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It could well be one of the busiest weekends of the year in Sonoma County, one that has hotel rooms booked solid across the county and offers something for nearly all tastes.

By the time the sun sets Sunday evening, more than 35,000 people will have cycled over coastal hills, savored classical and bluegrass music at the region's newest entertainment venue, and cheered dirt-track motorcycle racing under sunny skies and temperatures expected in the upper 80s to low 90s.

"There's a ton going on," said Tim Zahner of Sonoma County Tourism, the organization that promotes the county as a destination for travelers.

Visitors will be pouring into Sonoma County from around the world for a trio of major events that appeal to nearly every sensibility.

The Green Music Center's grand opening weekend features concerts by Chinese classical pianist Lang Lang, the Santa Rosa Symphony and country-bluegrass stars Alison Krauss & Union Station on Saturday and Sunday. Nearly 15,000 tickets have been sold for the first major performances at the $145 million facility on the Sonoma State University campus in Rohnert Park.

"It's the newest thing on the scene," said Ryan Ernst, the center's marketing director, describing the 1,400-seat Weill Hall, modeled after the famed Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts. "You really have to experience it to get it."

The hall is sold out all weekend, with up to 4,600 more patrons seated on an outside terrace.

Sold out since January, Levi's GranFondo, named after Santa Rosa professional cyclist Levi Leipheimer, will attract 7,500 riders to a mass start Saturday morning at the Finley Center in Santa Rosa.

Ranging in age from 8 to 80 years old, the cyclists will pedal west and fan out on three courses of 35, 65 and 103 miles. The latter includes the King Ridge segment's tortuous climbs, white-knuckle descents and stunning coastal vistas.

Food, beer, live music and children's games will draw 10,000 or more additional people to a daylong festival at the Finley Center, where Leipheimer and friends, including cyclists Tom Danielson and Kristin Armstrong, actor Patrick Dempsey and possibly former Giant Barry Bonds will give a shout-out at 4 p.m.

Two-wheelers with plenty of horsepower will roar today, Saturday and Sunday at the Santa Rosa Mile as flat-track motorcycle racing returns to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds after a 42-year absence.

Short-track races will run today and Saturday, capped by the AMA's Grand National Championship events on Sunday with $56,000 in prize money on the line. Tickets and information are available at www.santarosamile.com.

A fourth event, the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission's Harvest Fair awards dinner -- with attendance limited to 750 wine industry members -- may be smaller, but is a highlight of the wine industry's annual social calendar.

The Saturday night dinner, held at the county fairgrounds' Grace Pavilion, culminates three days of tasting of more than 950 wines by Harvest Fair judges. At the end, the sweepstakes winners will be announced and booklets listing all the medal winners will be released.

The public gets to taste the winners next week during the Harvest Fair, Oct. 5-7.

To top it all off, forecasters are predicting wonderful weather for the weekend.

"Perfect conditions for a great weekend," Zahner said, noting the summerlike weather and clusters of ripening grapes still hanging on the vines.


Here are a list of upcoming fun runs happening nearby:

Russian River Mud Run When: Today Start line: 3200 Rio Lindo Ave., Healdsburg Details: An obstacle course race through muddy slopes, rivers and woods.

Information: russianrivermudrun.com

San Francisco Mad Dash

When: Today Start line: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco Details: Costumed racers run from Golden Gate Park, entertained by spooky stunts and live music.

Information: sfmaddash.com

Run or Dye 5K

When: Saturday Start line: Sonoma County Fairgrounds Details: Racers start off clean, becoming human canvases in a color-blasting run.

Information: runordye.com

Bad Prom Run

When: Nov. 15 Start line: Candlestick Park, San Francisco Details: An evening 5K through San Francisco, wearing either the run's Bad Prom T-shirt or your very own tacky prom ensemble.

Information: badprom.com



The Color Run

When: March 15 Where: San Francisco Information: thecolorrun.com

Dirty Girl Mud Run

When: March 22 Where: San Francisco Info: godirtygirl.com

Northern California Zombie

Run for Your Lives When: April 12 Where: Vallejo Information: runforyourlives.com NorCal Tough Mudder

When: April 12-13

Where: Patterson Info: toughmudder.com

The AccuWeather forecasting service predicts a high of 88 degrees on Saturday in Santa Rosa and 92 on Sunday, with plenty of sun.

More than 30 hotels and motels in Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Windsor and Sebastopol are fully booked on Saturday night, according to the travel reservation site Expedia.

Hotel room rates and occupancy have run higher all year than in 2011, and September has been especially good for the tourism industry, which accounts for about 16,500 jobs in Sonoma County, Zahner said.

With an event-packed weekend on tap, "September is going to end with a bang," he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.

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