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.