Newsgrams 12/5

San Francisco-based Trail Mavens is a business devoted to getting women outdoors. Photo courtesy of Trail Mavens.

County Parks offers free holiday fun While the rest of Marin is wrapping up cheap tree ornaments and mail-ordering brick-hard fruitcakes, Marin County Parks is giving the gift of the great outdoors this holiday season.

From Dec. 1 through Jan. 1, Marin County Parks is waiving all entry and parking fees at parks where such levies occur—that includes McNears Beach in San Rafael, Paradise Beach in Tiburon and Stafford Lake in Novato.

Parks officials are hoping that the fee holiday will not only be a treat for regular parks visitors, but also entice families who haven’t checked out the parks’ varied attractions. Check out the activity finder at to help plan your trips or call 415/473-6387.

In addition to the free entrance to the parks, the Parks department is hosting a range of outdoor programs between Dec. 21 and Jan. 3, including naturalist programs on Mount Burdell in Novato on Dec. 21 and 23; a “Learn to Skate” class at the skate park at McInnis Park in San Rafael on Dec. 26; a ranger-guided nature walk at King Mountain Preserve in Kentfield on Dec. 27; and naturalist programs at White Hill Preserve in West Marin (Dec. 28), at Cascade Canyon Preserve in Fairfax (Dec. 30), and at Stafford Lake Park (Jan. 3).

More info at—Jason Walsh


A little ‘extra’ benefit  ‘Tis the season to give, Marin. And everything you give on Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Throckmorton Theatre will help bring food to the hungry. Bay Area singer-songwriter Michelle Schmitt partners with ExtraFood—the nonprofit that picks up donations of excess fresh food around the county and delivers it to those in need—for her 6th annual holiday concert. All proceeds from ticket and music sales will benefit ExtraFood and its mission to reduce waste and end hunger in Marin.

“The holidays are a time to help those less fortunate and I’m thrilled to be returning to 142 Throckmorton to share my music knowing that it is benefiting those in need,” Schmitt says.

A Detroit native who has lived in the Bay Area since the late 70s, Schmitt was inspired by artists like Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Tracy Chapman and Stevie Nicks. The singer-songwriter, whose soulful vocals will be accompanied by a talented band, will be releasing her latest and second holiday album—”TO REMEMBER YOU”— the day of the concert.

“The holidays would not be the same without Michelle’s benefit concert,” says Heidi Krahling, board member of ExtraFood. “Her longtime support of organizations feeding the hungry, touches the lives of so many and has fed tens of thousands of people over the years. We are all grateful for her support.”

Tickets are $25 for general admission and $100 for VIP. Thursday, Dec. 4, 8pm, 142 Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley. More information online at or by phone at 415/383-9600.—Molly Oleson

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