From 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., you may register your giant zucchini or zucchini racing car. The biggest zucchini will be announced at 9:40 a.m. and the award for most creative zucchini car will be presented at 9:50 a.m. The races begin at 10.

This isn't an anything-goes competition. For the giant zucchini, you must have grown it yourself. Cars must be made with the zucchini as the vehicle, with axles inserted directly into the squash. You cannot simply attach a zucchini to a skateboard or roller skate. Wheels can be made of almost any material, including vegetables, wood, metal or plastic. The track is just 11 inches wide and to be eligible for competition the zucchini cars must fit.

The market is open from 9 a.m. to noon and takes place at North and Vine streets. Details: <a href="http://healdsburgfarmersmarket.com" target="_blank">healdsburgfarmersmarket.com</a>.

<strong>Third Thursday at Worth Our Weight:</strong> This year's series of visiting chef dinners at Worth Our Weight Culinary Apprenticeship Program (1021 Hahman Drive, Santa Rosa) continues next week, when chef Mark Dierkhising of Dierk's Parkside Cafe and Dierk's Midtown Cafe takes the helm, along with a few friends and colleagues.

On Sept. 19, Josh Silvers is the featured chef. On Oct. 17 it's Justin Wangler and the year of dinners wrap up on Nov. 21 with John Toulze and Todd Thompson.

Third Thursdays feature a single seating at 6 p.m. and a $55 prix fixe menu. Guests may bring their own wine.

Marcy Smothers and Clark Wolf host the dinners. WOW founder and executive director Evelyn Cheatham is always on hand, too. All proceeds benefit the program.

For reservations, call 544-1200 or email worthourweight@sonic.net.

<strong>Dancing under the stars and more at Coppola:</strong> On Friday nights today through Sept. 20, Francis Ford Coppola Winery features salsa lessons from 6 to 7 p.m. followed by dancing to live music from 7 to 10 p.m. in the outdoor performance pavilion.

Admission is $35, $25 for wine club members. A table for two in the new Starlight Lounge, which includes tableside service and a glass of wine, is $120 for two and $240 for four.

Avance provides the music tonight and again on Sept. 6. You must be 21 or over to attend.

Note that there is no event on Aug. 30, when the Sonoma Starlight Supper Club kicks off the huge Wine Country Weekend activities with a poolside dinner and dance.

If a game of bocce is more your style, Drop-In Bocce is offered on Mondays in August, starting at 6 p.m. A $10 admission fee gets you into the game and includes a glass of wine. Wines by the glass and pizza from Rustic are available for purchase.

Tickets are available for all Coppola events at <a href="http://franciscoppolawinery.com" target="_blank">franciscoppolawinery.com</a>.

<strong>Wags, Whiskers & Wine Gala:</strong> As of press time, there were still tickets available to the Sonoma Humane Society's biggest fundraiser of the year, Wags, Whiskers & Wine. It takes place Aug. 16, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Trentadue Winery (19170 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville).

The evening features a sumptuous dinner, free-flowing wine and beer, a silent auction, a live auction and live music.

A special attraction is the kissing booth, with puppies, kittens and bunnies. How can you resist?

This is an all VIP event. Admission is $175, which includes valet parking, a welcoming glass of sparkling wine and premier seating.

For tickets, visit <a href="http://sonomahumane.org" target="_blank">sonomahumane.org</a> or call 542-0882 ext. 203.

<strong>Benefit for Project Africa:</strong> On Sunday at 3 p.m., Peter Lowell's Restaurant (7385 Healdsburg Ave., Sebastopol) hosts a benefit for Food For Thought's Project Africa.

The project supports Hope Initiatives, which operates a soup kitchen and school for AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children in Windhoek, Namibia.

The event features a traditional family-style Italian dinner with local ingredients and local wines. There will be live music throughout the afternoon and evening.

Tickets, $75, can be purchased at Food For Thought (6550 Railroad Ave., Forestville) or by calling 887-1647. To purchase tickets on line, visit fftfoodbank.org.

For more information about Hope Initiatives, visit <a href="http://hisa-namibia.org" target="_blank">hisa-namibia.org</a>.

<strong>Happy ears!</strong> On Saturday, the beloved voices of Steve Garner, John Ash and Gwen Kilchherr return to the airwaves, on KSRO 1350 AM. The kick-off shows will be broadcast live from the Gravenstein Apple Festival.

Both "Garden Talk," which airs from 9 to 11 a.m., and "The Good Food Hour," on from 11 a.m. until noon, were cut from the station's programming lineup back in November. Negotiations with Maverick Media failed to get the shows back on the air.

In April, Maverick Media, which is based in Connecticut, sold the station to Lawrence Amaturo, who lives in Sonoma County and is a previous owner of KSRO-AM and its sister stations. And now we have our local food and gardening shows back.

Kilchherr co-hosts "Garden Talk"; Ash co-hosts "The Good Food Hour." Garner's at the mic for the full three hours.

<em>Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. E-mail Jordan at michele@micheleannajordan.com. You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.</em>

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