.Hot Summer Guide

Music, fairs, fests and BBQ bonanzas 

Ah, summer! Sunny days, languidly stretching into clement, starry evenings. 

In Marin County, there is no shortage of fun to be had and food to be enjoyed in the coming months. The wine flows freely and the savory smell of BBQ is lifted on a warm breeze to perk the appetite. So don’t wait another second! Fill those calendars with outings and aboutings. Here are a few ideas to get started. 

Dirty Cello at Rancho Nicasio’s BBQs on The Lawn  

Kick off your Marin County summer with an evening of blues, rock and Americana with a classical twist—the cross-over cello stylings of Dirty Cello band leader Rebecca Roudman. The locally-based band is an international phenom that offers an eclectic mix of music that the L.A. Times once observed “really shouldn’t make sense but somehow does.” And they’re taking requests! Name your tune at the band’s Facebook page (facebook.com/DirtyCello) and cross your fingers.

Nicasio—which means the “hidden one”—is a sweet, tucked away spot, relatively untouched by the developments of our fast-paced modern world. Rancho Nicasio, built where the town’s hotel stood until it burned down in the 1940s, is the town’s central meeting place. 

Dirty Cello inaugurates the June leg of the rancho’s BBQs on The Lawn Series, which runs through September, offering jams, sweet sunsets and of course BBQ.

Dirty Cello plays 7pm June 3, at Rancho Nicasio, 1 Old Rancheria Rd., Nicasio. The gig is preceded by a barbeque at the roadside eatery—for more information and tickets, visit ranchonicasio.com and dirtycello.com.

Novato Art, Wine & Music

A delicious libation-filled event. Step out on June 18 and 19 for the Novato Chamber’s annual Novato Festival of Art, Wine & Music. Stages will be packed with music from bands like AZ/DZ, Petty Theft, Spike Sikes and His Awesome Hotcakes and more. Art vendors, food vendors and beverage purveyors will be on site. Prepare for a day of purchases, eats and completely danceable music. For more information on how to attend the event, volunteer or register as a vendor, visit www.novatochamber.com.

Rock The Ride

Gun violence continues to be an issue in our country, and the citizens of Napa Valley continue to use their voices—and their feet—to raise awareness and to fund a change. Rock the Ride is back this year on June 25, offering various options for those looking to put their funds and their endorphins towards ending gun violence. Options range from a 50-mile bike ride to a three-mile walk through downtown Yountville, to virtual involvement. Get more information and register at www.raceroster.com or by calling 707-278-8377. 

Marin County Fair

After two years of Covid cancellations, the in-person Marin County Fair is back this year from June 30 to July 4. This award-winning tradition is arguably the county’s premiere community event, drawing over 120,000 attendees annually. Produced by the Marin County Department of Cultural Services in partnership with the Marin Cultural Association, it’s advertised as the “Healthiest and Greenest Fair on Earth since 2008.” The event’s eco bonafides include a solar-powered carousel and stage, as well as a 92% waste diversion rate. Healthy food options and alcohol-free sponsorships make the fair an all-around perfect way to spend the day. Welcome summer the classic way—at the fair! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.fair.marincounty.org

Downtown San Rafael Dining Under the Lights 
Hungry yet? San Rafael’s Dining Under the Lights series is back! Held Thursdays from 6pm-10pm, starting May 26, the series will have an extra Friday night block party in the West End. Expect al fresco dining, open storefronts, on-street entertainment and an opportunity to meet neighbors and visitors alike. The Marin County community is especially encouraged to come out and support the resilient San Rafael eateries that survived the first two years of the pandemic. For more information on this European transformation of San Rafael, visit www.downtownsanrafael.org

Ember Stop Marin 

Fire Safe Marin is bringing fun to fire preparation May 28 from 11am-5pm at Ember Stomp, the first-ever wildfire prevention festival in Marin County. Come to the Marin Center Fairgrounds for a day of food, music, games, a magician, and myriad workshops and training sessions on how to prepare the home and community in the event of a wildfire. A demonstration house and garden will be set up to maximize learning opportunities. Experts will be on hand all day to answer questions and to facilitate fun. For more information, visit www.firesafemarin.org

Fairfax Festival

The Fairfax Festival represents all values dear to Marinites: community, family, social responsibility, sustainability and, of course, a great party. Back for its 43rd year, the festivities kick off with a traditional Family Film Night in the Ballfield on Friday, June 10, followed by the annual parade at 10am the next morning. After that, there will be  two more days of celebrating the good things in life and in Fairfax. For more information, visit www.townoffairfax.org

Tommy Odetto CD Release Party

Come out to Mac’s at 19 Broadway on Friday, June 10 for the opening night of the Fairfax Festival and CD release party of the one and only Tommy Odetto. His latest album, Soul on Arrival, brings his signature blues rock sound to a whole new level with songs like “Crying in the Rain” and “Lead My Way.” The night promises to rock and roll, and the first 100 ticket buyers get a free CD—so don’t sleep on it! For more information and tickets, visit www.macsat19broadway.com.  

Sweetwater Summer

The original Sweetwater Music Hall opened in 1972, in a rustic, downtown Mill Valley storefront previously occupied by a local watering hole called The Office. On its opening night, the Sweetwater presented an acoustic folk-rock group that was so popular that fans lined up halfway down the block to get in. Decades later, this spot is still the place to be for both the music and good vibes. Shows are lined up all summer long, from open mic nights to the venue’s Jazz Mafia Presents series. For the whole schedule, visit www.sweetwatermusichall.com.

Muir Beach Fireman’s BBQ

After a two-year hiatus, the 48th Annual Muir Beach Volunteer Firemen’s Barbecue returns this Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy food, live music, craft beers, premium wine and a whole lot of family activities. The festive gathering raises funds for the Muir Beach Volunteer Fire Department. Come dance, eat and support our fire heroes. This year, the event will run from 12pm to 5pm on Sunday, May 29 at Santos Meadows on Frank Valley Road in Muir Beach. For more information, visit www.muirbeachfire.com.  

Cookout Concert Series ’22 at Hopmonk

Brews, tunes and food? Yes, yes and yes. The annual Cookout Concert Series returns to Hopmonk Novato Beer Garden for its ninth iteration, beginning June 12 with the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and special guest The Pulsators (sponsored by JAMBAR, Marin’s own organic artisan energy bar). The fun runs deep into October, so pace yourself! For more information, visit hopmonk.com/novato.

Juneteenth Celebration 

Come celebrate Juneteenth and the continued efforts towards equality in Marin County with live poetry readings, guest speakers, jazz music and more at Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce’s 2nd annual celebration. The June 17 event will highlight the chamber’s ongoing efforts to support BIPOC businesses through their WE ARE ONE MARIN project. For more information, visit www.tiburonchamber.org.

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