Many years ago, Sonoma County was home to the Scottish Games of the New Caledonia Club based in San Francisco. It was a highly anticipated event held at the fairgrounds on Labor Day weekend. That was when there were few options for visitor lodging. Amid complaints of shabby accommodations here the club moved the games to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. This year is the 153rd consecutive highland games held by the club. There are so many events and things to do and see and eat it would take several pages to list them all. A few highlights are Mary Queen of Scotts. Parents and kids can stand in line to greet the Queen in full period costume, very formal. The field will host a Viking camp, a Roman soldier camp and several other period displays put on by dedicated volunteers. Music, games, Celtic dancing, authentic food booths and vendors of all things Celtic cover the entire fairgrounds. There is also a heritage section should you have Scottish/Celtic blood in your gene pool. It is surprising how many family names come from the area, you could be related to a king.
This event is the biggest Scottish Highland Games in the world. Scotts save up to fly here and enjoy California hospitality. Beware the person in front of you might look like he/she speaks English but they are nearly impossible to understand. ‘Aye!’
At the games it is perfectly acceptable to wear a kilt or dress in period costume; however, shorts and a casual shirt also work. The hard pavement and sunshine plead for a sun hat and good walking shoes. Take extra film for your camera. For details Google: Scottish Games Pleasanton
The Sturgeon Mill will open Sept. 15 and 16 the third of four weekends of full ‘Steam up’ for your pleasure. This is a fully restored, operational steam powered mill from 1903. As a living museum, you will watch as logs become lumber, the history of logging in our area and details will be presented by docents on site. The fee is reasonable, free! Google: Sturgeons Mill for details and directions.
The Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Rohnert Park has ongoing classes for those who love the outdoors. Last weekend was an introduction to fly fishing, staff will get you on the list for the next one if that is where your interest is. On Saturday Sept. 8 Mountain House company will host a taste test at the store. These meals are lightweight versions of meals ready to eat, (MRE’s). Their web site has fishing reports, a ‘Braggin Board’ and updates on classes and merchandise specials. Access to the web site is a bit awkward — first you search for Sportsmen’s Warehouse, then search the store locator tab to find our store’s web site.
Another great sportsmen asset is Outdoor Pro, one of the best tackle shops in the North Bay. Although they do not do classes or special events they do offer helpful and intelligent staff who can help you find the right equipment and tackle for your fishing expedition. The web site also offers fishing tips, techniques and buying guides. Some are very detailed, all are helpful.
A field trip sponsored by the Santa Rosa Mineral and Gem Society is scheduled for Saturday Sept. 15. Here is the announcement:
Shell Beach on the Sonoma Coast. Geologist Nicole Miller will lead a trip to Shell Beach to discuss the world famous geologic forms and rocks at that site. No collecting, but plenty to see and learn.
Please call or email our President, Conny Acton phd. to sign up. 707-889-4570, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Shell beach is right off of Hwy. 1, one and a half miles south of the bridge over the Russian River at Jenner. Look for the state park sign. Meet us at the Shell Beach parking lot at 10 a.m.
The tour will take about three hours. B.Y.O. food and drinks; there are no facilities there except for pit toilets. The coast can be cold and windy or sunny and warm. There is a short hike down a moderately steep path from the parking lot to the beach, you should wear hiking shoes. A magnifier is helpful. If you want to read up ahead of time, Dr. Terry Wright, who taught Geology at Sonoma State for many years, wrote an article with photos about Shell Beach. Go to: http://terrywrightgeology.com/shellbeach.html
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Mycological Society. Look for his column each week in the Community Voice.