THE WORD "BOOKEND"... can mean a number of things beyond the shelf-ready device that holds up our favorite novels and paperbacks. It's frequently employed to describe happenings that come at the beginning or ending of something, say, the pair of toasts that bookend a fine dinner or the hug from a supportive friend that bookends the start and end of a marathon. But what about the singular bookend, the huge happening that is such a stalwart and staple that is stands grandly at one end of a defined period? Is there such a word for something that elegantly ends something in a big and memorable way? The Sausalito Art Festival qualifies here. It's a Labor Day Weekend tradition, one that's celebrating its 63rd annual outing, and it has such breadth and draw that it feels as though it almost has similar bookend on Memorial Day Weekend, the starter of summer. But it doesn't, and that's okay; one full event- and art-packed weekend is filled quite nicely by this singular bash. Wines and food are at the forefront of the fun, but each year takes on a slightly different twist. One of the 2015 vibes will be a 50th anniversary fete for "The San Francisco Sound," so look for tributes to Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead (which shall be an instrumental tribute, no less).
THE EXCELLENT VIBRATIONS... continue along the Sausalito waterfront with display booths featuring both the paintings/photography/sculptures/more of hundreds of artists and, yes, very frequently the artists themselves, right there in person (so don't be shy -- ask them any questions you have about the works on the walls). Once you've sauntered by all 260 artist booths, saunter on over to the beer garden, the aforementioned music stages, or, if you've got the young'uns in tow, the kidly activities area. Cost? It's twenty five bucks for an adult ticket. Place? Marinship Park. Does it stretch fully over Labor Day Weekend, as in all three days? It so does. Are there other Labor Day Weekend art festivals of this size that could also be termed "bookenders of summer," even if they don't have a matching festival starting the summer out in May? Oh, for sure, but Sausalito Art Festival is a front-runner of the form, and awash in prestige and plates and pinots and a bevy of paintings-plus to admire.