The pipes will call and the clans will gather April 5 at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont for the annual Tartan Day Scottish Fair.
It's always a colorful event, with Scottish dancing, bagpipe and other live music, crafts, Highlands athletic competitions, a special children's glen and traditional Scottish food and drink for sale. Historic re-enactments are also part of the fun. It's not just the Scots, either. Vikings and other medievalists usually show up, too. The fair is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sponsors are the East Bay Scottish Association and the East Bay Regional Park District. There's a fee of $12 for adults, $8 for seniors ages 62 and older and $5 for children ages 4 through 17. Children 3 and younger get in free. Parking is free, too. Ardenwood Historic Farm is located at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., just north of Highway 84 (the Dumbarton Bridge approach). For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2797.
FAMILY FUN: There's a lot to do this weekend elsewhere in the regional parks as well.
Two easy, free walks are scheduled on April 6 at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline in Oakland. There's a Senior Stroll from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. during which you can learn about the health benefits of hiking and get some safety tips. Participants can join in all or part of the hike.
Then from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. there's a family fun hike with breaks for games and activities. Adults must accompany their children. Both hikes start at the park's Tidewater Boating Center, which is located at 4675 Tidewater Ave. in Oakland. For information, call 888-327-2757.
GROWING THINGS: Vegetables and flowers will be featured in three programs this weekend at Tilden Nature Area in Berkeley.
"Green House Giveaway" is from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. April 5, led by naturalist James Wilson. You can learn what it takes to turn seeds into sprouts and then into entrees. Then from 3 to 4 p.m. James will be in the Kids Garden to talk about the "three sisters" -- beans, squash and corn, staples in the diets of many cultures.
From 1 to 3:30 p.m. April 6, naturalist Trent Pearce will lead a 3-mile hike in search of spring wildflowers. Bring water and a snack. For all three programs, meet at Tilden's Environmental Education Center. To get there, park at the end of Lone Oak Road off Central Park Drive, then follow the signs. For information, call 510-544-2233.
If you want to check out Tilden's wildflowers on your own, a good bet is the top of the Seaview Trail, north of the junction with Upper Big Springs Trail. The Seaview Trail is also the Bay Area Ridge Trail and the East Bay Skyline National Trail, so you may see any of those names on the trail markers, too. Anyway, I've seen lots of poppies at the top, and on a clear day the views are spectacular. This may not be one of the better years for wildflowers, though the recent rains may help. It's always hard to predict.
BIRD WHISPERER: Pearce will lead another hike, the "Birding by Ear" series from 8 to 9:30 a.m. April 6, at Briones Regional Park near Orinda. Even if you can't see the birds, you can tell them by the songs they sing. Meet Trent at Briones' Bear Creek staging area. It's on Bear Creek Road about 5 miles east of the intersection with San Pablo Dam Road in Orinda.
And there's another bird walk scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon April 7 at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, led by naturalist Anthony Fisher. The Point Pinole entrance is on Giant Highway off the Richmond Parkway.
Trent will be back at Tilden for another "Birding by Ear" program from 8 to 9:30 a.m. April 13. For more information on any of these bird programs, call 510-544-2233.
Big Break: Wonders of the watershed will be revealed during a free program from 2 to 3 p.m. April 6 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. It's about the interdependence of plants, animals, people and the Delta waterway. Big Break Regional Shoreline is at 69 Big Break Road off Main Street in Oakley. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.