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THIRSTY — Locally produced gourmet foods, cider, wine, spirits and microbrews are available in the fair’s Artisan Tasting Lounge (a $20 supplemental ticket). The lounge, set beneath shady spreading oaks, offers a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere and samples of local cheeses, chef bites, artisan products and farm bounty.

This year’s Gravenstein Apple Fair will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 17 and 18, at Ragle Ranch Regional Park in Sebastopol and is expected to draw 15,000 attendees throughout the weekend.

The annual tradition is unlike any fair in the Bay Area. It is a down-home celebration of farm life and artisans that honor the history of the Gravenstein apple and farming in the region. Taking part in hands-on activities that teach, savoring foods made by local chefs using local ingredients, sipping locally made beverages, all while tapping toes to live music make a great day for the whole family or a group of friends.

This year’s theme celebrates the core mission of Sonoma County Farm Trails: Keeping Farms (and Farmers) Forever in Sonoma County.  The Fair is an annual fundraising event produced by Sonoma County Farm Trails. All proceeds support the group’s work of keeping farms forever in Sonoma County.

Some of the highlights include:

• DIY arena: Learn to make jams and jellies from actor and Emmy award-winning narrator, Peter Coyote. Learn to make hard cider and cyser (a type of mead), build a backyard earthen oven, craft medicinal tinctures, dye silk and wool with plants and more.

• Life on the farm: Sheep shearing, cow milking, live beehive demo, spinning wool, farmer panel discussions and tips on keeping backyard chickens and goats.

• Live music: a diverse selection of Bay Area bands on two stages. 

• Old-fashioned fun and local gifts: Apple pie eating contests, family games, jury-selected arts and craft vendors featuring jewelry, artisan products and home and garden wares.

• Food and libations: Locally produced gourmet foods, cider, wine and microbrews. The Artisan Tasting Lounge ($20 supplemental ticket) offers a peaceful lounge atmosphere and samples of local cheeses, chef bites, artisan products, farm bounty, spirits, wine, microbrews and craft ciders.

• Children’s activities: Meet farm animals, wander the hay maze, create art projects, chase giant bubbles, watch a puppet show or cowboy storyteller and marvel at the wandering entertainers including stilt walkers, magicians and balloon and rope trick artists.  

Advanced tickets and information are available at GravensteinAppleFair.com.

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