Thomas the Tank Engine
Families with young children can take some of the steam out of hot summer days by chugging into the cool redwood forests near Santa Cruz to spend the day with Thomas the Tank Engine at Roaring Camp Railroads. The classic storybook engine will take visitors on 25-minute excursions along the San Lorenzo Valley River Gorge and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Aug. 3, 4 and 5.
Tickets, which are $19 for ages 2 and older, include storytelling and video viewing, temporary tattoos of friends from the Island of Sodor and an imagination station with arts and crafts. Guests also may meet Thomas' friend Sir Topham Hatt, the controller of the railway on the Island of Sodor.
Roaring Camp is in Felton, six miles north of Santa Cruz. For information and directions, call (831) 335-4484 or visit www.roaringcamp.com.
Tall tales in the hills
Lovers of good yarns will flock to Nevada City this coming weekend for the Sierra Storytelling Festival, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday and wraps up Sunday afternoon at the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center, 17894 Tyler Foote Road.
The festival features the audience-participation Story Slam on Friday night, a children's concert Saturday morning and performances throughout the day and evening Saturday by an array of storytellers, including Slash Coleman, Brenda Wong Aoki, Olga Loya and Muriel Johnson.
Tickets range from $7.50 for the children's concert to $82.50 for an all-events pass. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.sierrastorytellingfestival. org or call (530) 265-2826.
Heat and beat
You can sample some sizzling salsa or move your feet to the salsa beat at the Oxnard Salsa Festival from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Plaza Park in downtown Oxnard.
Highlights include a salsa-tasting tent with more than 50 salsas, international foods, Latin jazz and salsa bands, children's activities and a salsa recipe contest. Admission and parking are free.
To learn more, call (805) 247-0197 or go to www.oxnardsalsafestival.com.
Lottery will pick 3
The California Department of Fish and Game will hold a drawing for an apprentice deer hunt on the Chimineas Unit of the Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve in southeastern San Luis Obispo County.
Three hunters between the ages of 12 and 15 will be chosen by lottery to hunt the weekend of Sept. 15 and 16. Participants, who must be accompanied by an adult, will receive classroom, range and field training in gun handling techniques and safety, deer hunting and game care.
Applicants must submit a postcard with the hunter's name, address, telephone number and 2012-13 Junior Hunting License number to Chimineas Apprentice Deer Hunt, Department of Fish and Game, 3196 S. Higuera St., Suite A, San Luis Obispo, Calif., 93401. The application deadline is 5 p.m. Friday.
More information is available at www.caldeer.com/ chimineas-hunt.htm or by calling (805) 528-8670.
Hosted for hikers
The Tahoe Rim Trail Association will host a free trail talk from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at Van Sickle Bi-State Park in Stateline, Nev.
The event is designed for trail enthusiasts to meet other hikers and learn what the association does to improve trails and educate the public. Food and beverages will be provided.
For more information, visit www.tahoerimtrail.org or call (775) 298-0235.
Lake County adventure
Wine fanciers may sample award-winning high-elevation wines and enjoy hors d'oeuvres Saturday and Sunday during the Lake County Wine Adventure Weekend.
The two-day, passport-style event features barrel tastings, entertainment, winery tours, wine and food pairings and a drawing. The purchase of a two-day ticket includes a logo wine glass, tasting booklet, adventure map and reusable wine bag.
Tickets are $35 per person in advance or $45 the day of the event. Festivalgoers must be age 21 or older. Participating wineries can be found at www.wineryassociation.com/wine-adventure-map-2012.pdf .
For more information, call (707) 355-2762.