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<strong>Time for Tix to Calabash:</strong> One of fall's sweetest events, Calabash: a Festival of Gourds, Art and the Garden, is coming up Sunday Oct. 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. in downtown Forestville's Food For Thought AIDS Food Bank.

This year is particularly special, as Food For Thought is celebrating its 25th anniversary. It is the 13th annual gourd celebration.

The focus of Calabash is its silent auction of scores of gourds, grown in the food bank's garden and transformed into gorgeous art by more than a hundred artists from throughout the Bay Area.

As guests bid on gourds, volunteers, wearing whimsical hats decorated with little gourds, pass yummy appetizers. There's plenty of good local wine to enjoy, too.

This year, there will also be a sale of garden art and a special selection of items from Food For Thought Antiques.

In honor of Food For Thought's anniversary, expect more entertainment than in past years and other surprises.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door. They are available at Food For Thought, 6550 Railroad Ave., Forestville, by calling 887-1647 and through the web site, <a href="http://fftfoodbank.org" target="_blank">fftfoodbank.org</a>.


<strong>Rain, Rain, Don't Stay Away:</strong> On Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., Cleo Woelfle-Erskine hosts a tour of the demonstration rain garden at Salmon Creek School, 1935 Bohemian Highway, Occidental, and discusses how you can create your own rain garden at home. With the rainy season soon upon us, this is a great opportunity to learn how to beautify your garden with native plants, attract beneficial bugs and provide a sanctuary for bees, birds and other pollinators.

Woelfle-Erskine is the co-author of "Creating Rain Gardens: Capturing the Rain for Your Own Water-Efficient Garden," (Timber Press, 2012).

The event is part of the Bodega Land Trust 2013 Walks and Talks series and is co-sponsored by the Salmon Creek Watershed Council.

Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for kids. To reserve a spot, email walks@bodegalandtrust.org.


<strong>Redwood Empire Food Bank Celebrates:</strong> On Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., the Redwood Empire Food Bank hosts a grand opening, celebrating its brand new facility.

The new building, at 3990 Brickway Blvd. in northwest Santa Rosa, serves as the primary hub of food distribution to those in need in Sonoma County and beyond.

The fete includes live music, yummy foods from the facility's community kitchen, interactive experiences, tours, activities for kids and more.

There is no admission charge and the entire family is welcome. For more details about the food bank and its services, and to register for the event, visit <a href="http://refb.org" target="_blank">refb.org</a>.


<strong>Heads Up, Whiskey Lovers:</strong> On Monday, Sept. 30, the Sonoma County Single Malt Society hosts a very special whiskey tasting with George Grant, co-owner of Glenfarclas Distillery.

Grant will pour a remarkable selection that, as of press time, included 10-year, 12-year, 17-year, 21-year, 25-year and 40-year-old Cask 105 whiskies. He will also talk about his distillery, which is one of the last remaining family-owned distilleries around.

The tasting, hosted by society founders Michael Traverso and Fred Thumhart takes place at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel, 170 Railroad St., Santa Rosa, with a 6:30 p.m. check-in and 7 p.m. start time. Cost is $40 for society members and $60 for the general public.

If you want to join in, hurry and email info@sonomasinglemalt.com. The hotel requires three days notice of the number of attendees so it's down to the wire.


<strong>Benefit for Lost Hearts and Souls Horse Rescue:</strong> On Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., well-known animal advocate Betsy Bueno hosts a fundraiser for her equine rescue organization.

The afternoon event takes place at the White Barn Project, 5580 Red Hill Road, Petaluma, off D St. at the Marin County line, a former show barn. It includes a walk-around tasting of appetizers from local restaurants and sips from local wineries.

Participating facilities include Mateo's Cocina Latina, Boca Tavern, Rustic Bakery, Lagunitas Brewery, Oliver's Markets, Clover Stornetta and many more. There will be a silent auction and a drawing with dozens of prizes.

There will be plenty of entertainment, too, with face painting, arts and crafts, hay rides, a henna booth, belly dancing and a bounce house for kids.

Cost is $30, which is tax deductible.

For tickets, call Betsy Bueno at 479-5639, email BetsyBueno@aol.com, stop by Dave's Hay Barn, 3395 Petaluma Hill Road, Santa Rosa, or visit <a href="http://lostheartsandsouls.org" target="_blank">lostheartsandsouls.org</a>.


<strong>Woofstock 2013!</strong> On Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m., the Marin Humane Society, 171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd., Novato, hosts Woofstock, a benefit concert.

The Unauthorized Rolling Stones and the Sorentinos provide the entertainment.

Firetrail Pizza and Three Twins Organic Ice Cream are among the participants. There will be beer and wine, raffle prizes and many pet-friendly vendors. Kids will enjoy the twisted balloons of Oliver Twist and prizes will be awarded in the Doggie Dash contest.

In addition, there will be a fee-waived "adoptathon" beginning at 10 a.m.

Paws For Love will turn your well-behaved pup into an artist for a $25 donation.

Admission is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Children 12 and under pay $5 in advance and $10 at the door.

For advance tickets, visit <a href="http://marinhumanesociety.org" target="_blank">marinhumanesociety.org</a>.


<strong>Tasting at Tierra Vegetables:</strong> On Tuesday October 1, from 3 to 6 p.m., Chef Jennifer Una teams up with Tierra Vegetables for a fall tasting at the farm stand.

Chef Una will work with the farm's heirloom beans, chiles, squash, greens, tomatoes and more to create delicious dishes mere feet from where the produce has been grown.

Cost is $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For tickets, stop by the farm stand, 651 Airport Blvd., Santa Rosa. For more information about Chef Una's services, visit <a href="http://passionpalate.com" target="_blank">passionpalate.com</a>.


<strong>Rose and Thorn Dinner:</strong> If you've never been to the utterly charming Rose and Thorn Home and Garden Shoppe, 10050 Bodega Highway, Sebastopol, there's a great opportunity Sunday, Oct. 6, when you can enjoy a farm-to-table dinner in the magically whimsical gardens.

A La Heart Catering

Co.'s menu includes butternut squash lasagna, grass-fed beef short ribs, kale salad with pine nuts and lemon dressing, mashed potatoes and parsnips, cheeses from Valley Ford Cheese Co. and, for dessert, warm gingerbread with creme Anglais, using eggs from the estate chickens.

Speaking of chickens, Rose and Thorn has one of the finest flocks we've seen, with rare breeds in a beautiful array of colorful plumage. If you can't make it to the dinner, it is worth a special trip to do a little shopping and then sit and watch the chickens.

The dinner gets started at 6 p.m. Cost is $100 per person , which includes coffee and tea. Local wines will be available.

To secure a seat, stop by the store or call 823-9467.

<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>