Fall (in love)
Bay Area fall fairs and festivals.

By Alex K. Fong, Morae Kim, Jana Rogers, and Sarah Han

IT'S THAT TIME again! Just when you thought summer was over, the heat blazes into the Bay Area and we're treated to an actual summer – in autumn. So stay outdoors and get ready for a barrage of fairs and festivals, including ones at which you can watch independent films and performances, enjoy experimental sounds through headphones, sport your best leather duds, appreciate wares and works created by local artists, and sing sea chanteys (although, sadly, not all at once). It's going to be a great fall for all.

Aug. 24-28

San Francisco Fashion Week Various locations, SF; (415) 341-7061, www.fashionweek-sf.com. $35-65. Join fellow fashionistas for a week filled with fashion shows, workshops on everything from learning to work the catwalk to starting your own design label, and, of course, fabulous after-parties.

Aug. 26-27

American Youth Circus Festival Kezar Pavilion, 755 Stanyan, SF; 1-800-838-3006, www.americanyouthcircus.org. 7:30pm, $10-20. If you love the circus, you'll love this festival featuring young performers.

Aug. 27

Sistahs Steppin' in Pride March and Festival March begins at the pillars at Lake Merritt, Oakl. Noon; festival follows at Snow Park, Harrison and 20th St, Oakl; www.sistahssteppin.org. East Bay lesbians, bisexual women, and queer community members are invited to this dyke march and celebration.

Aug. 27-28

Bodega Bay Seafood, Art and Wine Festival Watts Ranch, 16855 Bodega Hwy, Bodega; www.winecountryfestivals.com. Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 10am-5pm. $10. This fundraiser features the best of California's wineries, breweries, artists, and craftspeople, along with seafood and live music.

Oakland Chinatown StreetFest Oakland Chinatown, Between 7th and 11th Streets, from Broadway to Harrison, Oakl; www.oaklandchinatownstreetfest.com. 10am-6pm. Free. Celebrate the year of the rooster at one of Oakland's most colorful street festivals. The event spans 10 blocks and offers more than 280 booths filled with Asian food and drink, arts and crafts, and a children's carnival.

Palo Alto Festival of the Arts University between High and Webster, Palo Alto; (650) 324-3121, www.mlaproductions.com. 10am-6pm. Free. This fine arts festival features works by more than 300 artists, Italian street painting, live entertainment, gourmet food, fine wines and micro brews, and more.

[:] plug [:] 5lowershop Collective Warehouse, 992 Peralta, SF; (415) 200-6976, deletist.info. 2pm, donations accepted. Bring your own headphones to San Francisco's first headphone festival, featuring more than 13 hours of nonstop music performances by 48 underground and experimental musicians.

San Francisco Zinefest CELLspace, 2050 Bryant, SF; www.sfzinefest.com. 11am-5pm. Free. This festival is devoted to independent publishing and includes workshops and film screenings.

Sept. 2-5

Sausalito Art Festival Army Corps of Engineers-Bay Model Visitor Center and Marinship Park, Marinship Park Way, Sausalito; (415) 331-3757, www.sausalitoartfestival.org. Sat-Sun, 9am-6pm; Mon, 9am-5pm. $5-20. This Labor Day tradition brings together local and international artists working in various media to share their work while basking in the seaside sun.

Sept. 3

African American Spoken Word Festival SF Public Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin; sfpl.lib.ca.us. 1-5pm. Free. Tony Moses, Loretta LaRue, Duncan Fowler, Marvin X, Larry Ukali, Carl Winters, Patricity and Shadow, and many others perform.

Sept. 3-4

Millbrae Art and Wine Festival Broadway between Victoria and Meadow Glen, Millbrae; (650) 697-7324, www.miramarevents.com/glance2.html#Millbrae. 10am-5pm. Free. This Mardi Gras-style festival has something for everyone: international food booths, wine and beer gardens, live music, a farmers market, and a family stage with mimes, magicians, and more.

Monterey Bay Reggae Fest Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairgrounds Rd, Monterey; (831) 394-6534, www.mbayreggaefest.net. Sat, 10am-11pm; Sun, 10am-10pm. $10-70. This extravaganza presents an international lineup of musicians, a Rastafarian Museum, arts and crafts, food booths, and lots of children's activities.

Scottish Gathering and Games Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton, Pleasanton; 1-800-713-3160, www.caledonian.org. 8:30am-6pm. $4-23. Experience a taste of Scottish culture with Highland games, live music, and dancers, along with traditional Scottish and British foods.

Sept. 3-5

À la Carte, à la Park Golden Gate Park, SF; (415) 458-1988, www.eventswestca.com/Zalchome.html. Call or check Web site for time. Free. Celebrate the 20th anniversary of this festival with good eats, good wine, and good old-fashioned entertainment in Golden Gate Park.

Art and Soul Festival Frank Ogawa Plaza and Oakland City Center, Oakl; (510) 238-2933, www.artandsouloakland.com. 11am-6pm. Free. This block party in the heart of downtown Oakland features four stages filled with a diverse blend of musicians, including headliners Blues Traveler, George Duke, and local favorite Lyrics Born. More than 100 artists display and sell their handiwork while numerous exotic food booths and a "family fun zone" overflow across the 10-block span of the festival.

Belmont Greek Festival Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross, 900 Alameda, Belmont; (650) 591-4447. Sat-Sun, noon-10pm; Mon, noon-8pm. $2.50-5, free for 12 and under. More than 15,000 people are expected to attend this festival featuring tasty cuisine, live music, folk dancing and singing, and much more.

Kings Mountain Art Fair Kings Mountain Community Center/Fire Station, 13889 Skyline, Woodside; (650) 851-2710, www.kingsmountainartfair.org. 10am-5pm. Free. Juried artists gather with "mountain folk" artists in the tranquillity of the redwoods to share and sell everything from paintings to jewelry and wearable art.

West Marin Wild The Red Barn, Bear Valley Entrance, Point Reyes National Seashore, Point Reyes; (415) 663-9321, www.eacmarin.org/art. Sat-Sun, 11am-5pm; Mon, 11am-2pm. Free. The wildlife, wild waters, and general wild beauty of west Marin are the muses for this showcase of work by Marin's top artists and photographers.

Sept. 3-24

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival Presidio Parade Ground, 34 Graham, SF; (415) 558-0888, www.sfshakes.org. Sat, 7:30pm; Sun and Labor Day, 2:30pm. Free. This year's production, Much Ado about Nothing, promises to supply plenty of laughs with its tale of love won, lost, and regained.

Sept. 4

Barclays Global Investors Grand Prix. Start and finish at the Embarcadero at Washington, SF; info@thresholdsports.com, www.procyclingtour.com. 10am. Free. Watch more than 160 of the best international cyclists race through the streets of San Francisco, traversing North Beach and Russian Hill to cover more than 108 miles and tackle some of the steepest hills in the country.

Sept. 7-18

San Francisco Fringe Festival Various locations, SF; (415) 673-3847, www.sffringe.org. $8-9 per show. This independent theater festival prides itself on giving participating artists total control over their performances and productions.

Sept. 9

San Francisco Symphony in the Gardens Yerba Buena Gardens Esplanade, Mission at Third St, SF; www.ybgf.org. Noon. Free. Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony at this classical music concert.

Taste of Marin St Vincent's, 1 St Vincent's Drive, San Rafael; (415) 663-1158, www.marinorganic.org. 6:30-9:30pm. $125-150, preregistration required. Celebrity chefs and local farmers and ranchers highlight this celebration of organic foods.

Sept. 10

Expo for the Artist and Musician SomArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan; artsandmedia.net/expo. 11am-6pm. $2. Hobnob with local artists, musicians, and members of nonprofit art organizations, collectives, and radio stations at this networking event featuring performances, workshops, food, and lots more.

Festival of the Sea San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Hyde Street Pier, aboard the Balclutha, the Eureka, and at the Visitor Center, SF; (415) 5567-6435, www.festivalofthesea.net. 10am-5pm. $5 donation. Pretend you're a sailor from 19th-century Britain at this kid-friendly event, where you'll sing and listen to sea chanteys, view exhibits about seafaring traditions, and much more.

Sept. 10-11

Autumn Moon Festival Grant between California and Pacific, SF; (415) 982-6306, www.moonfestival.org. 11am-6pm. Free. Chinatown presents its 15th-anniversary Autumn Moon celebration, featuring parade, lion, and dragon dancers, traditional and contemporary music performances, martial arts and acrobatic demonstrations, and more.

Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival Ghirardelli Square, SF; (415) 775-5500, www.ghirardellisq.com. Noon-5pm. Free, $8-20 for chocolate tastings. Calling all chocolate fanatics! Get ready to sample delectable eats prepared by Bay Area restaurants and bakeries while enjoying live music, chef demonstrations, and children's activities. Proceeds benefit Project Open Hand.

Jazz on the River Johnson's Beach on the Russian River, Guerneville; (510) 655-9471, www.jazzontheriver.com. 11am-6pm. $47.50-190. This showcase includes performances by the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Dave Holland Big Band, Pat Methany, Kim Nalley, and many others.

Mountain View Art and Wine Festival Castro between El Camino Real and Evelyn, Mtn View; (650) 968-8378, www.miramarevents.com/mountainview. 10am-6pm. Free. This event boasts a juried arts and crafts show, a reptile show, kid's activities, a myriad of food and drinks, and music by the Cool Jerks, Daddy-O, Nite Cry, Woogie Men, Carlos Castaneda and the Mystic Pilots, the Groove Mercenaries, Dreamroad, Gypsy Soul, Aryeh Frankfurter, GrooveCamp, and Ancient Winds.

Sept. 11

Montclair Lions Club Family Flea Market and Community Fair Montclair Park, 6300 Moraga, Oakl; www.montclairlions.org. 10am-2pm. Shop at a huge family flea market and check out the safety fair, community and health fair, Astro Jump, and more at this fundraiser for the Montclair Lions Club.

Opera in the Park Golden Gate Park, Sharon Meadow, SF; www.sfopera.com. 1:30pm. Free. Pack your picnic basket for this one! San Francisco Opera performers belt out works accompanied by the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.

Solano Avenue Stroll Solano from the Alameda, Berk, to San Pablo, Albany; www.solanoavenueassn.org. 8am-6pm (parade 11am). Free. The merchants and residents of Solano Avenue celebrate the neighborhood with a pancake breakfast, a parade, entertainers and music, food, arts and crafts, a silent auction, and more.

Sept. 17

Viva las Americas! Pier 39, SF; (415) 705-5500, www.pier39.com. Noon-5pm. Free. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with dance performances, arts and crafts, mariachi bands, and a performance by Orquesta la Moderna Tradicion.

Sept. 17-18

Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival Old Mill Park, 300 block of Throckmorton, Mill Valley; (415) 381-8090, www.mvfaf.org. Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, 10am-5pm. $7, free for 12 and under. Bring the kids along to appreciate fine works created by more than 140 artists and craftspeople, music performances, children's activities, and more.

Sept. 18

Arab Cultural Festival Golden Gate Park, County Fair Bldg, SF; (415) 664-2200, www.arabculturalcenter.org. 10am-7pm. $2-5. This celebration of Arab heritage in northern California features an arts and crafts market, dance performances, live music, and traditional Arabic food.

Sept. 23-25

San Francisco Blues Festival Kickoff concert Sept 23, Justin Herman Plaza, Market and Embarcadero, SF; Sept 24-25, Great Meadow, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; (415) 421-8497, www.sfblues.com, www.ticketmaster.com. 11am-6pm. $25-75 (Sept 23 kickoff concert, noon-1:30pm. Free). This fest features performances by Huey Lewis and the News, West Coast Harp Jump, Howard Tate, James Cotton, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Mavis Staples, North Mississippi Allstars, and many other smokin' hot musicians.

Sept. 24

Celebrating Cultures in Harmony Hayward Public Library, Weekes Branch, 27300 Patrick, Hayward; (510) 782-2155. 11am-3pm. Free. This multicultural family event boasts entertainment by Red Panda Acrobats, Lea's Christian School Children's Choir, and Baba Shimbambo and ethnic craft making and information booths, food, and more.

Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival UC Berkeley, Valley Life Sciences Building Lawn, North fork of Strawberry Creek, Oxford between University and Center, Berk; www.poetryflash.org/WS05.html. Noon-5pm. Free. US poet laureate Robert Hass hosts this poetry, music, and environment festival featuring speakers, readings, book signings, hands-on art, and environmental activities.

Sept. 24-25

Bay Area PaddleFest Coyote Point County Park, 1701 Coyote Point, San Mateo; (650) 306-0405, www.bayareapaddlefest.com. 9am-4pm. Call for price. Canoe and kayak enthusiasts are invited to this festival featuring canoe and kayak lessons, lectures, and events for beginners, intermediates, and experts.

Celebrazione Italiana Yerba Buena Gardens Esplanade and Terrace, Mission at Third St, SF; www.ybgf.org. Noon-5pm. Free. See beautiful works created by Italian muralists using petals from more than 220,000 flowers while enjoying Italian music, entertainment, food, and more.

Pacifica Fog Fest Along Palmetto Ave, Pacifica; www.pacificcoastfogfest.com. 10am-6pm. Free. A morning parade and the Fog Fest marching band competition kick off Pacifica's annual event, which also features arts and crafts, food and drinks, live music, children's activities, a giant sand-castle display, and more.

Sept. 25

Folsom Street Fair Folsom between 7th and 12th Sts, SF; (415) 861-3247, www.folsomstreetfair.com. 11am-6pm. Donations accepted. The nation's largest festival celebrating the sexiness of leather, rubber, and other fetish gear kicks off today. Eat, drink, dance, and ogle to support local charities, all while dressed in leather.

Heart of Cole Festival Cole between Carl and Grattan, SF; colvevalleyfestival@yahoo.com. 9am-6:30pm. Free. Venture into Cole Valley as it teems with ceramics, hand-blown glass, paintings, jewelry, activities for children, and music featuring the House Jacks and Loop Station.

How Berkeley Can You Be? Parade begins at California and University and ends in Civic Center Park (between MLK Jr and Milvia, and Center and Allston), Berk. 11am-1pm. Free. Festival: Berkeley High School Quad, 2223 MLK Jr, Berk. 12:30pm-5pm. Free. www.howberkeleycanyoube.com. In a world where everything is seemingly the same, Berkeley manages to stay outside the box. Celebrate its uniqueness during this daylong parade and festival complete with live music, food, and arts and crafts.

Sept. 25-Oct. 16

San Francisco World Music Festival Various Locations. SF; (415) 561-6571, www.sfworldmusicfestival.org. Enjoy music, workshops, and lectures that cover cultures from every continent. The centerpiece of the festival is the performance of the Nowruz Project (Fri/2, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard, SF. 7pm. $18-36), an experiment in music and visual art to promote global peace that's also an observance of the Nowruz vernal equinox.

Sept. 29-Oct. 30

San Francisco Open Studios Various locations, SF; (415) 861-9838, www.sfopenstudios.com. This event kicks off with a VIP champagne preview and benefit gala (SomArts Gallery, 935 Brannan, SF. 6pm-10pm, $50-125) where you can get a sneak peek at some of the original works that will be on display during October in the studios of emerging and established artists. Visit the Web site for a database of artists and maps to their studios. Many of the works are for sale, but studio tours are free.

Sept. 30-Oct. 1

Disquiet Festival 21 Grand, 416 25th St, Oakl; (510) 444-7263, www.disquietfestival.com. 7:30pm. $10-15. Unlike ambient music, with its sense of calm and peace, this music fest presents dark and disturbing sounds that integrate noise as one of numerous textures.

Oct. 2

Castro Street Fair Castro and Market, SF; www.castrostreetfair.org. 11am-6pm. Free. Two themed stages promise to tantalize and entertain. Cowboys, put your dancing boots on for the country western stage; rave fans, get your glow sticks ready, because it's going down on the electronic stage. A portion of the proceeds from food and drink go to charity.

Spice of Life Festival From Virginia to Rose, Berk; 1-800-310-6563, www.gourmetghetto.org. 10am-6pm. Free. Food lovers will enjoy this event featuring live music, high-quality arts and crafts, beer and wine tasting, an organic farmers market, a stage with cooking demonstrations by local restaurant chefs, and children's activities including a carnival, farm animals, pony rides, and puppet shows.

Vincenzo Wine and Food Festival St Vincent's School for Boys in San Rafael, 1 St Vincent Dr, San Rafael; (415) 972-1239. 3-7pm. $95. This fundraising festival for St Vincent's School for Boys features auctions for dining and travel packages and fine cuisine and wines.

Oct. 2-3

Reggae in the Park Golden Gate Park, Sharon Meadow, SF; www.eventswestca.com/reghome.html. 11am-6pm. $12-27, $40 for two-day pass, free for four and under. This celebration of Caribbean culture includes reggae, world beat music, arts and crafts, and food native to the region.

Oct. 6-10

Fleet Week Various locations, SF; www.fleetweek.us. For one week every year, uniformed sailors descend on San Francisco for fun and relaxation. Help them have a good time. The legendary Blue Angels will be flying over a high-rise near you while Red Bull sponsors its annual Air Race World Series. To top off the week's events, jump aboard a Navy ship for a tour or line the streets of North Beach and watch the Italian Heritage Parade, the nation's oldest, this year grand-marshaled by Laverne and Shirley's Cindy Williams (Sun/10, begins at Jefferson and Stockton and ends at Saints Peter and Paul Church on Washington Square, SF. 12:30pm-3:30pm. Free.)

Oct. 7-8

In the Street Festival Cohen Alley, Ellis between Leavenworth and Hyde, and Tenderloin Children's Playground, SF; (415) 255-5971, www.luggagestoregallery.org. Fri, 5-10pm; Sat, 11am-7pm. Free. Luggage Store Gallery presents a street festival featuring an exciting lineup of performers, including Ultra Gypsy, Abada Capoeira, Extra Action Marching Band, Villa Villa de la Cola, Hey Willpower, Big Bottom Burlesque, Broun Fellinis, and Joanna Haigood/Zaccho Dance Theater.

Oct. 7-15

Litquake Various locations, SF; www.litquake.org. Join San Francisco authors for panel discussions, readings, and themed events showcasing off-the-wall works and lucid poetry.

Oct. 8

Ocean Fest Presidio, Farallones Visitor Center, West Crissy Field Beach, SF; (415) 561-6625, www.farallones.org. 11am-4pm. Free. Nosh on gourmet barbecue and sip tasty wines at this sustainable-seafood and environmental fair.

Oct. 9

Sausalito Floating Home Tour Begins at Gateway Shopping Center, Donahue St, Sausalito; www.floatinghomes.org. 11am-4pm. $30. This self-guided tour allows you to marvel at floating abodes and get a taste of waterfront culture. Complete the tour on the Kappas green with live music, food, and soft drinks.

Oct. 10

Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off IDES Grounds, 735 Main, Half Moon Bay; (650) 726-4485. www.miramarevents.com/glance2.html#Weigh-Off. 7:30-11am. Free. Stare wide-eyed as pumpkins the size of cars are forklifted to the scales in hopes of winning the title and taking home the prize money.

Oct. 13-16

Oktoberfest by the Bay Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion, Marina at Laguna, SF; 1-888-746-7522, www.oktoberfestbythebay.com. Thurs/13-Fri/14, 5pm-midnight; Sat/15, 11am-11pm; Sun/16, 11am-7pm. $5-15, free for 11 and under. Beer. Need we say more? This festival celebrating German heritage includes live music, plenty of dancing, food, and, of course, good German beer.

Oct. 15

Doggone Fun Run Golden Gate Park, Speedway Meadow, SF; (415) 979-9550, www.pawssf.org. 9am-1pm. $100 in pledges required to participate. Run for a doggone good cause: the well-being of animals. Runners and their pets will be treated to live entertainment, demonstrations, food, and drinks. Each pledge and donation goes to help terminally ill people care for their beloved pets, as well as helping homeless animals find nurturing homes.

Oct. 15-16

Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival Main between Miramontes and Spruce, Half Moon Bay; (650) 726-9652, www.miramarevents.com/pumpkinfest. 10am-5pm. Free. Celebrate fall with seasonal arts and crafts as well as Half Moon Bay's infamous haunted house. Enjoy the talents of world-class pumpkin carvers, amazing food, and live entertainment. Grab your broomstick and march in the Pumpkin Parade.

Oct. 16

Fiesta on the Hill Cortland between Bocana and Folsom, SF; (415) 206-2140, www.fiestaonthehill.com. 11am-7pm. Free. This alcohol-free fundraiser for the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center features food, live music, local artists, a pumpkin patch, pony rides, and a petting zoo.

Historic Homes Tour Various buildings on Grove, Hayes, and Steiner, SF; (415) 668-5502, www.victorianalliance.org. 1-5pm. $20-25. The Victorian Alliance of San Francisco leads a tour through seven buildings, including six homes and one church, located on Grove, Hayes, and Steiner Streets.

Oct. 22

Exotic Erotic Ball San Francisco Cow Palace, Geneva and Santos, SF; (415) 404-4111, www.exoticeroticball.com. 8pm-2am. $49.50-125. Join this indoor masquerade for the barely dressed in leather. 21 and up only.

Oct. 23

Pet Pride Day Golden Gate Park, Sharon Meadow, SF; (415) 554-6364, www.sfgov.org/site/acc_index.asp. 11am. Free. Bring your pets for costume contests, pet product vendors, pet gifts, and working animal demonstrations.

Oct. 27-30

Ferry Building Marketplace Harvest Festival Ferry Building, Market and Embarcadero, SF; (415) 291-3276, www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com. Thurs/27, 5-8pm; Fri/28, 10am-6pm; Sat/29, 8am-2pm; Sun/30, 10am-5pm. Free. This festival features petting zoos, pumpkin carving, wool spinning, apple pressing, pear pastries from Frog Hollow Farms, butter churning, and olive-oil tasting.

San Francisco Fall Antiques Show Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion, Marina and Laguna, SF; (415) 989-9019, www.ehss.org/sections/fas/splash.html. Thurs/27-Sat/29, 10am-7pm; Sun/30, noon-6pm. $15. The largest international antique show on the West Coast features 70 exhibitors from the United States and Europe with eclectic wares.

Oct. 28-30

International Vintage Poster Fair Fort Mason Center, Bldg A, Golden Gate Room, Marina and Laguna, SF; 1-800-856-8069, www.posterfair.com. Fri/28, 5-9pm; Sat/29, 10am-7pm; Sun/30, 11am-6pm. $12. A huge quantity of American and European vintage posters from the 1890s to the 1980s are for sale at the oldest and largest fair of its kind.

Oct. 30

The Cannery's Halloween Festival Cannery, 2801 Leavenworth, SF; (415) 771-3112, www.delmontesquare.com. Noon-4pm. Free. Join this children's staple for trick-or-treating, live music, face painting, and magicians.

Pier 39 Pumpkin Pandemonium Pier 39, Beach and Embarcadero, SF; (415) 705-5500, www.pier39.com. Noon-5pm. Free. Trick-or-treaters romp through Halloween at Pier 39, getting sweets from various shops and restaurants. Other highlights include face painting, pumpkin-carving demonstrations, photos with scary characters, and a show called "Monster Bash."

Yerba Buena Gardens Ghoullery Walk Yerba Buena Rooftop Gardens, Mission between Third and Fourth Sts, SF; (415) 543-1718, www.ybgf.com. Noon-4pm. Free. Yerba Buena Gardens celebrates Halloween with monster egg hunts, musical chairs, costume parades, and prizes.

Oct. 31

Halloween in the Castro Between 14th and 19th Sts from Church to Diamond, SF; www.halloweeninthecastro.com, 6pm-midnight. $3 donation. The San Francisco institution, this year themed "Be good and play nice," includes three stages with performers, dancing, a costume contest, and more.