Sonoma's Spirit of Giving Comes Out in Weekend Events

From Gingerbread Houses to a "Miracle" Festival, the traditions of winter are underway, with a distinctly Sonoma bouquet.

The first week is ending for the annual Sonoma Valley Gingerbread Contest. Not gingerbread men but gingerbread houses, in varying sizes and styles at area wineries. All conforming however to this year's theme, "Favorite Holiday Movie," and many are already on display on this Facebook photo stream. Cast your vote for your favorite when you visit one of the participating wineries, which of course is the point of the whole thing.

Ballots are available at participating wineries listing alphabetically from Annadel to Viansa, and a dozen more between. Motivation? You're entered to win a case of "fabulous Sonoma Valley wine" each time you vote. People can get pretty creative with gingerbread houses, and under the influence of wine anything is possible. See this article's PDF for details.

We haven't seen the last of holiday tree lighting, either. Last weekend's two illuminations in the Plaza - one for the City, one the Hospice By the Bay -  has set the stage for the Boys & Girls Club’s annual Christmas Tree lighting Open House, Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Maxwell Clubhouse on West Verano. Join in carols, arts and crafts, clambering on the climbing wall etc., free from 1 to 3 p.m.

The Epicurean Connection has a full weekend planned, beginning with the sound of Christmas from the Comfort and Joy Carolers on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. followed by Dan Martin at 7:30 p.m.  On Friday it hosts an art show reception from 6 - 8 p.m, for Kristine and Shotsie Gorman, with wines from Two Shepherds (from Patch blogger William Allen).

The Annex Wine Bar, on West Napa next to the Community Café, is stabilizing their music offerings. On Friday they have Adam Traum for a 7 p.m. show. On Saturday it's saxophonist Billy Madar (a newcomer to Sonoma) at the same hour, and on Sunday at 4 p.m. vocal group the Cork Pullers indulge in some "Sonomacana". The Annex events are listed on their website.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the Sonoma Conservatory of Dance has two matinee performances of "The Snow Maiden,"  a Russian wonder tale, to raise funds for the Sebastiani Theatre. The conservatory's students, aged 3 to 7 and beyond, perform this ballet with elements of Russian character dance and ethnic-inspired costumes. Tickets for the 1 p.m. matinee performances are on sale now and available at the Sonoma Ballet Conservatory and the Sebastiani Theatre. Reserved seating tickets are $22 for adults, $17 for students and seniors, $12 for children. Call 707/938-1424 or 707/996-9756 for reservations.

Down at they're having a Catalan Holiday Luncheon on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 9. From the evidence of their annual Catalan Festival they still remember how to do it Old Country-style. It's from 1 to 4 p.m., with Spanish tapas, desserts and GF sparkling and still wines, plus dancing by Sol Flamenco, $75.

Pet lovers already know about the Pets Lifeline "Miracle on 8th St." dinner at Ramekins on Sunday night from 5:30. There'll be guest chefs from area kitchens like Shiso, Stone Edge Farms, Mamatanino's, The Fig, Hot Box Grill and even Ramekins itself. It's a benefit for Pets Lifeline, so the $125 price tag goes to a good cause, in addition to memorable food. Upgrade your enthusiasm to $150 and you can join a pre-dinner cooking class with aforementioned culinary talent. Details petslifeline.org or 996-4577 ext. 109.

If you know of events in Sonoma Valley this weekend, share them in the Comments. Better yet, add your coming performance, show, fund-raiser or gingerbread contest to Patch Events so everyone can know about it.


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