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Calabash! Celebrating gourd art in Forestville


It's Calabash Time! One of the year's best fetes takes place this Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. at Food For Thought (6550 Railroad Ave., Forestville).

It's the 12th annual Calabash, a Celebration of Gourds, Art and the Garden, a major fundraiser for Sonoma County's HIV and AIDS Food Bank.

The heart of the celebration is the auction of nearly 100 original pieces of gourd art. There is also live music using instruments made of gourds, delicious foods and wines, a raffle of gorgeous gift baskets and tours of the Food For Thought gardens, overseen by Doug Gosling, one of the finest gardeners on the planet.

This year, guests can visit the newly completed memorial honoring loved ones who have died of AIDS. Gosling has incorporated revelent plants into the memorial area, focusing on those that have traditionally resonated with loss, remembrance and love.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Food For Thought, by calling 887-1647 and on line at fftfoodbank.org.

Love Our Laguna: October is full of wonderful activities at the Laguna Environmental Center.

On Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Charlie Kennard hosts a cordage-making workshop. Students will learn about different types of fibers in native plants and various techniques for using them to make cordage. Kennard is a long-time student of California Native American basketry.

Cost is $75 for the general public and $65 for members of the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation.

Next Saturday, October 13, Edward Willie will make a presentation about indigenous permaculture in California. The presentation, part of the Second Saturday of the Month Open House, takes place from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Cost is a suggested donation of $10; reservations are not necessary.

Through the month, the center is holding a "Focus on the Laguna" photo contest. There are three categories, children up to 18 years with an entry fee of $2 per person; adults over 18, with an entry fee of $5 and professional photographers, with an entry fee of $10.

Registration details and a complete list of programs, outings and events can be found at lagunafoundation.org.

The Laguna Environmental Center is located at 900 Sanford Rd. in Santa Rosa.

The Amazing Laurie Marker: Next Wednesday, Oct. 10, Dr. Laurie Marker will make a presentation at Safari West from 6 to 9 p.m.

Marker's annual visit to Safari West nearly always sells out in advance, so if you want to see her, get your tickets right away. Cost is $45 for adults and $15 for children aged 4 to 12; the price includes dinner. If you want to spend the night, there's a special rate of $150. For reservations, call 566-3667 or email reservations@safariwest.com.

Marker, who grew up in the North Bay, is the founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund and works internationally to save the world's fastest cat — and one of its most beautiful. Her work in Namibia, where she has established research, education and visitors centers, is extraordinary. A single aspect of it, a livestock guard dog program, has saved countless cheetahs.

Dr. Marker was recognized by Time Magazines's Heroes of the Planet in 2000 and has received the Burrow's Conservation Award. Her passion for the cheetah is inspiring and infectious.

Safari West is located at 3115 Porter Creek Rd. in Santa Rosa. For more information, visit safariwest.com.

For more information about Dr. Marker's work, visit cheetah.org.

Soule Studio Fall Sale: Aletha Soule's fall warehouse sale is taking place a bit earlier this year. It's this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 103 Morris St., Space V, Sebastopol.

As always, expect a crowd at 10 a.m.; people start getting in line around 9:30 a.m. By 11:30 a.m., things calm down a bit. It's a good idea to time your visit based on how you feel about crowds.

And, as we always recommend, it's a good idea to browse the Soule Studio Web site and plan your purchases or at least narrow down what you think you'll want. You'll find it at soulestudio.com.

You should also bring a sturdy box or basket to hold your purchases, and don't forget that you'll need cash or a check. You can't use credit cards at the sale.

This year, there's an added attraction. Table linens from Amidi, an association of Mayan woman from Guatemala who farm and weave, will be available, too. The linens will be sold separately from the ceramics and 100 percent of the proceeds go to Amidi. To preview the linens, visit amidiguatemala.org.

Fall Fiber Fest: On Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mimi Luebbermann's Windrush Farm (2263 Chileno Valley Rd., Petaluma) hosts its annual fiber festival.

There will be a sheep walk at noon, a discussion about fleece at 11:30 a.m., a carding demonstration at 1 p.m., a spinning demonstration at 2 p.m. and a dyeing demonstration at 3 p.m.

There will be yummy pizzas from the brick oven throughout the day and sales booths where you can purchase fibers, buttons and more. And it's all free, including the opportunity to simply soak up the lovely atmosphere of this rustic and beautiful working farm.

Cheeses of France: On Saturday, Minna Gallery in San Francisco is hosting a pop-up cafe from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. featuring more than 20 different French cheeses, along with French wines and passed appetizers. Five French cheesemakers will be on hand to discuss their craft.

The cheeses will also be available for purchase at below retail prices. The tasting is free.

Minna Gallery is located at 111 Minna St. between First and Third Streets.

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