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Posts tagged ‘Santa Rosa performing arts center’

Earth, Wind and Fire, Sheryl Crow, Wine Country BBQ, NHRA Drag Racing and Triathlon’s…

How are you going to spend July? Santa Rosa has so much to offer up in July that I could not even list all the fantastic events. Where to start…let’s talk music. Heard of Earth Wind and Fire? Or Juno and
Avos? How about Sheryl Crow? Purchase your tickets now for Earth, Wind and Fire for their July 13th performance and July 20 for Sheryl Crow. The Wells Fargo Center for the Arts has a stellar line for July and just around the corner, the first weekend of August…Seal is performing too.

Located just a few miles from downtown Santa Rosa, the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts is an amazing concert venue that attracts Grammy Award Winning Performers from all over the World. I have been to a concert there and can tell you the sound is amazing, not to mention I can swing by a number of winery’s and world class restaurants on my way to and from the venue. In case you did not now, the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts is recognized as one of the World’s Top 100 Theatres…yes, only in Santa Rosa.

Now let’s talk BBQ…really, I mean a Wine Country Style BBQ. I plan on checking on out this event. How could you resist Sonoma County’s Premier BBQ Event? This is going to be great as only the wine country knows how to ensure the perfect BBQ competition on July 14th. This year includes the “Winery Big Beef Challenge” where winery and vineyard chefs will compete in pairing tri-tip and wine for the “People’s Choice” Award. For those of you who are familiar with KCBS (Kansas City Barbeque Society), this event is a nationally sanctioned competition. Country music Star Pete [Stringfellow] will be performing along with Paulie’s Garage. BBQ, wine and entertainment…not a bad line up!

Last year’s winners included Tex Wasabi’s, Woodhouse BBQ and Smokey Luv BBQ to name a few. If a Wine Country BBQ is not your style, how about some NHRA Drag Racing? While I have never been…I hear it is a blast. The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series takes place July 27th at the
Sonoma County Speedway. I never know this, but did you know this type of racing is considered the fastest race machines on the planet? Many options are available; packages, upgrades and you can even camp!! The racing will take place over two days; Friday and Saturday.

 

Ok, so let’s say you want to feel the burn instead…how about a Triathlon? 2012 marks the 23rd Annual Full Vineman Triathlon, making it the oldest independent full distance triathlon held in the continental United States. The experience which Vineman athletes have will be unmatched, as they swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles through Sonoma County’s wine country. I have never participated in an event of this nature…I will leave it to the well trained and be a supportive spectator. The Triathlon takes place on Saturday July 28th.

Ok, I may have more. If I have not teased your sense of adventure…maybe this will do! How about some a food, wine and music festival called Rootstock? A fun celebration in Santa Rosa’s Vintner’s Square. “An Urban Wine Village” Santa Rosa’s first Wine District is a collaboration of handcrafted wines and cigars. Wine and food tastings and a “Best Bites” Competition ensure a tasty afternoon.

Be sure to check out our Facebook Page to stay up to date on events happening in and around the place of plenty!

Grand Opening of the Green Music Center

 

The Santa Rosa Convention & Visitors Bureau Announces the Grand Opening and Inaugural Season of the Green Music Center. The 1,400 seat Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall is modeled after Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood and was designed to replicate the intimacy and acoustics of Vienna’s Musikverein and Symphony Hall in Boston. In addition to the concert hall, the Center will include two additional performance venues. The south end is designed with a back wall that can be fully opened onto a beautifully landscaped and terraced lawn, similar to Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, expanding the reach of the capacity for large-scale outdoor events.

The Green Music Center has programmed a season offering a diverse array of the world’s most distinguished performers from classical music, opera, jazz and world music – the majority of whom make their first appearances in Sonoma County with these performances. The vocal splendor series features eight concerts and kicks off in October with Canada’s superstar soprano Karina Gauvin.

To read more about this amazing venue, please check out our web-site at http://www.visitsantarosa.com/green-music-center/.

 

Only in Santa Rosa…the city of Sonoma County

Did you know? We are the largest city in California’s Wine Country? Or that we are the 5th largest city in the Bay Area? Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock filmed his movie, Shadow of a Doubt in Santa Rosa in 1943? Or that the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts has been named one of the World’s Top 100 Theaters?

So many factoids that I do not even know where to start!

We are home to many Celebrities; Gut Fieri, Charles M. Shultz, Luther Burbank, Rebecca De Mornay, Levi Leipheimer, Natalie Wood, just to name a few. Die Hard 2, The Candidate, Peggy Sue Got Married, Inventing the Abbots, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Wonderful World of Disney and dozens more major films were filmed throughout Santa Rosa.

We have several Award Winning Wineries; Kendal Jackson, Paradise Ridge Winery, Matanzas Creek Winery to name a few, all within the city of Santa Rosa. Not to mention the over 150 wine shops. Santa Rosa’s Vintners Square is a wonderful place to enjoy handcrafted wines, cigars and more.

Our dining is exceptional! Did you know Santa Rosa was named America’s Top Foodie City by CNBC? When in town be sure to check out The Brasserie Restaurant and Lounge, Equus Restaurant and Lounge, Nectar Restaurant and the Applewood Restaurant, a Michelin Star rated Restaurant. If you are looking for a little history…enjoy some fresh brewed coffee at A’Roma Roasters Coffee, the oldest roastery in Sonoma County.

Now, let’s talk location…

We are a half hour drive to the Beach, an hour drive to San Francisco and minutes to the wine country…wait, we are the wine country! While in Santa Rosa, some must see’s are Historic Railroad Square where the charm of the “old world” remain beautifully intact. Delicious cuisines await you as you stroll along the square perusing the antique shops, wine bars and Visitors Center.

Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Lucy! Who can deny those beloved childhood characters? The Charles Schultz Museum offers rotating exhibits and a Peanuts Cartoon Strip Collection and let’s not forget about Snoopy’ s Ice Arena where you can ice skate with your family and if lucky catch a glimpse of Snoopy.

Some of my favorite events of the year are the upcoming Barrel Tasting Weekends on March 2-4 and the 9-11 where you get to taste barrel samples of yummy wine, talk to winemakers and explore all that Sonoma has to offer. Another great event is the Amgen Tour of California in May, to be exact May 13th is Stage 1 of the race. Santa Rosa is proud to be selected as the Host City to start this event. Festivities begin as early as May 9th with events scheduled for downtown and May 11th when the Official Team is introduced at the Opening Gala.

Now where to stay?  Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel and Spa, Hotel La Rose, Hilton Sonoma Wine Country Hotel, Fountaingrove Inn Hotel and Conference Center, Sandman Inn, Flamingo Conference Center and Spa, Best Western PLUS Wine Country Inn & Suites are a few of the beautiful hotels in Santa Rosa.

Have I given you enough reasons to come and visit Santa Rosa? If not, my blog should continue to entice you! Happy reading and we hope to see you very soon!

 

Wells Fargo Center for the Arts: where Wine Country meets world-class entertainment

Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
Wells Fargo Center for the Arts

I think it’s safe to say that the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts is a local and regional treasure. The sprawling center, located just north of Santa Rosa, brings to the Wine Country entertainers and performances of a caliber that is surprising and breathtaking.

When I arrived recently for a talk with Executive Director Rick Nowlin, stage crews were preparing for a performance of “Riverdance,” the wildly popular, long-running show that features a pulse-raising version of Irish dance.

I paused to watch the preparations for what I’m sure was a logistically challenging show to produce, given the variety of sets and number of performers involved. I got butterflies imagining the spectacle that would occur that evening: the thunderous tapping of eloquently synchronized feet, the haunting music, and atmospheric sets.

Gladys Knight - appearing at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts on January 6, 2012
Gladys Knight - appearing at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts on January 6, 2012

As I waited in the center’s administrative offices for the meeting, I viewed an entire wall filled with autographed photos of the ultra-talented glitterati who have graced the stage at the center: Bill Cosby, Tony Bennett, Wynonna Judd, Ellen DeGeneres, Jethro Tull, and many others.

Once I stepped into Rick’s office, I had to ask what draws celebrities of this stature to Sonoma County, so far from more expansive, urban venues. Said Rick with a smile, “The hospitality here is great, the audiences are enthusiastic, and it’s the gateway to the beautiful Wine Country.”

It’s not hard to believe that a celebrity might find spending a few days in Wine Country – known worldwide for its wine, cuisine, beautiful scenery, and laid-back atmosphere – a desirable diversion from theaters in other, less-luminous locales.

Then there are the positive aspects of the center itself, Rick points out. Wells Fargo Center for the Arts houses, in its main theater, a stage of a style and size that allows a performer to engage more directly with an audience, perhaps providing a refreshing change from stadium-sized venues where the fans are a vast sea of indistinct faces.

Ruth Finley Person Theater
Ruth Finley Person Theater

“The ‘thrust stage’ – which projects out into the audience – helps provide an intimate experience for both the audience and artists,” Rick said. “No seat is more than 75 feet from the stage.”

From personal experience, I know that even the balcony seating has a great view of the stage, and the shows are just as stirring from that vantage as they are from the first few rows on the ground level.

Part of the center’s reputation is built too, on the carefully thought-out, and meticulously arranged, range of entertainment designed to satisfy the tastes and interests of anyone who might pass through the door. The staff takes seriously the center’s motto to “enrich, educate and entertain.”

“Our programming philosophy takes into consideration both the variety and quality of the productions and entertainers. We want to offer the community the best of many art forms, including music, dance, theater, and comedy,” explained Nowlin.

All ages can find something to delight in at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. Seniors have flocked to shows featuring Tim Conway and Harvey Korman cutting up on stage, as well as a cast of talented young singers and dancers jiving and jitterbugging to 40s era music in a show called “In the Mood.”

Younger adults can also find more contemporary (and sometimes edgy!) entertainers on tap, such as comedians Lisa Lampanelli and Mike Birbiglia.

On other days, kid-friendly fare such as The New Shanghai Circus, “Disney’s Choo-Choo Soul,” or “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild!” take center stage for a much younger, but equally awe-struck audience who, like their elders, leave raving about what they’ve just witnessed.

If you go:
Wells Fargo Center for the Arts hosts shows for all ages and interests several times a week, with acts ranging from cutting-edge comedy to death-defying acrobats in the center’s 1,600-seat Ruth Finley Person Theater. Also regularly staging shows is the center’s resident company, Roustabout Theater. For a list of upcoming events, go to: www.tickets.wellsfargocenterarts.org.