Marin Family Weekend Events for July 4, 5 & 6

July 2, 2014
Marin County Fair
Meet Stormtroopers and other characters from the Star Wars universe at the Marin County Fair this weekend.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this Independence Day weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, July 4

Here are a few of the fantastic 4th of July events taking place in Marin this Friday. For a complete list of Independence Day events, parades, and fireworks displays in Marin and throughout the Bay Area, check out our article here.

  • Red, White, and Zoo
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm
    Red, White, and Zoo is the place to see all of the Zoo’s red, white and blue animals. See special animal feedings and hear Keeper Talks about the adorable red panda, white pelicans, polar bears, and more. You might even get up close to a blue-tongued skink! Also, don’t miss live animal shows all weekend long at the Wells Fargo Wildlife Theatre. If that’s not enough, stop by the Playfield Lawn for summertime concerts by kids folk band Hanna Banana, get your face painted, and enjoy the long weekend at the San Francisco Zoo. Free with paid Zoo admission. Location: The Great Highway and Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Novato’s 21st Annual Fourth of July Parade
    Downtown Novato
    Friday, 10 am

    Novato’s 21st Annual Fourth of July Paradeis one of the largest in the Bay Area and begins at 10 am in downtown Novato on Grant Ave. between Reichert and 7th Avenue. Every year Novato hosts 15,000 to 20,000 spectators and over 100 parade entries ranging from classic cars and vintage military vehicles to Irish bagpipers and a Chinese drum and bell corps. Along the parade route, you will also find food and refreshment booths and souvenir t-shirts. Info: www.novatoparade.com.
  • Sausalito 4th of July Parade
    Sausalito
    Friday, 10 am

    Sausalito’s one-of-a-kind 4th of July parade starts at Second and Main Streets at 10 am, and moves along Bridgeway and into Dunphy Park at noon. A picnic in Dunphy park and games follow the parade at noon. Live music starts at noon and lasts all day. Food, dancing, family games, tug-of-war and famous traditional egg toss help make this an exciting event for the whole family. For more info, visit their website.
  • Corte Madera-Larkspur Chambers of Commerce 4th of July Parade
    Redwood High School
    Friday, 10:30 am

    One of the biggest 4th of July events in Marin, the parade boasts the elaborate floats, precision drill teams, classic cars, and the Corte Madera Town Band. Accompanying festivities at Corte Madera's Town Park take place from 9 am–5 pm include arts and crafts, food and drink, carnival games, children's activities, bounce houses, and stage shows. The parade leaves Redwood High School at 10:30 am and winds through downtown Larkspur from Magnolia Street and into Corte Madera by way of Tamalpais Street until it reaches Corte Madera Town Center. Info: (415) 924-0441 or www.cortemadera.org.
  • Marin County Fair
    Marin County Fairgrounds, San Rafael
    Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, 11 am–11 pm

    The 2014 Marin County Fair celebrates Marin's outstanding public schools with its theme Schools Rule! Come to the fair for over 12,000 exhibits, carnival rides, headline entertainment, the barnyard, an international short film and video festival, nightly fireworks, and more! Admission: $16 adults, $14 children 12 and under and seniors 65+, free for children 3 and under. For more information, call (415) 473-6800 or visit their website.
  • Town of Ross 4th of July Parade and Picnic
    Ross Common
    Friday, 11 am

    The town of Ross celebrates the 4th of July at its annual parade and picnic on the Ross Common. Festivities begin at 11 am with a one-of-a-kind parade followed by a picnic lunch and old fashioned games. Food trucks will offer a tasty selection of fare for lunch. More info: www.townofross.org
  • July 4th Fundraiser & Ice Cream Social
    Richardson Bay Audubon Center, Tiburon
    Friday, 6–9:30 pm

    Watch the fireworks over Sausalito and enjoy a family-friendly evening. Ticket price includes ice cream and popcorn and supports the Center's work. Feel free to bring your own beverages and picnic. Adults $25, children $15. Popcorn and ice cream will be available 6:30–8:30 pm. Games until dusk. Limited space—reserve your spot now. Location: 376 Greenwood Beach Road, Tiburon. For more info and reservations, visit their website.
  • Sausalito Fireworks Extravaganza
    Spinnaker Point, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–9:30 pm

    Enjoy live entertainment and a spectacular fireworks display off Spinnaker Point. Fireworks begin at 9:20 pm. This year, the display is set to music—tune in to 1610 AM or Comcast Cable channel 30 during the show. Info: www.ci.sausalito.ca.us
  • Fair Fireworks and S'Mores Feast
    McInnis Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 8:30–10:30 pm

    In celebration of our nation’s birthday, come see the Marin County Fair fireworks from the top of the Nike Site at McInnis Park. Rangers will roast up s’mores just in time for the firework show that begins promptly at 9:30 pm. Please dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes. Questions: Contact Ranger Blain Thompson at (415) 446-4423 or visit their website.

Saturday, July 5

  • Museums on Us Free Day
    Various Museums, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday

    Bank of America cardholders can visit the following Bay Area museums for free this weekend: the Chabot Space & Science Center, Contemporary Jewish Museum, de Young Museum, and the Legion of Honor. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy the best local and organic produce, flowers, pastured meats, seafood, organic cheeses, yogurt and milk, breads, baked goods, pasta, confections, olive oil, and brunch and lunch offerings! Kids can take a pony ride and visit the petting zoo (10 am–2 pm), try out some arts and crafts (9 am–2 pm) and listen to family music (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Point Reyes Farmer's Market
    Toby's Feed Barn on Main Street
    Saturday, 9 am–1 pm

    The Point Reyes Farmers Market features the best West Marin has to offer: the freshest locally grown organic produce, baked goods, artisan cheeses, olive oils, grass-fed beef products, homemade preserves, oysters, bee products, flowers, locally produced wool clothing, and body care products. This weekend, enjoy fun, music, and recipes from the Singing Chef, and live folk rock by Hophead. For more info, visit their website.
  • Fun Family Walk
    McInnis Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–noon
    This is a Healthy Parks, Healthy People event. Come out and enjoy a beautiful summer morning and gorgeous views while participating in an easy going, one-mile walk with your family in this beautiful bayside park. Please dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes. Water and healthy snacks will be provided. Friendly dogs are welcome, but must be leashed. Questions: Contact Supervising Ranger Audrea Bocchi at (415) 446-4423 or ABocchi@marincounty.org. Location: 310 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.

2014 Marin 4th of July Parades, Fireworks and More…

July 1, 2014

Kids in the 4th of July modeCelebrate Independence Day the Marin County way! Communities across the Marin observe the 4th of July in their own unique ways. Here’s what’s going on in your community on the Friday, July 4. We will be updating the list as we learn of new events, so please check back. Please keep in mind that event details can change without notice, so please check the event links or call before attending.

You can also add your local Independence Day event to our Family Events Calendar.

Corte Madera and Larkspur

  • The Corte Madera-Larkspur festivities start off with at the 62nd Annual Independence Day Pancake Breakfast—with pancakes, sausages, fruit, coffee, orange juice, and milk—at Larkspur's American Legion Twin Cities Post 313 at 500 Magnolia Avenue. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under, with famous 1928 recipe gin fizzes for $5. Breakfast is from 8–11 am; flag raising ceremony at 7:45 am. Info: call (415) 924-6283 or  www.americanlegion313.org
  • Don’t miss this year’s 49th Annual Corte Madera-Larkspur Chambers of Commerce 4th of July Parade! One of the biggest 4th of July events in Marin, the parade boasts the elaborate floats, precision drill teams, classic cars, and the Corte Madera Town Band. Parade starts at 10:30 am. Accompanying festivities at Corte Madera's Town Park from 9 am–5 pm include arts and crafts, food and drink, carnival games, children's activities, bounce houses, and stage shows. The parade leaves Redwood High School at 10:30 am and winds through downtown Larkspur from Magnolia Street and into Corte Madera by way of Tamalpais Street until it reaches Corte Madera Town Center. The streets will close at 10 am. Info: (415) 924-0441 or www.cortemadera.org.

The Marin County Fair Opens Wednesday, July 2

July 1, 2014

Marin County FairThe Marin County Fair opens Wednesday, July 2, at the County Fairgrounds in San Rafael, near the Marin Civic Center. This year's Marin County Fair theme is "The Happiest Fair on Earth".

In keeping with this year's theme, the 73rd Marin County Fair draws its inspiration from Disneyland, Oakland's Fairyland, and the Marin Art and Garden Fair in Ross, and offers tons of family fun. This year, Game On! makes its debut, with 36 fun and interactive games for fairgoers, including giant-sized versions of classic games like Twister, Scrabble, and Operation; challenging puzzles; and a construction zone geared for toddlers with a bubble arena, large foam blocks, a LEGO wall, and more. Also, the spectacular March Fourth Marching Band will parade across the fairgrounds starting at 6 pm on July 4. This non-traditional marching band features dazzling dancers, high-stepping stilt acrobatics, and of course plenty of music.

Of course there are also the more traditional fair offerings like farm animal exhibits and demonstrations and Hambone Express pig racing in the barnyard, free (with fair admission) rides and carnival games—including the 10-story Giant Wheel and the Marin Clean Energy solar-powered carousel, appearances by the ever-popular Imperial Storm Troopers of the 501st Legion Golden Gate Garrison (from noon–7 pm daily at the Marin Galactic Outpost in the Exhibit Hall), concerts, short films and videos, over 12,000 exhibits, and the Fair's biggest and most elaborate fireworks display ever, presented nightly over the lagoon at 9:30 pm.

Tomorrow Is Children's Day and Marin IJ Day at the Marin County Fair

July 1, 2014

The Marin County Fair opens tomorrow, Wednesday, July 2! Opening day is also Marin IJ Day and Children's Day: children 12 and under are admitted free, and the Marin Independent Journal published a coupon good for $2 off fair admission.

You can download and print the coupon online here. Present the coupon at the gate on July 2 and get $2 off on one ticket. Limit one coupon per person.

Tomorrow's fair entertainment schedule can be found here. Regular fair admission is $17 for adults, $15 for seniors 65+ and children 12 and under, and free for children 4 and under. Admission includes all exhibits, entertainment, and carnival rides. This year's Marin County Fair theme is "The Happies Fair on Earth."

Family Fun at Marin County Beaches

July 1, 2014

Chicken Ranch BeachMy family loves to go to the beach, and there are plenty of places to do this in and around Marin. While many of the beaches along the Pacific Ocean are unsuitable for swimming, there are also many beaches that are ideal spots for swimming, wading, and splashing in the water, especially on warm summer (and also spring and fall) days. Here are some of our favorites. Click on the links for more info.

Abbotts Lagoon Beach

A one-and-a-half mile hike takes you over bridges and sand dunes to this beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore. It's home to many shorebirds, including the endangered snowy plover. A great beach for playing in the sand, but not for swimming due to dangerous surf and rip currents.

Angel Island

Located just off Tiburon, Angel Island State Park Pack is the largest Island in San Francisco Bay. Pack a picnic and jump on ferry to this unique island. Quarry Point and Ayala Cove are two beaches that are both sandy and protected from the afternoon breezes, so it's perfect for an afternoon of family fun. There are no lifeguards, and swimming can be hazardous because of the strong currents.

Strawberry Yogurt Sorbet Is a Healthy and Sweet Summer Treat

June 30, 2014

strawberry yogurt sorbet coneWho doesn't love a sweet, refreshing, frozen treat during the summertime? Make it a little more healthy with sweet fresh strawberries and tangy Greek yogurt. You don't even need an ice cream maker to make this dessert.

It's fantastic scooped into a cone or frozen into ice pop molds—whatever tickles your fancy this summer. My kids and I made this sorbet with fresh strawberries that we picked up at the farmers market.

While our recipe calls for strawberries, you can use whatever fresh berries you happen to have. Frozen berries work perfectly well, too, so you can make this at any time of year. You can also feel free to substitute low-fat yogurt, but do try to use extra thick Greek yogurt; it makes a difference.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken

June 30, 2014

Grilled Mediterranean chickenSummer means it's time to fire up the grill and cook something delicious for dinner. One of the hardest things to cook on the grill is whole chicken. It's too easy to end up with a birds that's charred on the outside and underdone on the inside, but I think this technique is almost foolproof and results in a perfectly cooked chicken every time. It also speeds up the cooking time.

I like to marinate the chicken for a few hours—or overnight, if I'm thinking ahead—in a citrusy, herb-laded mixture that's full of great Mediterranean flavors. I can't say that it's purely Greek or Italian, but it uses flavors common in each cuisine. It helps to have an herb garden just steps from the kitchen door, too!

Feel free to vary this recipe to suit your taste. For example, I sometimes replace the oregano with fresh chopped rosemary for something equally delicious. Whatever variation I decide on, this is one of my go-to dishes for a summer cookout.

July Classes and Programs at Parents Place Marin

June 29, 2014

Parents Place MarinParents Place in San Rafael has been a valuable resource for countless Marin County parents and families. This spring, they offer a wide variety of programs, from childbirth education to classes for parents and children. Here are a few of the programs they offer in July, including a free JAMaROO Music Time demo on July 1, and a free new moms' discussion group starting July 23.

Free Demo: JAMaROO Music Time (9 months–4 years)

Children will sing, play simple instruments, read stories, balance bean bags, and dance with streamers to a variety of music from around the world. Class themes are related to nature and the outside world. Parental supervision is required. Preregistration is required. Tuesday, July 1, 10–10:30 am. Register here.

JAMaROO Music Time - plus bonus free play! (9 months–4 years)

A fun-packed, 40-minute class that combines music, creative movement, and storytelling. Children will sing, play simple instruments, read stories, balance bean bags, and dance with streamers to a variety of music from around the world. Class themes are related to nature and the outside world. Tuesdays, July 8–22, 10–10:30 am. $39 per child, $22.50 for each additional sibling for three-week series. Parental supervision is required. As a bonus, our playroom will be available for free play 10:40 am–noon after each session. Register here.

Walk or Bike the Newest Bay Trail Section at Hamilton in Novato

June 28, 2014

The Bay Trail Novato HamiltonThe latest completed section of the Bay Trail opened this Thursday in Novato's Hamilton neighborhood, and we had a chance to check it for a short hike. With easy access from several points in Hamilton and stunning views, this is a great place for families to head outdoors for an active outing.

The Hamilton section of the Bay Trail skirts the old runway of this former air force base, which has been returned to its original wetland state. The trail is flat and accessible, and welcomes walkers and cyclists to travel along the wetlands that border San Pablo Bay. It is, of course, ideal for walking with an offroad-capable stroller, too.

You'll find neat little lookout areas along the way, with benches and informative placards that tell you all about the bird life in the area (don't forget your binoculars!) and about the wetland restoration project. My daughter and her second grade class actually helped work on this project, so she was excited to see the results. The views are stunning, with Mt. Burdell to the north and Mt. Diablo to the east.

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