It may be held on a rugged, rural ranch but the Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival is no country bumpkin event. On August 29th and 30th in the sleepy little burg of Bodega, this 21 year old festival opens the gates to a truly unique venue with exceptional quality throughout, making it one of the premier art, wine/beer and food festivals in California. An annual benefit, it attracts thousands of foodies, art aficionados, wine and beer connoisseurs and music lovers to picturesque Watts Ranch in the village where Alfred Hitchcock once filmed his classic thriller, “The Birds.”
A bevy of restaurants and catering companies offer a bounty of seafood dishes and other edibles. Options like barbecued oysters, crab cakes, Key Lime calamari, fish tacos, albacore wrapped in bacon, grilled salmon, fish and chips, and swordfish souvlaki, are just a few delicious items on vendors’ menus. There are lots of new and yummy edibles this year like Caribbean pizza, sweet and savory crepes, Indian cuisine, Lebanese cuisine and much more. The festival focuses on seafood, but there is plenty of meat, chicken, and vegetarian options to please all pallets, as well as sweet treats, so this is a food lover’s dream festival.
The Wine and Microbrewed Beer Tasting is always a huge draw and this year will be the largest tasting yet: with over 35 wineries and 20 microbreweries. The tasting is a wonderful mix of known companies, as well as many small boutique wineries and up and coming breweries. Previous participants, such as Alexander Valley, Cline Cellars, Jacuzzi Family, Korbel, Frey Vineyards, Laugnitas, Lost Coast Brewery, Bear Republic, Sierra Nevada, and Woodfour, to name small handful, will be joined by many newcomers to our tasting like Meadowcroft, Azari, E Erin Wines, Stone Brewing, Golden State Brewing and more. The tasting is $20 for a commemorative wine or beer glass and 6 tastes. The festival also has a WINE AND MICROBREW SHOP. Patrons can sample wines and beers, and then buy them on site.
The quality of the art and fine craft is unrivaled in Sonoma County and beyond. This juried show attracts artisans from throughout California and other parts of the country. The festival aims to appeal to a broad range of attendees, by providing a mix of higher end fine art and craft and more moderate ranged craft work. The festival producers are artists themselves, and know the ins and outs of doing shows from both sides, having each traveled to do festivals for over 30 years.
4 stage of entertainment give festival goers a full day of musical and non-musical diversion. This year Carolyn Wonderland, It’s a Beautiful Day, Caravanserai and David Luning will all grace the Main Stage for the first time at our festival, as well as perennial favorites Steve Lucky & the Rhumba Bums and Poor Man’s Whiskey. The Wine Stage will feature Celtic rock sensations Brother, as well as Dgiin, and gypsy jazz Cascada. The Entertainment Stage is sure to amuse with Benny & Bebe’s Magic Circus and the Mark and Dre Show. And this year we have a new stage with CHEF DEMOS AND FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CARVING! We are excited to have the very talented Becky Selengut from Seattle showing us how to cook fish, and Jimmy Zhang from Oakland who is a master fruit and veggie carver.
This is a fun family event so we have jump, slide and rockwall, face painting, as well as ceramic painting for kids. A unique new addition this year will be the “color-in giant mural” for all ages. It depicts many favorite photographs shot at the festival over the years which have been converted into black and white images to fill in with washable paints: an art project for all our visitors. Also added will be interactive environmental exhibits presented by our sponsor: Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods.
A portion of the proceeds from the event supports two vital non-profits — Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, which works in partnership with the California State Parks in the Russian River/Sonoma Coast region, as well as the Bodega Volunteer Fire Department.
Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 29, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 30. Admission is $12 in advance for adults, discounts for teens, seniors and military, and free for children less than 12 years of age. Watts Ranch is located at 16855 Bodega Highway in the village of Bodega. For additional information, go to www.bodegaseafoodfestival.com.