It’s been happening since 1897 in some form or another. Debating whether it’s been happening continuously since then will likely get you into a fist fight with an old-timer, but one thing is for sure. The second longest running festival in the State of California celebrating the harvest of the grapes, second only to the Tournament of Roses, the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival begins tonight, Sept. 27, in and around the historic Sonoma Plaza.
The festival is dear to us, having spent two years on the all-volunteer board recently, and frankly were shocked to find that the festival had fallen out of favor with many locals, who look at the festival as “just another money making event on the Plaza for someone” – and they’re mostly right. The “someone” is the numerous nonprofits in the Sonoma Valley. The festival foots the bill for renting the entire Plaza for the weekend and provides space for many nonprofits in the Valley to raise money, some capturing close to their entire years budget by being at the festival. Tens of thousands of dollars are raised by the more than 20 nonprofit groups that will be selling everything from sno-cones to hamburgers and even that chance to hit a salami with a potato and take it home. In addition, all money raised, other than operating expenses, is also donated back to a worthy charity.
There will be wine tasting, art, a re-enactment of the Bear Flag Revolt and even live music, kicking off tonight with the ’80s tribute act Tainted Love rocking the Patrons Night Gala in the Sonoma barracks. Saturday, Sept. 28, it’s country western day, with locals Train Wreck Junction starting the music at 11:30 a.m., followed by the Shannon Rider Band at 2 p.m. Then it’s the Buck Ford Pure Country Band at 4 p.m. with the California Cowboys wrapping it up at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, kicks off at 11:30 a.m. with Dginn followed by Beso Negro at 1:30 p.m. followed by It’s a Beautiful Day, featuring David and Linda LaFlamme at 3:30 p.m. For more info you can point your browser to valleyofthemoonvintagefestival.com or just show up and help out some local nonprofits and have a good time. Attendance to the festival, other than tonight’s patron’s gala, is free and open to the public and is family-friendly to boot.
HopMonk Tavern Sonoma welcomes Matt Bradford tonight, Sept. 27, to the garden stage for a 5 p.m. show. Later on the tavern stage it’s Tommy Thomsen, starting at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, the tavern has Gypsy Jazz Caravan on the garden stage for a 1 p.m. show and Ten Foot Tone inside on the tavern stage at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, the garden stage presents Adam Traum, for a 1 p.m. show. There is no cover for any of the shows.
The Annex Wine Bar has Michael L. Castle, tonight, Sept.27, for his debut at annex, kicking off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, it’s 2 friends and a Benz, also starting at 7:30 p.m. There is no cover either night.
The Rolling Blackouts will be at the Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards tonight, Sept. 27, starting at 6 p.m. It is also a food truck Friday event, with several food purveyors in the parking lot. The venue is family- and dog-friendly and there is no cover, but no outside alcohol is allowed, even beer.