Activities culminating in a piñata smash Sunday will celebrate Mexican Independence Day at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.
Not to be confused with Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day commemorates "El Grito de Dolores," a public gathering on Sept. 16, 1810, at which Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla exhorted his parishioners to rise against their Spanish colonial rulers. His speech is considered the starting point of a 10-year fight for independence.
Cinco de Mayo celebrates a different event -- the victory of Mexican forces over a French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Anyway, the fiesta at Ardenwood will start at 11 a.m. with spinning demonstrations and Ojo de Dios yarn craftmaking. At noon there will be salsa tasting and a hot chili challenge. At 1 p.m. there's a bean relay and mini-piñata-making clinic. The piñata smash is at 2 p.m. It's all coordinated by naturalist Chris Garcia.
Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., just north of Highway 84 in Fremont. Entry will cost $6 for ages 18 and older, $5 for seniors 62 and older, $4 for children ages 4 through 17 and will be free for ages 3 and younger. Parking is free. For more information, call 510-544-2797.
COASTAL CLEANUP: A reminder -- the annual California Coastal Cleanup Day is from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at creeks and shoreline parks throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
If you'd like to join the effort at the regional shorelines, registration is required. Visit www.ebparksonline.org or call 888-327-2757, option 2 for more information.
UP THE CREEK: Naturalist Katie Colbert will lead one of her Women on Common Ground hikes from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County.
This one is an up-the-creek experience -- literally -- so wear shoes and pants that can get wet. Katie's Common Ground hikes are designed for women who enjoy the outdoors but have concerns for personal safety. The hikes are free, but registration is required. For registration or more information on the Sunol hike, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 30266.
OAKLEY KAYAKING: Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley is a parkland where you can see an amazing variety of wildlife, and kayaking is a great way to do it.
Naturalists Mike Moran and Kevin Damstra are ready to help. The two are leading a day of kayak trips around Big Break on Oct. 6. There's a trip from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and another from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each trip starts with dry land instruction, then a shoreline paddle on rented craft.
Participants must be 8 or older. There's a fee of $30 for adults and seniors, $25 for youngsters 8 through 16 ($35 and $30 respectively for nondistrict residents). Reservations are required. Call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 30279 for the early trip or 30280 for the later one.
FAIRY TALES AT TILDEN: A genteel day of fairy tales and tea sampling is planned for Sunday at Tilden Nature Area in Berkeley.
Naturalist James Wilson will lead a short hike from 10:30 a.m. to noon while he recounts fairy tales inspired by nature. Then from 2 to 3:30 p.m., James and the other interpreters will host a tea tasting session featuring wild and classic brews. The tea party is for ages 9 and older. Bring your own cup and saucer.
For either program, meet at Tilden's Environmental Education Center, located at the north end of Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.
ART DISPLAY: While you're at the center, check out the latest art exhibit, featuring works by Barbara Lewis, Linda Oppen and Anne Poley. Each has interpreted regional park district open spaces and shorelines in strikingly different ways.
Center hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. The exhibit will be up through October. there's a reception to meet the artists from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at the center.
Redwood walk: Redwood Regional Park in Oakland will be the venue for a Wednesday Walk starting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. This one's a moderate, four-mile stroll along the creek, followed by a potluck picnic lunch. For more information on the Redwood hike or the Wednesday Walk series, call 510-544-3282 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And you can return to Redwood Sept. 21 for a more challenging experience: a six-mile trek with 600-foot elevation gain through three regional parks in the Oakland-Berkeley hills: Redwood, Huckleberry and Sibley. It's from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and led by naturalist "Trail Gail" Broesder.
Meet at Redwood Park's Skyline Gate on Skyline Boulevard in Oakland. I've walked this route myself, and it goes through a variety of terrain, including some beautiful redwood groves. The hike is strenuous, designed for ages 12 and older. For information, call 510-544-2233.
Alameda hike: Saturday and Sunday strolls are a series of hikes exploring different regional parks, guided by park district naturalists. The stroll Sunday, is from 10 a.m. to noon starting at Crab Cove Visitor Center, 1252 McKay Ave. in Alameda. It's a four-miler from Crab Cove to the USS Hornet aircraft carrier. Along the way are great views of the Bay and reminders of Alameda's colorful history. For more information, call Crab Cove at 510-544-3187.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at email@example.com.