When it comes time to have fun, nothing beats the long, warm days of a Sonoma County summer. To help you make plans, we’ve collected our favorite ways to pass the time and a few special places to visit, organized by category.
May 1-July 24 — “Tom Holland — Five Decades of Art,” Art Museum of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa: Approximately fifty pieces of Holland’s art, dating from the 1950s to 2016 and utilizing simple materials like fiberglass and aluminum, will be on exhibit. Admission: $7-$10. Children 12 and under free. 579-1500. sonomacountymuseum.org.
May 29-Sept. 5 — “Medieval to Metal — The Art and Evolution of the Guitar,” History Museum of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa: A traveling exhibition, organized by the National Guitar Museum, brings the design history of the guitar to visitors through objects, illustrations and photographs. Admission: $7-$10. Children 12 and under free. 579-1500. sonomacountymuseum.org.
June 4-5 & 11-12 — Art at the Source, West Sonoma County: Follow the yellow signs and travel the beautiful back roads of western Sonoma County during two weekends of free Open Studio Tours. More than 160 professional and emerging artists in 102 studios. Explore a variety of fine arts, meet the artists and learn about their methods and inspirations. 829-4797. artatthesource.org.
June 25 — “Tom Holland’s Studio Tour,” History Museum of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa: Tour of Holland’s Studio at 2020 Stuart St., Berkeley, will add to the visitor’s understanding and enjoyment of the current exhibition, “Tom Holland: Five Decades of Work.” Admission: $15-$30. 579-1500. sonomacountymuseum.org.
July 2-Sept. 25 — “Surf Craft — Design and the Culture of Board Riding,” Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma: Traditional craft, cutting-edge engineering and minimalist art converge in this exhibition devoted to surfboards built from the late 1940s to the present day. Admission: $5-$8, 18 and under free. Every Wednesday free for all visitors. 939-7862. svma.org
July 23-Sept. 25 — “Journeys through Light and Dark — Dolls as Tellers of Stories,” Petaluma Arts Center, Petaluma: Exhibition of original artist dolls in all media creating an original interpretation of the power of the doll as an instrument to tell a story and convey emotion. Dolls carry stories and often touch on emotions such as joy, hope, sorrow and despair. Admission: $4-$5. 762-5600. petalumaartscenter.org.
June 22-26 — Sonoma-Marin Fair & Ugly Dog Contest, Petaluma: Home of the internationally famous “World’s Ugliest Dog Contest,” this 5-day event also features agricultural exhibits, livestock shows, pig races, arts and crafts displays, chef demonstrations, wine tasting, carnival rides and fair food. Free concerts starring Tower of Power, Joe Nichols, Hinder and LeAnn Rimes. Admission: $10-$15. 283-3247 sonoma-marinfair.org.
June 30-July 4 — Marin County Fair, San Rafael: Spectacular fireworks nightly, 28 free carnival rides, petting zoo, hands-on family activities, beer and wine tasting, arts and crafts. Entertainment includes Short Film & Video Festival, Chinese Circus of Beijing and free concerts starring The Wallflowers, Kool & the Gang, Sheila E, Plain White T’s and Foreigner. Admission: $12-$20, 4 and under free. 415-473-4381. marinfair.org/2016.
July 4 — Napa County Fair & Fireworks, Calistoga: All-American 4th of July Fair & Fireworks with a classic parade through downtown Calistoga, nostalgic games, antique tractors, live music, strolling entertainment, blue ribbon-winning exhibits and displays, arts and crafts, barbecue, wine tasting and Chef’s Showcase. Ticket info 942-5111. napacountyfair.org.
Hidden Gems: Sonoma County's Summer Arts & Events