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water music

Remind yourself of our oceanic history this Saturday from 9:30 to 5 at the Hyde Street Pier in Maritime Park. It’s this year’s edition of the annual Festival of the Sea and despite its “High Tech on the High Seas” theme it’s focus is on traditional naval activities such as knot tying, rope making, rigging and non-stop music on three stages that leans towards sea chanteys. Plus living history performers, crafts and food. Free.

 

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cool

Now that summer is finally elbowing its way through the fog, the City is celebrating appropriately. This Saturday it’s the SF Ice Cream Festival at Sparks in Mission Bay where a half dozen local purveyors will be offering the wildest flavors they can come up with. Admission for anyone over 10 is $5. Friday night check out the strange trend of beer floats (Anchor Steam Beer and Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream!) from 6-8 at the Kilowatt Bar on 14th St. Come September head to One Grant Avenue for a pop-up Museum of Ice Cream, an art-filled, multi-sensory event that has been touring the country.

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private screening

The prize for the least crowded movie venue in town is the Peephole Cinema at 280 Orange Alley between Valencia and 28th. Take a peek and you’ll see very, very short silent films that run 24/7. Free.

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your table is ready

The court is small but the action will be fierce this Sunday during the annual Mayor’s Ping Pong Tournament from 10 to 3 in Chinatown. Rumor has it that Mayor Lee himself will be on hand to demonstrate his paddling skills. Finalists are expected to play at the end of the day in front of St. Mary’s School. Free.

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big apple

The calendar says summer but the first sign of fall, the Gravenstein Apple Fair, occurs this weekend in Sebastopol under the oak canopies of Ragle Ranch. Apples, like tomatoes, have entered the world of artisanal and heirloom produce and you’ll find them all here, plus apple pie contests (why not enter yours?), cider tastings, live music, local artists and craftspeople, sheep shearing. Seniors $12.

 

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ready to roll

Expand your kitchen repertoire this Saturday at noon at the Miele Center in SOMA where Chef Kas Matsune will instruct you in the fine art of sushi, its artful techniques, its careful selection of ingredients as you make hand rolls and miso soup. Your menu includes cucumber seafood salad, crab California rolls, rainbow rolls, temoki and mochi ice cream. Shockingly the class appears to be free.

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winging it

If you’ve forgotten how close to nature we live, you’re invited to join a birding walk this Saturday from 8-10am atop Mt.Davidson. Over 200 avian species have been recorded here and if Dominik Mosur, your ornithologist leader, is lucky you might catch sight of red shouldered hawks, band-tailed pigeons, black swifts, anna’s hummingbirds and acorn woodpeckers. It’s a fairly gently uphill climb. Dress in layers. Sponsored by Nature in the City. Suggested donation $10-20.

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star spangeled

Something like the “Starry Night” that Van Gogh painted from his asylum window will erupt above us from midnight to 5am during the Aug 11,12,13 Perseid meteor shower. Expect 200 events per hour as the earth makes its way through the sparkling debris left behind by a comet. For best views bring binoculars and get away from the Bay’s fog, cloud cover and light pollution at, for example, the Chabot Space Center where astronomers will be on hand to explain things. They will also host the other upcoming galactic spectacular, the Aug.21 solar eclipse, which is unlikely to be visible here but you’ll see at Chabot via a live feed.

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fresh eyes

Do we ever get tired of gazing out at the Golden Gate Bridge? (do Parisians ever get blasé about the Eiffel Tower?) A less familiar but still jaw dropping vista of this international icon is from Marshall’s Beach, a secret bit of strand next to the much more trafficked Baker Beach. It’s especially awesome when the wet sand acts as a mirror, reflecting the Bridge. Get there via the somewhat tricky Sand Ladder on Baker Beach or enter on Lincoln Boulevard just south of Fort Scott near the ‘Coyote Crossing’ sign. If you’re with sensitive people (like your grandchildren), you should know this is a spot favored by clothing-optional folks.

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oysterville

Suddenly in just a few years Pt.Reyes Station has become the Yountville of West Marin. I saw 7 new homes (B&B’s?) under construction there last week. Shopping has spiked with hip craft boutiques, even a posh linen store (Coyuchi) where a sheet set can set you back $500. You can eat very well here. I go back annually for Stelline’s sublime oyster pizza. The oyster theme continues up the road at the Hog Island Oyster Company, where the bivalves are barbequed in front of you. Around a few more curves is Nick’s Cove restaurant, sitting serenely on pilings over Tomales Bay. For a five-star night Sir & Star in Olema can match its kitchen against the Bay Area’s best. Perfect for geezers who like their dining spots hushed and don’t mind paying $36 for vegetable bouillabaisse. (Prices lower earlier in the week).

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