"Barns, brands, bovines and birthday" is the billing for the Pioneer Folk Festival on Nov. 3 at Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County, during which the park will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Sunol's long and interesting history has included habitation by American Indians, pioneering homesteaders and ranchers. East Bay Regional Park District acquired the first Sunol acreage in 1962.
Together with adjoining regional parklands, the area totals more than 24,500 acres of some of the East Bay's most remote and beautiful public open space..
The folk festival will be from 1 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 3, with a variety of activities centered at Sunol's Old Green Barn Visitor Center. Most are free of charge; there will be barbecue food for sale. Here's the schedule:
At 1 and 4:30 p.m. there will be live music by banjo player Gordy Ohliger. From 3 to 4 p.m. the group "Extended Roots" will play. From 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. descendants of the Geary family, original Sunol homesteaders, will help recount their history.
At 1 p.m. and again at 4:30 p.m., there will be an interactive fashion show, "Ranch Dressing." Square and line dancers can stamp and skip from 2 to 3 p.m. and again from 5 to 6 p.m.
Various other activities and exhibits are planned through the afternoon from 1 to 5 p.m. It all culminates with a campfire and birthday ceremony from 6 to 6:30 p.m.
And there's more. Moderately strenuous barn-to-barn history hikes will step off at 10:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. The route ascends from the Old Green Barn to the High Valley Barn and back.
Hourlong history horseback rides start at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. These cost $25 per person ($29 for nondistrict residents). Riders must be at least 54 inches tall, and registration is required. To register, visit www.ebparksonline.org or call 888-327-2757. Select option 2. For the 11 a.m. ride refer to class 30687. For 1 p.m. it's 30688, and for 3 p.m. 30689.
Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness, as it is officially called, is located on Geary Road off Calaveras Road about five miles south of Interstate 680 near the town of Sunol. There's a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For more information on the park, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3249.
Speaking of celebrations: The East Bay Regional Park District in collaboration with other public agencies has completed an important link in the regional bicycle trail network between Pleasanton and Dublin.
The no-longer-missing link is an undercrossing of Interstate 580, which provides a safe, nonmotorized route for children and adults between homes, schools, parks and businesses.
Project partners with the park district are Dublin, Pleasanton, the Alameda County Transportation Commission, Zone 7 Water Agency and Caltrans. Funding came from federal agencies, Alameda County Measure B, the park district's Measure WW bond issue, and the two cities. Construction began last April.
There will be a grand opening ceremony from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the trail entrance adjacent to the Dublin Library at the Dublin Civic Center, 100 Civic Plaza. The public is welcome.
OWLS AFTER DARK: The nocturnal world of owls will be revealed during a dinner walk from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday on the Deer Jaw Trail at Del Valle Regional Park near Livermore led by naturalist Cat Taylor. If you come, bring a flashlight, dinner and a blanket.
The program is designed for ages 7 and older. It's free of charge, and reservations are not necessary. Del Valle has a $6 parking fee per vehicle. Meet at the Rocky Ridge Visitor Center on the west side of the lake. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3242.
Email Ned MacKay at email@example.com.