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 email@example.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.