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Heads up, Q Fans! On Saturday, Sept. 10, the Kansas City Barbecue Society takes wine country by smoky storm, with a barbecue extravaganza and competition at Sonoma Academy (2500 Farmers Lane, Santa Rosa, off Kawanas Springs Road.

Twenty-five pitmasters from throughout the country will compete in several categories, with $7,500 in prize money awarded to the winners. There will also be a "Firehouse Bold Bean Challenge" and "Winery Big Beef Challenge." To explore the details of each of the challenges, visit winecountrybigq.com.

The Q takes place from 1 to 5 p.m., with live entertainment provided by the Blue Rock Country Club Band and Pete Stringfellow.

Admission is $45 in advance and $50 at the door and tickets are available at the web site, where there is a click-through to Brown Paper Tickets, which adds a service fee to each ticket. A portion of the proceeds benefit WOW, the Worth Our Weight Culinary Apprenticeship Program.

The ticket prices includes tastings of a pound of barbecue per person; the 'q will be served in 2-ounce portions.

Last Tendejon of the Year: As chef Mateo Granados gets ready to launch his new restaurant (any day now), he is hosting the final Tendejon de Calle--his roving dinners--of the season, this one at Preston Vineyards of Dry Creek.

It's actually a two-day event, with dinner served from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday nights.

The menu includes a crisp tortilla cone filled with guacamole, shrimp, squashes and raw-milk feta; chilled tomato essence soup with Preston olive oil and baby shrimp; grill Dry Creek Farm peaches, watercress, raw-milk feta and local honey; Preston lamb braised with herbs, Preston pork picadita and tomato salsa and crispy Bodega Bay sanddabs with cherry tomatoes, Preston olives, corn, salsa verde and greens. For dessert, Sebastopol Berry Farm ice cream will be paired with Preston strawberry salsa.

Items are priced a la carte and payment is by cash or check only, no credit cards. The menu is designed for pairing with Preston wines. If you want to bring your own wine -- but, really, why would you take wine to a winery? -- there's a $20 corkage fee.

For reservations, call 837-0774 or email reservations@tendejon.com.

Love Your Laguna: It's time for one of late summer's best events, the Eighth Annual Garden Art Gala, a benefit for Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, taking place this Sunday, Sept. 11, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Vine Hill House (3601 Vine Hill Rd., Sebastopol). This event is at the top of Ms. Mouthful's to-do list this week.

Part of what makes this such a great event is its size. It is not at all crowded and so there is plenty of time to relax, chat with friends and enjoy the exquisite location. The art--more than 40 pieces by local artists--is a joy, too, and includes traditional painting and photography, outdoor sculpture and whimsical bird feeders and nesting boxes. All art is sold by silent auction. There are several lots of wine in the silent auction, as well.

There's a live auction, too, that focuses on experiences, such as long-distance getaways, special dinners, adventures on the Laguna and more.

Through it all, there is plenty to eat and drink, with wine from several of the area's best boutique wineries pouring. Pizza Politana and Bay Laurel Culinary are among those contributing food to the event.

As of press time, a few tickets, $75 each, were available. To snag one and to learn more about the foundation, visit lagunafoundation.org. For information by phone, call 527-9277.

The Laguna de Santa Rosa is one of Sonoma County's most important natural habitats; it is home to dozens of species of animals and birds, including great blue herons, elegant egrets and those geniuses of nature, ravens. If you haven't taken a stroll through the Laguna, fall is a perfect time to get to know it.

Support Our Future Farmers: On Saturday evening, Sept. 10, Sonoma Valley High School Future Farmers of America and Agriculture Progrom host their annual fundraiser at Larson Family Winery (23335 Millerick Rd., Sonoma). The theme of the evening is "Growing Our Future."

Things get started at 4 p.m., with barbecued oysters and tri-tip, homemade chili, polenta, Caesar salad, Vella cheeses and Blue Ribbon Desserts, with plenty of Larson Family wines to enjoy alongside.

The Rich Little Band will provide live music and Ed Vaughn presides over a live auction. There will also be a silent auction.

Tickets are $40 each and all proceeds benefit the program's classes, which include animal science, plant and soil science; ag mechanics, business and science and forestry and natural resources.

For tickets to Growing Our Future, email SonomaFFA@yahoo.com or call Becky Larson at 938-3031 ext. 24.

High-Stepping Into Success: Next weekend, the Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce Women in Business hosts "Step Into Success," an all-day conference that explores all aspects of success and well-being, with workshops on topics ranging from using social media for professional success to looking your best without plastic surgery.

Speakers include Louann Brizendine M. D., author of "The Female Brain" and "The Male Brain." Anne Fischer Silva, a nutritionist based in Petaluma, will discuss the connection between stress, hormones and diet. Family, fitness, relationships, health, communication, nutrition and finance will all be addressed and there will be plenty of opportunities to network.

At noon, there's lunch and a fashion show and following the work sessions, there's a guided wine tasting and a raffle.

Cost is $85 for the general public; members of the Petaluma Chamber pay $75. To sign up, visit petalumachamber.com/WIB/.

Heritage Seeds and more: The National Heirloom Expo kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds (1350 Bennet Valley Rd., Santa Rosa).

The three-day event, presented and hosted by Baker Creek Seed Company and their Petaluma store, The Seed Bank, features dozens of vendors, several well-known speakers, workshops, contests, animal shows, live music, games, film screenings, and an opportunity to taste a huge variety of heritage foods.

Wednesday, September 14, is kid's day.

There are so many things going on at this expo that we can't do justice to the scope of the event in a single item. Ms. Mouthful suggests you check out the schedule at theheirloomexpo.com before you head to the fairgrounds. Plan your visit.

The expo opens daily at 11 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m.

Single-day adult admission is $10; a three-day pass is $25. Anyone 17 years or younger is admitted free.

Friday Night Aloha: Da Puna Bruddahs, Sonoma County's Hawaiian trio, will play Friday night, Sept. 9, at Legends, the sports bar and grill at the Bennett Valley Golf Course (3328 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa).

Music starts and 6 p.m. and wraps up around 9 p.m. There is no cover charge.

The trio, which includes George Ah Chin, Larry Jones and Bill Rhyne, was formed about a year-and-a-half ago but each of the musicians has deep roots in and a great love for Hawaii. Their music is both warm and, somehow, gentle, like the trade winds on a sultry Hawaiian evening.

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/

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