SEPT. 2–4
Art and Soul Oakland Frank Ogawa Plaza and City Center, 14th St and Clay, Oakl; (510) 444-CITY, 11am-6pm. $5. The sixth incarnation of this annual downtown Oakland festival includes dance performances, lots of art to view and purchase, an expanded "Family Fun Zone," and a notably eclectic musical lineup. Big-name musical performers include New Found Glory, Rickie Lee Jones, Calexico, and the Silversun Pickups.
Sausalito Art Festival Army Corps of Engineers-Bay Model Visitor Center and Marinship Park, Sausalito; (415) 331-3757, Call or check Web site for time. $5-20. The Sausalito waterfront will play host to hundreds of artists' exhibits, as well as family entertainment and top-notch live music from the likes of Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Dick Dale, and the Lovemakers.

SEPT. 2–24
Free Shakespeare in the Park Parade ground in the Presidio, SF; (415) 558-0888, Sat, 7:30pm; Sun and Labor Day, 2:30pm. Free. Shakespeare's The Tempest gets a brilliant rendition under the direction of Kenneth Kelleher on the outdoor stage: families fostering budding lit and theater geeks should take note.

Cowgirlpalooza El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF; (415) 282-3325, 4pm. $10. This sure-to-be-twangy evening on el Rio's patio features music by the most compellingly country-fried female musicians around, including Austin's the Mother Truckers, 77 el Deora, and Four Year Bender.

Brews on the Bay Jeremiah O'Brien, Pier 45, SF; 12-4:30pm. $8-40. Beer tasting, live music, and food abound at the San Francisco Brewers Guild's annual on-deck showcase.
911 Power to the Peaceful Festival Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, SF; (415) 865-2170, 11am-5pm. Free. This event calling for international human rights and an end to bombing features art and cultural exhibits, as well as performances by Michael Franti and Blackalicious.

SEPT. 9–10
Chocolate Festival Ghirardelli Square, 900 N Point, SF; 12-5pm. Free. An indisputably fun weekend at the square includes chocolate goodness from over 30 restaurant and bakery booths, various activities for kids and families, and a "hands free" Earthquake Sundae Eating Contest.
San Francisco Zinefest CELLspace, 2050 Bryant, SF; (415) 750-0991, 10am-5pm. Free. Appreciate the continuing vitality of the do-it-yourself approach at this two-day event featuring workshops and more than 40 exhibitors.

SEPT. 10
Solano Avenue Stroll Solano between San Pablo and the Alameda, Berkeley and Albany; (510) 527-5358, 10am-6pm. Free. This long-running East Bay block party features a clown-themed parade, art cars, dunk tanks, and assorted artsy offerings of family fun, along with the requisite delicious food and musical entertainment.

SEPT. 16–17
Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival Old Mill Park, Mill Valley; (415) 381-8090, Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 10am-5pm. $7. Dig this juried show featuring original fine art including jewelry, woodwork, painting, ceramics, and clothing.

SEPT. 17
Arab Cultural Festival County Fair Building, 9th Ave and Lincoln, Golden Gate Park, SF; 10am-7pm. $2-5. Lissa Faker (Do you still remember?) is the theme for this year's Arab Cultural Festival, featuring a bazaar with jewelry, henna, and Arab cuisine, as well as assorted folk and contemporary musical performances.

SEPT. 23–24
Autumn Moon Festival Grant between California and Broadway and Pacific between Stockton and Kearney, SF; (415) 982-6306, 11am-6pm. Free. At one of Chinatown's biggest annual gatherings, you can see an acrobatic troupe, martial artists, street vendors, and of course, lots of moon cakes. I like the pineapple the best.

SEPT. 24
Folsom Street Fair Folsom between Seventh St and 12th St, SF; 11am-6pm. Free.

Also in this section

  • The curtain calls

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  • Limber up

    How to fill your dance card this fall

  • Bay Area fall fairs and festivals

    A bevy of cool fiestas