BOATS IN BRIEF: There are a number of events and competitions where participants show with contraptions and vehicles they've devised and constructed back home in the garage. Rarer, however, is the festival where the competitor has to build a boat during the festival, and within a three-hour window to boot. Oh, and then sail it, to prove she's harbor-worthy. But the Wooden Boat Challenge is just one element of the weekend-long Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival, which celebrates year 38 in 2011. It is casting a line on Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1.
OYSTER BARBECUE: When you see "Bodega Bay" in an event's name, you know there will be bivalvian pleasures aplenty, and the fest will live up to that rep; food and barbecues will be on the menu, as will wines from over two dozen Sonoma vineyards. The Blessing of the Boats is also a time-honored ceremony (the boats will be highly gussied up, and they'll take a grand float following the blessing).
AT HEART: The Fisherman's Festival is a convivial way to share the community with visitors and locals, and throw some oysters on the grill. But its higher purpose is to honor the people who make a living on the waters, and all that they do for the area. Call it a party of importance, that has plenty of lightheartedness at heart.