While there are always celebrities and stars visiting Santa Rosa and Sonoma Wine Country, the next 30 days are a great time to meet them up close and personal. This is not your usual try and see them as they drive by but to actually meet some of them up close and personal. Who knows, you maybe even be able to ask them a question or get a personal picture with some of the stars.
If you consider yourself a foodie or just love watching The Food Network, you will have a chance not only to meet Mario Batali but also Santa Rosa’s own Guy Fieri. On Friday, September 14th Guy and Mario will be hosting Chef’s Tables in the Vineyard. The event is in conjunction with 16th Annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival and benefits the Cooking with Kids Foundation. A limited number of extra special VIP tickets are available with assigned seating at the head table, hosted by Guy Fieri and Mario Batali. If you prefer to dine with other Celebrity Chefs, also sponsoring tables are John Ash, Douglas Keane, Top Chef Season 6 contestant Eli Kirshtein and Top Chef Season 3 contestant Casey Thompson just to name a few. While the Tomato Festival tickets are sold out, you can still dine with celebrity chefs. Tickets are available at www.kj.com/chef-tables-in-the-vineyard.
If basketball is your passion then on September 16th former basketball champions Phil Jackson and Chris Mullin will be speaking. Phil Jackson is widely considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA). As head coach of the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers he won a total 11 NBA titles as a coach, the most ever. Chris Mullin is an NBA Hall of Famer and Bay Area and New York City basketball legend; he is recognized as one of the best shooters of all time. Winner of the 1985 John Wooden Award, 2 Gold medals and was a member of the “Dream Team.”, as a professional, he was named to the All Star Team 5 times. Phil and Chris will be discussing the spiritual nature of sports, overcoming challenges, and the essence of teamwork. Following their presentations Phil and Chris will answer questions about their philosophy and experiences. Tickets are available at www.innergame.us.
If cycling, the Amgen Tour of Californiaand the Tour de France are more your style then you can come ride with Levi Leipheimer’s Gran Fondo on September 29th.Levi was the overall winner of the Amgen Tour of Californiain 2007, 2008 and 2009. He also has four top ten finishes in the Tour de France along with third overall in 2007 and a bronze medal from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Cyclist have a chance not only to ride with Levi on the 29th, they also have a chance to purchase VIP tickets for an up close and personal chance to share dinner with Levi at the Fiesta del Fondo on the 27th. Tickets are available for the Fiesta and the Piccolo Fondo at www.levisgranfondo.com.
If politics is your specialty then on October 15th you can hear Washington D.C.’s “odd couple,” Mary Matalin—staunch Republican and Bush advisor—and James “The Ragin’ Cajun” Carville—steadfast Democrat and Clinton campaign strategist. The couple will give audiences an enlightening and entertaining look at today’s most important political issues as well as a behind-the-scenes look at politics inside Washington and how today’s headlines are playing out around the country. Matalin and Carville are key players on the national political stage—they each have over 30 years of experience in politics and have individually worked for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. VIP tickets include a meet and greet reception before the performance with both James Carville and Mary Matalin. Patrons will have the opportunity for autographs and pictures. Tickets are available from www.wellsfargocenterarts.org.
Of course if you do not want to meet your celebrities at dinner or one on one, you can still visit Santa Rosa and enjoy shows from such performers as Lang Lang (September 29), Alison Krauss (September 30) and Bill Maher (October 20) at the Green Music Center www.gmc.sonoma.edu or Trombone Shorty (September 19), Anjelah Johnson (October 19) and Loretta Lynn (October 22) at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.