Celebrating the Year of the Snake: For what may be the first time, there will be tickets available at the door at Saturday night's Lunar New Year Celebration, put on by the Redwood Empire Chinese Association at the Veterans Memorial Building (1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa).
Since the annual celebration began 25 years ago, it has sold out in advance. This year, the committee decided to hold back a number of tickets to accommodate those who can't commit until the last minute. If you're among them, you should try to show up at 5 p.m., when the doors open, lest you miss out.
From 5 to 6, as people are arriving, there are several stations that ring the auditorium, one with origami, two with children's book authors, one with beer and wine that is open throughout the event and several others.
A buffet dinner is served at 6 p.m. and features fried rice, fried noodles, sweet and sour pork, beef and broccoli and a vegetarian option. There are oranges and wonton skins on the tables and at some point in the evening Clo the Cow shows up with ice cream.
The real fun begins as dinner winds down and the program gets started. There's singing, dancing, martial arts and more, including a fabulous Lion Dance and a 250-foot dragon.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children aged 3 to 10. You can snag them at G & G Market (1211 West College Ave., Santa Rosa) or Asia Mart (2481 Guerneville Rd., Santa Rosa) or simply try your luck at the door.
Mardi Gras Fete: There's still time to join in Mardi Gras fun. The Alliance Fran?ise de Santa Rosa hosts its celebration this Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Vista del Lago Clubhouse (3150 Lakeview Dr., Santa Rosa).
The fete features lots of delicious things to eat and drink, including crepes, cheeses, desserts, hard ciders and wines. There will be music, a silent auction, raffle and lots of people in masks and costumes, maybe even you, as everyone is encouraged to dress up for the party. And why wouldn't you?
It is too late to get an advance ticket but tickets will be available at the door for $45 each for adults. SSU and SRJC students and children under 16 pay reduced prices. All ages are welcome but anyone under 21 must be accompanied by an adult.
All proceeds benefit the cultural programs and activities of the Alliance.
Clash of the Sommeliers at Farmhouse Inn: This year, the Farmhouse Inn has changed the format for its dinner series featuring competition among top Bay Area sommeliers.
The first dinner, taking place next Thursday, February 28, features two of the Bay Area's top young talent, Josiah Baldivino of Michael Mina Restaurant and Bobby Conroy of Benu. The sommeliers will present a flight of wines paired with chef Steve Litke's special menu and the winner will compete in the final dinner of the challenge on May 28.
On May 7, two legendary old-school sommeliers will battle it out.
These dinners are enormously popular and have typically sold out well in advance. If you want to join in the fun, make your reservations right away by calling 887-3300.