Festival fun: Fairs offer variety of music, art, food and wine

Photo By: Photo by Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
Castello di Amorosa in St. Helena hosts Festival del Sole’s opening-night concert.

School’s not even out yet, but there’s a tempting aroma of summertime fun in the air as a number of regional festivals pop up on the calendar.

The best of the best seem to be centered in Wine Country, just a few scenic hours’ drive from Los Altos, but Lake Tahoe also beckons.

Noshing in Napa

Napa Valley is scheduled to host two upcoming parties.

BottleRock Napa, a multiday celebration of music, wine, beer, food and comedy, is slated Thursday through Sunday at the Napa Valley Expo, 575 3rd St. in Napa. The music lineup includes big names such as Jackson Browne, Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, Jane’s Addiction, Primus and Cake. Greg Behrendt and Rob Delaney are among the comedians taking the stage.

Forty top Sonoma and Napa wineries, including Rutherford Ranch, Schug Carneros Estate, Del Dotto Vineyards and the Boyd Family Vineyard, will be pouring.

Foodies can feast on culinary delights from ZuZu Tapas & Paella, Sweetie Pies, Tra Vigne, Kitchen Door and Gott’s Roadside.

A three-day pass for Friday, Saturday and Sunday is $329. Single-day passes are $139. VIP passes are also available.

The festival benefits numerous nonprofit organizations, including Autism Chords.

Book hotels through the BottleRock website, but availability is limited at the swankier places.

For tickets and more information, visit

Festival del Sole, an annual 10-day gala benefiting the nonprofit Sole Foundation, is set for July 12-21 in venues throughout Napa Valley.

The festival, billed as a “Celebration of the Art of Life,” features 100 wineries; more than 60 events; performers from the worlds of music, dance and theater; Napa Valley wines and cuisine; and art, wellness and community programs.

The event’s eighth season kicks off with a concert featuring singer Audra McDonald at Castello di Amorosa, a medieval-style Tuscan castle and winery in Calistoga.

Ticket prices vary according to event. Allegro passes, which include admission to the “A Taste of Napa” event at the Napa Valley Country Club and other parties, cost $199 per person. VIP passes offering exclusive access to cultural performances and galas will also be available. Some concerts are free. To purchase individual concert tickets, stop by the Lincoln Theater, 100 California Drive in Yountville; or call (707) 944-9900.

For tickets and more information, visit

Sipping in Sonoma

Taste Alexander Valley, a wine tour scheduled 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18 and 19, celebrates the 22-mile region’s wineries. The appellation runs from outside of Healdsburg to Geyserville.

The 16th annual event showcases the fruits of more than 30 wineries, including Francis Ford Coppola, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Clos du Bois and Quaking Hills.

Kicking off the weekend, Trione Vineyards & Winery in Geyserville hosts the opening celebration in its historical Old Stone Winery, built circa 1935.

Chefs Carlo Cavallo of Sonoma-Meritâge, Jeff Mall of Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar and Josh Silvers of Jackson’s Bar & Oven and Three Squares Cafe will oversee the menu.

The Steve Pile Band, a local group, will clear the way for music and dancing after dinner.

Participants can bid on two wine packages and five events at a silent auction benefiting the Alexander Valley School.

Attendees may purchase tickets in advance online and choose their starting winery. Tickets for the opening gala are $95 per person. A weekend pass and admission to the opening-night gala is $150. A weekend pass is $65 in advance, $75 at the door. A Sunday-only pass is $45 in advance, $55 at the door. Weekend-pass designated drivers pay $20 in advance, $30 at the door. Sunday-only designated drivers pay $15 in advance, $25 at the door.

For tickets and more information, visit

Mixing in Mendocino

The Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association has scheduled its 16th annual Pinot Noir Festival May 17-19 at various venues throughout Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley.

The festival features a technical conference, a barbecue, tastings, winery open houses and winemakers’ dinners.

Ticket prices vary according to event.

For tickets and more information, visit

Tasting in Tahoe

If you’re up for a night of revelry, dress up as your favorite movie star and head to Tahoe for “Hollywood Nights,” the 14th annual Best of Tahoe Chefs fundraiser, scheduled 4:30 May 19 at the lavish Ritz-Carlton, 13051 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Court in Truckee. The evening promises a feast fit for a king or queen.

The event features food prepared by 24 Tahoe chefs, an auction, live music and dancing.

Tickets are $175 per person, $2,100 for a table of 12. It’s all for a good cause – you’ll be walking the red carpet in support of the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center.

For tickets and more information, visit

The second Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival is scheduled June 29 at the MontBleu Outdoor Event Center, 55 US Hwy 50 in State- line, Nev. Headliners include SOJA, Alpha Blondy, Passafire, Tomorrow’s Bad Seed, Stickfigure and Island of Black & White.

Tickets are $40.

For tickets and more information, visit

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