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Tolay Fall Festival 2012: The seventh annual Tolay Fall Festival is underway and it is high on our list of don't-miss October activities.

The festival is open to the public this weekend, October 13 and 14, and next weekend, October 20 and 21. It is also open on several weekdays for school groups.

The festival features a straw maze, a petting zoo, food stands, lawn games, a Native American village, traditional crafts for kids and a pumpkin seed spitting contest. Our favorite part is the creatures barn, where you can get up close and personal with a variety of creepy crawlies.

A hay ride to a large pumpkin patch, where families can find perfect pumpkins for Halloween, is a highlight of the festival.

Admission is $4 for anyone age 13 and older and $1 for kids 12 and under. Parking is $7 per car.

If you have a Sonoma County park membership, parking is free and you are entitled to two free adult and two free kid admissions.

Tolay Lake Regional Park is located in the Lakeville area east of Petaluma, down Cannon Lane, off Lakeville Highway. For a map, driving directions and more details about the festival and the park, visit sonoma-county.org/parks.

Canvas Ranch Open Studio and Farm: While you are out and about for Artrails, you might want to put Canvas Ranch on your list. Artist Tim Schaible is participating in Artrails and his wife, Deborah Walton, is joining in by welcoming guests to Canvas Ranch, too. Farm products will be available for purchase from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 13, 14, 20 and 21.

This is a working ranch, with chickens, goats, sheep and guard dogs so you need to leave your beloved pup at home.

Canvas Ranch is at 755 Tomales Road, Petaluma. To preview Schaible's work, visit timschaible.com. To learn more about Canvas Ranch, visit canvasranch.com.

Goodbye, Columbus: This Saturday, Freya Lodge hosts its annual celebration of all things Nordic, a fete that coincides with Leif Erikson Day. History says that Norwegians, lead by Erikson, landed in North America five centuries before Christopher Columbus.

The fete includes a sale of Scandinavian items, arts, crafts, a bake sale, a raffle, a "Taste of Norway" lunch, demonstrations and an opportunity to release your inner Viking with a variety of historical reenactments.

It all takes place at Norway Hall, at 617 West Ninth St., Santa Rosa. Admission is free.

Harvest Hoedown at Trappe Family Ranch: On Saturday, LifeWorks of Sonoma County, a nonprofit mental health agency based in Santa Rosa, hosts its annual fundraiser at the Trappe Family Ranch, at 12620 Bodega Highway in Sebastopol.

The party kicks off at 4 p.m. and continues until the last of the cows come home.

Highlights include square dancing with Steve Minkin, line dancing to music by Court &‘n Disaster, mechanical bull rides, a cake walk, a silent auction and dinner by Oak and Smoke Catering. There will be lots of Sonoma County wines, brews from Lagunitas Brewing Co. and other good things to drink.

Cost is $75 per person and all proceeds benefit the emotional well-being of Sonoma County children and families.

For tickets, call 568-2300.

Party in Glen Ellen: On Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., Glen Ellen Village hosts its 22nd annual Glen Ellen Village Fair.

A section of Arnold Drive (between London Ranch and Warm Springs Road) is closed for the fete and the fun kicks off with one of Ms. Mouthful's favorite things, a parade (it's eclectic, so expect the unexpected) through town. There will be live music, yummy things to eat and drink, vendor booths, lots of fun for kids in Kids' Alley, a dunk tank, commemorative t-shirts and more.

The Month of Los Muertos: Petaluma's month-long celebration of El Dia de los Muertos is underway and will continue through November 4.

There are too many events to list in any one column but highlights in the upcoming days include an artists reception on Saturday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. to highlight the works of Bay Area artists and special illustrations of master printmakers Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852 to 1913) and Manuel Manilla (1830 to 1895). The reception takes place at the Petaluma Arts Center, 230 Lakeville St.; there will be live music and refreshments.

On Saturday afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m., there's an introduction to El Dia de los Muertos and open house at Colors of Spanish (55 Maria Dr., Suite 844, Petaluma). This event, suitable for the entire family, explores a multi-cultural tradition that is becoming increasingly popular in Sonoma County and the North Bay.

On Sunday, there will be a "Catrina" hat-making workshop and participants should bring photos, trinkets, buttons, jewelry and other small mementos that celebrate departed loved ones. Cost is $40 per person plus a $10 materials fee. Men, women and children are invited. This event, too, takes place at the Petaluma Arts Center.

Stay turned for news of other Los Muertos events as they approach. Petaluma's celebration is one of the year's best and most diverse celebrations and warrants many visits.

Bacon! Need we say more? Bacon is enough to get almost anyone excited. And it's the theme for the KSRO 26th Annual Good Food Hour Recipe Contest.

Here's how the annual contest works. You have until Wednesday, October 31, to get your written recipe to KSRO AM. You can mail it to KSRO Recipe Contest, P. O. Box 2158, Santa Rosa 95405, fax it to 571-1097 or email it to steve@ksro.com

Four finalists will be chosen to gather with their prepared dishes at G & G Supermarket (1211 West College Ave., Santa Rosa) at 11 a.m. on November 3 for a broadcast of The Good Food Hour. Host Steve Garner's co-host, John Ash, and a panel of judges will taste the entries and award the prizes during the show, which airs live from 11 a.m. to noon.

After the conclusion of the show, audience members are usually able to taste the winning dishes.

Each entry must feature bacon and it can be any course, from appetizers, soups and salads to breads, main courses, side dishes and desserts. Rumaki, anyone? Or a BLT Margarita?

The Good Food Hour has been broadcast live on KSRO since 1987, making it the longest running food show in the Bay Area and likely the entire state.

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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