The Run Around: Fall Fantastic

Fall is my favorite time of year, partly because my birthday is in November, but mostly because when I’m not writing novels, short stories and poetry, I’m writing about agriculture and the environment. People send me information about all kinds of outdoor arts & environment events they hope I’ll share and I’m happy to oblige.
But, around harvest time, I get more bushels of fun information than usual. Lots of these opportunities are from friends and are just too good not to share. Run through the upcoming events and you’ll  see why I just can’t hit the “Delete Message” button. Hope you can take advantage of a few of these opportunities. It’s the time of year to forget traffic congestion, huge crowds and high prices. Get out there and Run Around!
If you don’t live in California, here’s the secret: Fall is an especially beautiful and exciting time in California, the nation’s most productive farm state. No soybeans here folks. Instead, as my farmer friends say, “we’re blowin’ and goin'” to bring in the most amazing array of fresh food crops produced literally anywhere in the world — more than 350 different crops — from almonds to brussels sprouts to winegrapes to zucchini.
This astonishing bounty gives rise to all manner of celebrations, parties, adventures, along with great music and art. In California, fall is about far more than pumpkins, scarecrows and face painting. Don’t believe it? Take a look: 
Oct. 5th & 6th Amador Wine Country Wineries open their cellar doors and tasting rooms to bring the harvest close to you! Big Crush 2013 once again rolls out with 38 wineries presenting cuisine from all over the world and music from acoustic to rock & roll wafting from every oak tree and crush pad in the county!

Most exciting are the harvest activities: personal vineyard tours, blending seminars, grape stomps, and all manner of ways to get into the mix of the most anticipated season of the year in this Sierra foothills wine region.

Go to the Amador Wine Country events page at and find specific winery offerings from all of our 38 member wineries – here are just a few;
Avio’s – “Barbed Wire” Spaghetti & Meatballs, live music and demo, “From Vine to Bottle-How grapes Become Wine.”
Karmere Vineyards & Winery– Blues, Barbera, Barrels & Boogying.
Nine Gables– Chile & Cornbread, an art show and discount on wines.
Terre Rouge/Easton Wines– showcase 8 different 90pt/plus wines. Blues, BBQ lunch on the patio.
TKC – Barrel tasting with sausages & Italian appetizers.
Tickets are good for wine tasting, food and all activities – $40 pp. in advance for the weekend. Sunday only tickets are $30 pp. in advance. Tickets are $5 more the day of the event. Each ticket includes a commemorative wine glass. Buy tickets online at
  Collectable poster by artist, Jake Early – $10 at Amador Vintners Association.
Oct. 6th UC Riverside Garden Festival

Friends of the University of California, Riverside Botanic Gardens host a free Garden Festival to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the gardens and help launch a fundraising effort to establish a Children’s Fund as way to usher in the next 50 years. The Garden Festival includes children’s activities, demonstrations, music and food. The event is free, but there is a $5 parking fee.

For a peek at the garden and kids playing there, check out the video at

Oct. 4th-14th to Honor the 75th Anniversary of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas embarks on a cross-country program that retraces the Joad Family Journey along America’s Route 66 through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona at the height of the Dust Bowl – toward California and their hopes of a better life.
The artistic team – playwright Octavio Solis, visual artist Patricia Wakida and filmmaker P.J. Palmer – join the Center to collect oral histories from people they meet along the way. The team seeks answers to three critical questions inspired by The Grapes of Wrath – What keeps you going? What do you turn to in hard times? What brings you joy when times are tough?
The stories will inform new exhibitions as part of the 2014 Steinbeck Festival, May 2-4 at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA.

Here is a rundown of the Journey”s California stops and programs:
Oct. 13 – Bakersfield, CA (photo, interview and video opps) · 5:30-7 PM: Artists panel discussion with Octavio Solis, P.J. Palmer and Patricia Wakida at the December Reading Room in the Walter Stiern Library on the CSU-Bakersfield campus.
Oct. 14 – Arvin, CA (photo, interview and video opps· 10:30 AM: Penguin Group Book Truck giveaway and art workshop · 1 PM: Oral history collection at Weedpatch Labor Camp.
Who says books and writers don’t matter? Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath continue to inspire a nation forever embarked on a journey to a better life. The artists will be blogging throughout the Journey, and will invite public collaboration and feedback through multiple social media channels. The official Journey blog is live at

Oct. 12th Dia de Los Muertos Harvest Fiesta
Ceja Estate, 1016 Las Amigas Rd, Napa, CA 94599 5 PM to 8 PM

Join a vibrant, traditional procession to the ceremonial alter. Enjoy live Mariachi music and Aztec ritual dancers in full costume. Candlelight ceremony, tapas and Ceja vino. Costume contest for the best dressed skeleton. Cost: Wine Club Members: $50 per person; Non members: $75 per person.

RSVP: Jennifer@cejavineyards.comor call 707-255-3954

And, check out Ceja Vineyards in Sunset’s latest issue “The Best of Fall.” Great recipes and wine pairings: Elegant Ceviche to Savory Tacos. For a copy of my friend Delia Ceja’s famous bread pudding recipe, visit California Bountiful Simply Sumptuous

 OCT. 20th UC Davis Arboretum 9 AM – 1 PM:
“The New Front Yard”—that’s the focus for the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum plant sales this fall. At these sales customers will find plants suitable for replacing their lawns or refreshing their landscapes.

Attractive, low-water, easy-care California native plants, as well as a large selection of Arboretum All-Stars and other regionally-appropriate plants, will once again line the aisles of the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery in October so mark your calendars and plan to arrive early for the best selection!

LOCATION: UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery (MAP)

 Oct. 26th Chrysanthemum Show at Yamagami’s Nursery

Free Chrysanthemum Show and Info with members of the San Francisco Bay Area Chrysanthemum Society. Yamagami’s Nursery, 1361 S. De Anza Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014
Tel: (408) 252-3347
Nov. 2nd Eagles and Osprey Kayaking Free Tour

10 AM New Melones Lake Visitor Center, near Sonora CA

Coyote Creek is the home of year-round raptors! Join Ranger Hilary on this kayaking-birding adventure. Launch from the Mark Twain Day Use Area. This is a strenuous paddling tour. Expect to be out on the water for 4 to 5 hours.

Open to experienced swimmers with their own kayak or other non-motorized boat. Bring U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket (properly fitted and serviceable), paddles, sunscreen, hat, water and lunch; waterproof binoculars are recommended. Free, but space is limited, and pre-registration is required.

Please contact Ranger Hilary at 209-536-9094 ext. 236 to reserve your place. Meet at the New Melones Lake Visitor Center at 10 a.m. Information on New Melones activities, directions, pet restrictions or other questions, please call 209-536-9543 (TTY 800-877-8339) or visit the New Melones Lake Website at
Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.


Winter Swan Tours in Sacramento Valley
Nov. 16 (my birthday, if you’re wondering) through January 2014
Each year thousands of tundra swans migrate from northern Alaska to their ancestral wintering grounds near Marysville. These wintering grounds are one of the premier locations for viewing swans in California.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, in partnership with local rice farmers, offers free tundra swan tours on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Pre-registration is required at
Participants can learn about the natural history of tundra swans as well as ducks, geese, shorebirds, herons, egrets and raptors, which are commonly seen in the area covering 23,000 acres of rice fields and restored wetland habitat.
The swan tours are part of CDFW’s wildlife viewing services program, which includes similar outdoors opportunities at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Isenberg Crane Reserve and North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve. For more information on the tours, please call (916) 358-2869 or e-mail
CDFW will also co-sponsor the 2013 California Swan Festival, to be held in Marysville on Nov. 9-10. For more information on the festival, please visit

If you’re planning fun, low-cost, unusual outdoor events and activities, send your info to Write “The Run Around” in the subject line. I’ll try and and put another blog post together in a few weeks. See you in the garden.

Published by Kate Campbell

Writer, editor, photographer, novelist, short story writer, poet.

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