The fifty-third annual Russian River Rodeo June 22 and 23. The event itself is fun for the whole family. Your support means this event will continue to offer an alternative to our young to the direction unwelcome. This is good, clean fun with all the glitz and glamour of cow-person events all over the country. Local youth put on the show, with barrel races, parades and cow poking. An adult ticket is only $10, seniors and kids only $5 and no family will be charged more than $30. Come and expose your kids to the agricultural roots of our western heritage. Visit their web site to buy tickets and check the schedule: http://russianriverrodeo.org check their Facebook page for updates and ways to help the Rodeo Queen get elected.
The famous Sturgeons Mill will be hosting their second of four weekends this Father’s Day weekend. The steam up is at 10 a.m. with an earsplitting whistle. Your family will love checking out the old equipment and talking to the mill hands. The whole thing is set in a beautiful redwood grove nestled between Occidental Rd. and Graton Rd. near the town of Occidental. If you can’t find either road you will have to be blinking too often to miss the signs. Drive time is forty minutes from downtown Cotati and the price is right, free! There is a great picnic area with summer fare for a fair price or you can pack a lunch. Docents will guide you on a tour and you can spend the rest of the day on your own. There is also a horse-drawn logging demonstration several times a day, a real hoot to watch those big draft horses work like well-behaved children. Very small kids love this demonstration. The steam whistles are very, very loud, the mill has a few ear protection sets for use or bring your own, even big kids cry for their mama when the main mill and the donkey whistles go off at the same time. An official non-profit, the mill accepts donations and helps cover expenses through raffles and merchandise sales. Many folks come back several times to enjoy the old equipment and enjoy the heartfelt welcome.
One of the least known parks in the Bay Area is the Presidio Trust, this is the former military base that was on this site since there was a San Francisco. Only a forty-minute drive to the park, free admission, free parking and a free shuttle makes this a real gem of an outing for local families. One of the coolest events, ongoing, is the digs. You can sign up to work a real archaeological dig in the park. There are tours, bike paths, hikes and museums all over the property. The kid friendly, docent led tours of the famous Fort Point under the south tower still guards the Golden Gate with cannon, ball and shot. The whole thing will take you years to discover. Visit them at: presidio.gov and add an events for what is happening when.
Later this summer is the Civil War re-enactment at Duncan Mills and events at Fort Ross which go on most weekends.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.