Hello moms and dads!  This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous, and is the perfect chance to celebrate our earth and enjoy the sunshine outdoors!  So grab the sunscreen, and check out one of these fantastic events geared especially for families:

Photo of 2012 parade by Buffie Harris

April 20-21
Apple Blossom Festival & Parade: The 67th festival weekend begins with a parade at 10 a.m., complete with marching bands, costumed dachshunds, flowered floats, and more.  Parade will begin at Analy High, continue south on Main St., and end at Calder Ave at noon.  Then the weekend continues with the town’s festival, happening both Saturday (noon-6 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.).  Festival is located at Ives Park and the Sebastopol Veterans Memorial Building.  sebastopol.org

Saturday, April 20
Family Hike:  Join the monthly hike at Spring Lake with a naturalist from the Environmental Discovery Center.  The free hike will teach about the area’s plants and wildlife, followed by a related crafts project.  Two hikes: 1 & 3 p.m.  393 Violetti Rd., Santa Rosa.  Parking fees do apply.  parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov/Get_Outdoors/Environmental_Discovery_Center.aspx

Saturday, April 20
March for Babies:  Bring your strollered babies and join the March of Dimes march to support healthy babies.  Snacks, music, and family fun will be provided at the event, all you need to do is register your family or team at www.marchforbabies.org.  Howarth Park. 630 Summerfield Rd., Santa Rosa.

Saturday, April 20
Earth Day celebration:  Quarryhill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen will throw a free family Earth Day Celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring fava bean planting, live reptile displays, origami, a rare plant sale and more. www.quarryhillbg.org.

Saturday, April 20
Create-with-Nature Earth Day:  This 9th annual event has amateurs to experts creating sand sculptures using various pieces of nature as they fashion their masterpiece.  Take part, or just come to see some amazing works of art.  11 a.m. – 3 p.m.  Stinson Beach, south end on Marine Way.  earthdaystinsonbeach.org

Sunday, April 21
Jewish Cultural Festival: Celebrate Simcha Sunday with live Klezmer music and dancing, traditional Jewish food, arts, entertainment, and more at this one-day event. Free admission. 12-4 p.m. Santa Rosa Vets Building. 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa. jccsoco.org

Monday, April 22
HowEarth Day:  Howarth Park in Santa Rosa offers free youth activities from 2 to 5 p.m. during a HowEARTH Day celebration. Activities include a nature hike, carnival games, and $5 for unlimited rides on the train, carousel and jumphouse.

P.S. If you didn’t see it already, check out Robert Digitale’s blog at digitalestories.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.  Not only is he re-publishing his Sonoma Squares Mystery Series, but he also featured a book I just published in his blog, my debut novel titled “A Symphony of Cicadas“.  He even included the entire text of Chapter 2, giving you a sneak peek at the story – including a cliffhanger you won’t want to skip at the end.  I hope you’ll check it out, and I’d love to hear what you think!

Have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you on the SantaRosaMom.com forums!

Crissi Langwell