In the beloved 1881 novel ‘Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks With a Circus’ – which some old-timers might remember as a popular 1960 Disney movie – the orphaned boy Toby escapes from his unhappy foster home one hot summer, and runs off to join a traveling circus, where he learns a few important lessons about responsibility, family, and the meaning of hard work.
Oh, and he makes friends with a chimpanzee named Mr. Tubbs.
This summer, Petalumans need not run away to the circus for a bit of adventure and edification. The circus – in many different ways – is coming to us, from the Sonoma County Fair and the annual Broadway Under the Stars shows to new Pet-a-Llama Comedy Festival, the Petaluma Progressive Festival (featuring an appearance by the celebrated San Francisco Mime Troupe), and a couple of actual circuses, in the form of Circus Vargas, returning to PEtaluma with a new pirate-themed show, and the hard-to-describe Lagunitas Beer Circus.
Read all about them, and a lot more, in this round-up of upcoming summertime events, festivals and fun times in and around Petaluma.
PETALUMA MOVIES IN THE PARK – DESPICABLE ME 3
Thursday, August 9, After sunset (space open at 6 p.m.)
Movies in the Park continues with “Despicable Me 3,” the ongoing story of reformed evil mastermind Gru and his three adorable adopted daughters. Games, food trucks and other pre-show activities.
ANNUAL SONOMA COUNTY FAIR
Daily through Sunday, Aug. 12, gates open 11 a.m.
County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa
The theme this year is ‘A Salute to Heroes,’ from the real-life heroes who risk everything for their communities to the kind who wear capes and fight supervillains. The Hall of Flowers features the theme “Seasons of Sonoma,” with floral representations of the county’s coastal bluffs, redwoods, vineyards and more. Other attractions include appearances by the hilarious singing-and-yodeling cowboy Sourdough Slim (Hall of Flowers Stage, daily at 1:30 p.m., 3:45 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.), daily horseracing, an Elvis Presley “Thankyouverymuch” competition (Saturday, Park Stage, 2:15 p.m.), and lots more.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? SonomaCountyFair.com.
CAMPFIRE NIGHT AT THE ADOBE
Saturday, August 18, 7 p.m.- 8 p.m.
Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park
In the courtyard of the historic Petaluma adobe, grab a skewer and toast some marshmallows, and listen to stories and songs. Free of charge. 3325 Adobe Rd.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Visit SonomaParks.org.
BROADWAY UNDER THE STARS - SHALL WE DANCE
Weekends through Sunday, Aug. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Jack London State Historic Park
The Transcendence Theatre Company’s summer series, Broadway Under the Stars, continues with this dance-themed show featuring performers from Broadway and beyond. Tickets range from $45 for general admission to $145 for VIP access.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Visit transcendencetheatre.org.
GRAVENSTEIN APPLE FAIR
Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11 & Aug. 12, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Ragle Ranch Park,
All manner of apple-related activities will collide with apple-based foods and libations for this annual celebration of the beloved Gravenstein apple. Crafts booths, games, and a ride in a little train will be part of the fun. $10 to $15.