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And a happy Cinco to you

THERE WILL BE LIVE MUSIC and dancers at La Luz’s Cinco de Mayo celebration on Saturday, May 3. Index-Tribune file photo

THERE WILL BE LIVE MUSIC and dancers at La Luz’s Cinco de Mayo celebration on Saturday, May 3. Index-Tribune file photo

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It is, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, spring. Some would argue that it’s been spring, on and off, since about New Year’s, and now it’s summer. The vernal equinox came and went without notice back in March and the summer solstice doesn’t arrive until June 21, bringing with it our longest period of daylight, notwithstanding the vagaries of latitude and climate change. And now that it’s May, many of us are asking, wait, what happened to April?

Be all that as it may, one thing is abundantly clear – the Sonoma Valley social calendar is moving into high gear, if in fact it ever actually idles, and the activity agenda is rapidly inflating.

We thought it would be useful to review some of the upcoming events for the weekend, all of them tied in one way or another to the plethora of nonprofits that grace the Valley.

First up, today (Friday), at Buena Vista Winery, Pets Lifeline is hosting its annual Tail Wags and Handbags gala to raise funds for the animal refuge and resource center. If you need another handbag, the ladies luncheon may have a few tickets left, the cause is a good one and the experience is always well-oiled with good wine. Call 996-4577 to inquire.

Later in the day, from 5:30 to 7:30, the WillMar Family Grief and Healing Center is holding a “Hopester Open House” for those interested in learning more about the center’s Guardians of Hope and Hopester campaign. Wine and light appetizers will be served to those wanting more information about this special and remarkable local resource. RSVP online at willmarcenter.org.

Next comes Cinco de Mayo, in principle a celebration of the Mexican defeat of the invading French forces at the battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, but in practice a primarily Mexican-American celebration of culture and pride.

Ground zero for local “Cinco” celebrating is La Luz Center, which will hold its annual free event on Saturday, May 3, from 3:30 to 6 p.m., at 17560 Greger Street, in Boyes Hot Springs.

There will, of course, be traditional dancing, with the Mexican folklore dance company Quetzalen, augmented by the Brazilian group Capoeira Mandinga, which combines dance, martial arts and acrobatics. Music will abound, with a classical guitar performance by virtuoso Jose Arnulfo “on Strings,” along with a DJ.

Valley businesses are donating food, so no one should leave hungry, and there will be plenty of fun for kids. The whole event has been organized by volunteers, high school students and local businesses.

If you’re muchísimo into Cinco, you can stretch the celebration into Sunday, May 4, by visiting Cornerstone for the second annual Cinco de Mayo Festival and Tamale Cook off, which benefits Sonoma Valley Schools and last year raised $18,000. Tickets are $20, $10 for kids 3-to-12, online (cincodemayosonoma.com), at Readers’ Books, Pharmaca and at several Valley schools, or at the door if they haven’t sold out. Festivities run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and include live music, traditional Mexican folk dancing, children’s activities and a raffle, with the tamale cookoff starting at 11 a.m., with a panel of local celebrity judges, and lunch is included in the ticket cost. The address, if you’ve never been there, is 23570 Arnold Drive, and it’s almost impossible to miss.

That’s a start. If you can’t find something to do this weekend, you’re not looking.