Summertime is running out

With only a week left before most kids start heading back to school, North Coast families are scrambling to make the most of what's left of the summer that never was.

At Santa Rosa's Howarth Park and across the county at Lake Sonoma, families, teens and young couples spent Saturday with the usual picnics, birthday parties, hikes and boat rides - a sort of last hurrah before the days of homework begin.

"It's been our only hurrah so far this year," joked Shannon Moore of Santa Rosa, who celebrated her son Gavin's third birthday with friends and family in the park's picnic area near the boat ramp.

"Seems like we should have barbecued more," said Gavin's Dad, Shon Moore, expressing a widely shared feeling that summer has come and already is almost gone.

Nine-year-old Jacob Monday, who was at Gavin's party, said he often went off to camp in previous summers, though he did go to basketball camp at Santa Rosa Junior College this summer.

Lori Austin, Jacob's mother, said the week ahead will be spent getting ready for school. The family's usual Morro Bay camping trip never happened this summer, she said.

"We're going to be shopping and trying to change the routine from late nights to early nights," she said.

Lake Sonoma's bright blue waters greeted scores of people who came to tube and fish as the season waned.

Darrell Huck, a volunteer host at Liberty Glen campground, said families with children appeared to be getting their fill before it all comes to an end.

It used to be school started after Labor Day but now it kicks off a full two weeks before so high school students can complete exams before the Christmas holiday break. The shift happened in 2006.

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