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Weekend fun for oyster lovers


Those Busy Oyster Girls: This Saturday, the Oyster Girls flex their shucking wrists at Muscardini Cellars (9380 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood) from 1 to 4 p.m. For $20, guests can enjoy four oysters and a glass of sparkling wine, pinot grigio or Rosato. Four oysters not enough? No reason you can't pony up another twenty bucks.

On Sunday, Iron Horse Vineyards ( 9786 Ross Station Road, Sebastopol) kicks off this year's Oyster Sundays, which continue through the end of May. From noon to 4 p.m., the Oyster Girls will be on hand with freshly shucked oysters for $2 each, cash only. You can enjoy them with a glass of Iron Horse bubbly.

Reservations are neither needed nor accepted.

In the heart of Lakeville: Every Friday and Saturday, Keller Estate (5875 Lakeville Highway, Petaluma) hosts a cave tour and barrel tasting. Tours start at 11:30 a.m. and last about an hour and a half.

Things get started with a walk through La Cruz Vineyards, with its breathtaking view of the Petaluma Gap, currently within the Sonoma County viticultural area but likely to become an appellation in its own right before too much time passes. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Mt. Tamalpais.

Guests will also see the full wine making facility and stroll through the caves to a sit-down tasting by candlelight.

Cost is $40 per person. You can sign up for a tour at kellerestate.com or call 765-2117.

A special reason to visit this part of Lakeville is the opportunity to see the graceful "s" curve of the Petaluma River.

You can't see it from the winery itself, but if you stop at the top of the road and look south, there it will be unless, of course, it is enshrouded by fog. Allow some extra time and bring your camera; on a good day, it's breathtakingly beautiful.

Is Beer Brewing an Art or a Craft? This Friday night, you can decide as the Sonoma Community Center hosts "Beer-vana: Nirvana for Beer Lovers," a tasting and amateur competition at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Building (126 First St. West, Sonoma).

This year, the third for the competition, 275 homemade beers were submitted for judging; winners will be announced at Friday's fete.

The "Best in Show" brew will be produced at Dempsey's in Petaluma and served at Hop Monk Taverns in Sonoma, Sebastopol and Novato.

Friday's party will feature dozens of beers to sample and compare, along with coffee and nibbles to sustain you while you taste.

There also will be music by Jason Bodlovich Group and Ragtag Sullivan.

Admission is $40 per person in advance and $45 at the door; the price includes all tastings, live music and a commemorative beer glass. T-shirts will be available for purchase.

All proceeeds benefit the Sonoma Community Center.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call 938-4626 ext. 1

Sweet Sounds of Aloha: With the 50th Annual Merrie Monarch in full swing in Hilo, Hawaii, it's a great time to soak up a bit of local aloha. There are two opportunities coming right up.

On Friday night, Da Puna Bruddahs appears at the French Garden Restaurant and Bistro (8050 Bodega Ave., Sebastopol). The band plays from 7 to 10 p.m.

On Sunday evening, the band returns to Sweet T's Restaurant and Bar (2097 Stagecoach Road, Santa Rosa) to entertain and enchant you from 6 to 9 p.m.

Both locations can fill up quickly so if you want a seat, you may want to arrive earlier rather than later.

There is no cover charge at either venue, but there is always a tip jar for showing your gratitude. You should remember to tip your bartender, as well.

Da Puna Bruddahs is a trio, with Bill Rhyne on guitar and vocals, George Ah Chin on ukulele and vocals, and Tom Martin on bass and vocals.

And speaking of the French Garden, there's more good music there on Saturday night, when Solid Air plays its beloved blend of folk, rock and Americana, with Sam Page on upright bass and vocals and Allegra Broughton on guitar and vocals.

Walk and Smell the Flowers: Sonoma Ecology Center is currently hosting a series of walks through the Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve, said to have one of the most remarkable displays of wildflowers in the county.

The 162-acre property is located near the base of Sonoma Mountain and is protected in perpetuity by conservation easements. The ecology center manages the property.

The next hike takes place Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon, with additional hikes for the general public scheduled on April 11, 20 and 21. The hike is consider to be at the beginner and intermediate levels, with some changes in elevation.

All participants must wear appropriate footwear. Sun protection is a good idea, too.

Hikes are free, but reservations are required. If you want to join in, sign up soon because space is limited. To snag a spot, visit sonomaecologycenter.org.

Tea for Tweets: A week from Sunday, on April 14, Patisserie Angelica (6821 Laguna Park Way, Sebastopol) is hosting a special benefit for Native Songbird Care and Conservation, formerly the Songbird Hospital.

What the sweet little cafe calls "West County High Tea" will be offered from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $28 per person, which includes tea, savories, scones and sweets.

Veronica Bowers, founder of the organization, will be on hand to chat with guests and provide information about local songbirds and what it takes to care for them.

Native Songbird Care operates year round and is funded solely by donations.

Every year, Bowers and her volunteer staff care for hundreds of injured and orphaned birds and release most back into the wild.

For more information, including what to do should you find a songbird who needs help, visit nativesongbirdcare.org.

Reservations for tea are essential, so call 827-7998 to make yours.

Hurry, Horton Hears a Bingo: If you've not yet experienced a game of Bingo with the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, here's an opportunity you may not want to miss. And if you don't want to miss it, get your tickets now. Bingo with the Sisters is enormously popular.

Next Saturday, April 13, "Horton Hears a Bingo" takes place at the Guerneville Veterans Memorial Hall (First Street, Guerneville). It is a benefit for Food For Thought, Sonoma County AIDS Food Bank.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the games get started at 7 p.m. Renee of Fern's Market will cater the event with meals and snacks and, perhaps best of all, there will be a costume contest.

Tickets are $20 per person, which includes admission, two bingo card packs and five raffle tickets.

A limited number of tickets are available at the door. Three special VIP tables for 10 are available for $250 and must be purchased by today.

To buy tickets online for this or any other game night, visit rrsisters.org.

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