In Mendocino County, fall means chanterelle, porcini and morel mushrooms. The heavily forested region boasts roughly 3,000 mushroom varieties. And starting Friday, visitors can experience all sorts of fungi-related adventures during the 15th annual Mushroom, Wine and Beer Festival.
In Fort Bragg, learn to forage by horseback or combine mushroom hunting with a bike tour. In Mendocino, take a full-blown mushroom tour through forests and meadows with a local mycologist. The festival’s grand finale takes place Nov. 15 at Jug Handle Creek Farm, 15501 N. Highway 1 in Caspar. It starts with an expert-led mushroom hunt, is followed by delicious bites and ends with a contest to find the largest mushroom.
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There will be several mushroom winemaker dinners as well as special, mushroom-focused menus at 32 restaurants. Learn more at www.visitmendocino.com/mushroom-wine-and-beer-festival.
What: Thousands flock to Lodi every year to watch sandhill cranes descend onto its wildlife refuges and farmlands – the end of a long migration. Lodi’s 18th annual Sandhill Crane Festival celebrates the natural wonder with presentations, workshops, art and tours.
When: Friday through Nov. 9
Where: Hutchins Street Square, 125 S. Hutchins St., Lodi
Cost: Free, tours $5-$45
What: The 20th annual Cowpoke Fall Gathering is dedicated to the American cowboy heritage, with Western poetry, music and storytelling performances all weekend. Some individual events are free to attend while others are ticketed with reserved seating.
When: Thursday through Nov. 9
Where: Blue Goose Event Center, 3550 Taylor Road, Loomis
Cost: Free or $35-$45
What: FIGMENT is a free, participatory arts festival that draws thousands to different cities each year. The Oakland edition promises to be family-friendly and extremely interactive, with art installations, live music, games, craft workshops and more. FIGMENT encourages attendees to play with art and not just look at it.
When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Mosswood Park, 3612 Webster St., Oakland
What: Explore Pepperwood Preserve’s forests and grasslands during a moderate, 5-mile hike. Learn about – and see some of – the preserve’s more than 650 species of plants and 150 species of birds, reptiles and mammals. Families are welcome.
When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Red Barn, 2130 Pepperwood Preserve Road, Santa Rosa
Cost: Free, reservations required
Chocolate and wine
What: The 26th annual Tahoe Chocolate & Wine Festival is a fancy affair, held in the pristine Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency. The edibles ought to match the décor. A wine walk starts off the evening, when guests can taste wines from neighboring Northern California counties. Then six culinary artists will guide attendees through an entertaining chocolate tasting.
When: 5:30-10 p.m. Saturday
Where: Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe