Come shop until you drop at this weekend's North Bay Just Between Friends Sale at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds Hall of Flowers in Santa Rosa. Taking place Thursday–Sunday, April 11–14, 2013, Just Between Friends is the North Bay's largest children's and maternity consignment event.
Get a great deal on over 100,000 consignment items in 40,500 square feet of shopping space, including toys, games; outdoor gear; mommy supplies; furniture; crafting, school and party supplies; and more. You'll save 30–90% off retail prices on tons of gently used and even new items. Cash, checks, debit cards, and Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Bring your own bags, baskets, or even a wagon to carry your deals.
A $3 admission is charged on the first two days of the sale only (Thursday and Friday, April 11 and 12) for attendees ages 18 and over, but you can get in free by printing and presenting this coupon at the door.
Fans of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and all the other characters from the Peanuts comic strip know that Santa Rosa was home to the late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. You've probably spent some time skating at Snoopy's Home Ice at the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, which was founded by Schulz in 1969, but the Charles M. Schulz Museum, located right across the street on Hardies Lane, is a must-visit destination for families, too!
I suspect most parents have more fond memories of Peanuts than their children; we all grew up with the ubiquitous Peanuts comic strips, TV specials, books, toys, and more. For myself, a highlight of just about every holiday was watching the appropriate Peanuts special—whether A Charlie Brown Christmas, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, or even It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown on TV.
We don't find ourselves up in Santa Rosa all that often, but when we do, we make it a point to stop by Howarth Park and play for a while. This large park on the east side of town is packed with attractions and things to do, and it's well worth a visit if your in the area; it might even merit a special trip up north.
Howarth Park has been a Sonoma County fixture since the 1950s. Not only does the park boast a large, modern set of play structures, it has plenty of other attractions as well. Kids can take a trip on a miniature train, ride a carousel, meet some animals at the barn, take a pony ride, and even rent a boat to sail on adjacent Lake Ralphine.
The main "Land of Imagination" play area is divided into several sections, each suitable for different age groups. At the center of the play area is an Old West town where kids can indulge in creative play. A Native American village area is also part of the playground. An additional playground on the other side of the parking area features swings and a rock climbing wall structure.
On our first day of Winter Break, my kids decided they wanted to return to Snoopy's Home Ice at the Redwood Empire Ice Arena in Santa Rosa. We decided to make it a sort of mini road trip and headed north to Sonoma County. The arena was a gift to the community from the late Santa Rosa resident and Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, and has been going strong since 1969.
I always consider an outing here a holiday tradition of sorts, especially since I grew up watching A Charlie Brown Christmas every year, and attended a few of the holiday ice shows over the years, too. It was always a treat to see Charles Schulz himself sitting in the audience, enjoying the show and chatting with people in the audience.
In case you missed or just didn't get enough of the Marin County Fair, you'll be happy to know that the 2009 Sonoma County Fair starts today at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, and runs through Sunday, August 9. It's worth checking out if you've never been: it's bigger and a lot different than Marin's smaller, more intimate fair, and has more of an agricultural focus, which is natural for a more rural county like Sonoma. The Sonoma County Fair also features a famous annual flower show, which is usually really worth seeing.
This year's theme is "The Fair Before Time", so there are plenty of dinosaur-themed attractions on hand, including three-dozen life-size dinosaur replicas sited througout the fair and Dinosaur Island, where aspiring paleontologists can dig for dinosaur skeletons, build volcanoes, and paint on a mural. Dinosaur identification, imitation, and look-alike contests will be held, and the flower show this year has been dubbed "The Garden that Time Forgot"! The Fair also holds a daily parade, which this year features two special guests: a 10-foot-tall Tyrannosaurus Rex and a 20-foot-long Stegosaurus.