Festivals, Fairs, and Road Trips 

From accordions to zucchini, a guide to the summer's biggest and best special events.

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Independence Day Celebration at Ardenwood: Celebrate the 4th in old-school style with a brass band, fiddle music in the farmyard, egg-tossing, pie-eating, nail-driving contests, and all the historic charm of the Best Steam Engine. 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Ardenwood Historic Farm, 510-796-0663.

Independence Day Weekend Fireworks Skyconcert: One of the largest fireworks shows in the Bay Area, choreographed to popular and patriotic music. Sat., July 3. Paramount's Great America, 4701 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara, 1-888-742-7277, ParamountParks.com

John Muir's Mountain Days: Willows Theatre presents its annual musical ode to the pioneering conservationist, inside this year for the first time. Preview performances Aug. 18 and 19; opening night Aug. 20. Wednesdays, 3:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Tue., Thur., 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m., through Aug. 29, $10-$30, group discounts available, 925-798-1300, JohnMuirMusical.org. Alhambra Performing Arts Center, 150 E St., Martinez.

Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival: Joan Baez, Greg Brown, David Bromberg Quartet, and Rosalie Sorrels perform along with many others. Camping is encouraged. June 25-27, Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville. Tickets start at $18. 707-792-4600.

Lollapalooza: Sonic Youth, Le Tigre, Morrissey, Peretz (aka Perry Farrell), Modest Mouse, the Coup, and other hot acts take the stage this year at Bill Graham Presents' two-day festival. 2:30 p.m., July 17-18, Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, general admission $29.50, or $50 for 2 days, 510-625-TIXS, BGP.com

Long Beach Bayou Festival: "The French Quarter" and "N'Orleans at Night" are twin themes of this year's festival, which showcases such Cajun, zydeco, and blues acts as Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers, the Melvin Eddy Blues Band, and Lady Star and the Busting Loose Blues Band. Headliners include San Diego Cajun Playboys (Sat.) and Bonne Musique Zydeco (Sun.). June 25-27 at Queen Mary Events Park, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach. Tickets: $10 for a single evening pass, $75 for a VIP backstage pass (children aged nine and under are free). LongBeachFestival.homestead.com

Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee: From its humble beginnings as a two-band show with tickets costing two bucks a pop, the Jazz Jubilee has evolved into a 27-band, three-day blowout. The lineup for 2004 includes Blue Street Jazz Band, Cornet Chop Suey, and Side Street Strutters, among many others. July 15-18 at Mammoth Lakes, with ticket prices ranging from $10 for youth jubilee badges to $100 for reserved table seating. 760-934-2478, MammothJazz.org

Monterey Jazz Festival: Vocalist Bobby McFerrin and drummer Jack DeJohnette kick off the 47th annual festival, which also features blues legend Buddy Guy, Slide Hampton, violinist Regina Carter (who is also the festival's artist-in-residence) and trumpeter Terence Blanchard, whose 2004 piece, "A Mood for Dizzy," will have its world premiere on the Lyon Stage. Jazz buffs traveling from the Bay Area can enjoy round-trip coach bus service, offered with any $40 ticket purchase. Sept. 17-19 at the Monterey Fairgrounds in Monterey, 831-373-3366, MontereyJazzFestival.org

Mountain Winery Concert Season: This summer the winery regales us with performances from such pop divas as Macy Gray, Jewel, Wynonna, and Lucinda Williams, along with old-school favorites such as Al Green, Tony Bennett, and B.B. King, who is slated to perform with special guest Dr. John. Through September 30; performance dates, times, and ticket prices vary, 14831 Pierce Rd., Saratoga, 415-371-5500, MountainWinery.com

Music in the Vineyards Series: Chouinard Vineyards invite you to bring your own picnic, get in as many people as you can for $30 per vehicle, and enjoy their wine while listening to music under the trees. Programming runs the gamut from rock to reggae, blues, jazz, swing, and Cajun. Sundays 4:30-8:30 p.m. Reservations are necessary: 510-582-9900, fax: 510-733-6274. 33853 Palomares Road, Castro Valley. Chouinard.com/events/concerts.html

Napa Valley Shakespeare Festival: This year's productions are Romeo and Juliet (July 17-Aug. 3) and The Tempest (Aug. 14-30). Thur.-Sun., 7 p.m., through Aug. 3, NapaShakespeare.org. Riverbend Plaza, 500 Main St., Napa.

North Beach Jazz Festival: Unsaddled by nostalgia for "the old masters," San Francisco's North Beach Jazz Festival showcases contemporary, innovative acts that will appeal as much to teens raised on hip-hop as to old-school jazz buffs. The festival kicks off on Wed., July 28, with "Jazz on Grant" -- free jazz in more than thirty venues, including a performance by Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra (7:30 p.m. at Church of St. Francis of Assisi, 610 Vallejo St.). Thursday's "Noche Latina" at Velvet Lounge (9 p.m. at 443 Broadway St, $10) features DJ Luis Medina and Papi Choclate, and is followed on Friday by worldbeat at Bimbo's 365 Club (8 p.m., 1025 Columbus Ave., $20) with DJ SoulSalaam, O-Maya, and Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. On Saturday, enjoy the Tenth Anniversary Gala (8 p.m., $15-35) at the Palace of Fine Arts (3301 Lyon St), headlined by the sixty-piece group Dakah Hip-hop Orchestra and hot local waxslinger, DJ Zeph. The festival closes on Sunday, Aug. 1 with a free concert in Washington Square Park (12-6 p.m. at Columbus St. and Filbert). Dubbed "A Taste of New Orleans," it's an afternoon of funky bayou sounds from DJ Motion Potion, the Bay Area group Mingus Amungus -- which is famous for putting a hip-hop edge on the old bebop of Charles Mingus -- and the Mardi Gras Indian group Big Chief Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias. NBJazzFest.com

Oakland Symphony Chorus: Presenting major choral works with renowned local conductors, Oakland Symphony Chorus brings the sinister luster of baroque music to the East Bay this summer. Featured composers include Mozart, Verdi, Orff, Brahms, Poulenc, and Handel. Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m., July 6-Aug. 17, at First Covenant Church, 4000 Redwood Rd., Oakland. $10 per evening. 510-207-4093.

139th Annual Scottish Gathering and Games: The Caledonian Club of San Francisco stages this two-day festival of Scottish music, drumming, food, and competitions in athletics, dance, and sheepdog herding. General admission $12 ($15 the day of), seniors and youth 10-16 $8 ($10 the day of), under 8 are free. Parking $5. September 4-5, 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton. 800-713-3160, Caledonian.org

151st California State Fair: Music, midway, horse racing, agricultural competitions, exhibits, California grape and gourmet section, and an "Xtreme Zone" with daredevil motocross exhibitions. August 20-September 6. $10 general, $8 seniors, $6 children 5-12, parking $7 (motorcycles $5); Mon.-Thu. noon-10 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 9 a.m.-10 p.m. 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento. BigFun.org, 916-263-FAIR.

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