July 29, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Fort Ross Festival celebrates the diverse immigrant cultures that created California’s first industrial centers where the state’s first ships, windmills, bricks, and barrels were built. The all-day event will feature historical vignettes, horse and buggy rides, and hands-on crafts replicating the trade skills of those first pioneers. Listen to live music from various cultures, taste from the international food bazaar and grab refreshments at the Fort Ross Garden. San Francisco Balalaika Ensemble keeps the tradition alive by performing Russian, Ukrainian, Russian Roma (Gypsy), and Crimean Tatar music in a traditional folk instrument orchestra of balalaikas, domras, bayan (Russian button accordion), zhaleika/brelka (Russian reed pipes) and sopilka (Ukrainian flute). Laurie Lippin is an accomplished Sonoma County accordionist who has been playing music since childhood. She will be strolling the fort compound playing a wide variety of lively and mournful Eastern European-esque klezmer. Enjoy the joyful sound of ringing bells (zvonnitsa) emanating from on high, with performances by soloist Ty Gale, bell-ringer of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in San Anselmo, California.
Tickets and Information
Photo courtesy of Fort Ross Festival
Los Altos History Museum Celebrates 40 years
July 23, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The summer garden party is in full bloom as it marks the 40th Anniversary of the establishment and the renovation of 1905 farmhouse as the Gilbert Smith House Museum in 1977. Community residents are encouraged to join the festivities and cheer and acknowledge the people who helped build upon their legacy by moving the cultural history of the Los Altos area and its integration into the brilliance of Silicon Valley’s innovations to the next level for future generations to enjoy! The special dinner event will honor community leaders who have helped the museum thrive over the past 40 years including past Museum presidents, major donors, past Los Altos and Los Altos Hills mayors and long-time volunteers. “It is a time to celebrate, but also reflect,” observes museum’s Executive Director Dr. Elisabeth Ward. Hope to see you there and taste some of the locally-grown apricots as the museum is located among the apricot orchards. A photo booth to make your own history as well as a photo wall of past events, activities and volunteers will be part of the festivities.
Photo courtesy of Los Altos History Museum
2017 Gilroy Garlic Festival
July 28 – 30, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
From garlic cheesecake to Shanghai sliders, eight chefs from across the United States compete in the 2017 Great Garlic Cook-Off, one of the nation’s most prestigious cooking contests as the famous Gilroy Garlic Festival will fill the area with its delicious flavors. Several of this year’s finalists, including two from California, will explore garlic’s sweet and savory possibilities in dessert-inspired dishes. Betty Hass of Cupertino will make a Hazelnut-Crusted Garlic Cheesecake with Orange-Hazelnut Syrup, while Priscilla Yee of Concord will cook up some Sweet-Savory Garlic Cornbread Berry Shortcakes with Garlic Thyme Brittle. Don’t miss the glorious moment as the winning chef will receive $5,000 and most importantly the coveted garlic crown. Spend an aromatic weekend with your family and partake in many activities offered throughout the festival. Don’t forget to taste the garlic ice cream!
Tickets and Information
Prices range from $10 to $20
Free admission for children ages 9 and under
$10 parking fee per vehicle includes shuttle bus to and from the festival’s entrance
Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy
Photo courtesy of the 2017 Gilroy Garlic Festival
Explore Napa Valley by Train
Here is my favorite and most relaxing way to sip some selected wines, dine, and view the stunning panoramic views of Northern California’s wine region. No need to fly to Tuscany this summer, as we have it all here in our backyard. The museum-quality antique Wine Train that runs on 25 miles of track in the heart of the Napa Valley, is one of the most distinctive Napa restaurants, offering an authentic, memorable experience that echoes the glory days of train travel aboard exiquisitely restored Pullman coaches as they ride past vineyards on three-hour long lunches and dinners. The train itself has two engines, three kitchens on board, and a collection of Honduran mahogany paneling, brass accents, etched glass partitions, and plush armchairs that evoke the spirit of luxury rail travel in the early 1900s. Take a trip into the luxurious American past and experience an unparalleled memory-making journey. While visiting Napa, check out the Napa Valley Festival of music, dance, and theater at festivalnapavalley.org. Cheers!
Tickets and Information
Reservations are recommended
1275 McKinstry Street in Napa
Photo courtesty of the Napa Valley Wine Train
Lina Broydo immigrated from Russia, then the Soviet Union, to Israel where she was educated and got married. After working at the University in Birmingham, England, she and her husband immigrated to the United States. She lives in Los Altos Hills, CA and writes about travel, art, style, entertainment, and sports. She hardly cooks or bakes, with no borsch or piroshky on her home cooking menu. Therefore, she makes reservations and enjoys dining out, mostly sushi.