October has arrived and that means Bay Area activities get kicked up a notch. There’s the annual free bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park, pumpkin patches and even vampires, werewolves and zombies to contend with. Happy October!

Photo: The Butterfly Joint by Molly DeCoudreaux 

San Francisco

The Butterfly Joint Grand Opening Party
The Butterfly Joint, a new woodworking studio for kids in SF, is throwing a party! Enjoy cold-brew coffee from Jittery Johns, wines from Starmont, facepainting and lots of good eats. The first 25 families to complete the Tool Treasure Hunt will receive a gift bag filled with goodies from Plae, Petite Collage, Hello Lucky, Mapamundi Kids, BenchMade Modern, Bitte, Neve and Hawk and more! Please RSVP here. Sat., 2-5 p.m. Mission. Free. All ages. Event details.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
Bring your little pickers and grinners out for the 15th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. This free, three-day long festival in the park includes world-renowned bluegrass musicians and swinging Indie bands and everything in between. The festival can be crowded, so parents bring sunscreen, snacks, and a blanket to spread. This year’s festival includes nearly 100 acts with highlights like Neko Case, Hardly Strictly Disco and DeVotchka. Friday is a bonus day for the entire SFUSD’s middle school classes, which anyone can attend. Food and drink vendors abound. Fri., Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Golden Gate Park. Free. All ages. Event details.

Strut Your Mutt
Take a leisurely community dog walk or a timed 5k run (with or without your dog), and then hang out at a festival for all things dog (and dog-lovers). This life-saving annual event, which includes doggie yoga, pet portraits, refreshments, music, contests, post-run pet massages and more, is for a great cause: ending the killing of pets in America’s shelters. Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Excelsior. $0-$45. All ages. Event details.

Free Day at the Asian Art Museum
Part of Target’s First Free Sunday program, the Asian Art Museum is open, totally free, and totally awesome. In addition to touring the regular galleries and exhibits there will be storytelling sessions throughout the day, architecture tours, and even a family friendly yoga class! Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Civic Center. Free. All ages. Event details.

East Bay

Charlotte’s Web
Bring the whole family to see this production based on the beloved children’s book by E.B. White about the unlikely friendship between a pig and a spider. Fri, 8 p.m., Sat., 7 p.m. & Sun., 2 p.m. Point Richmond. $10. All ages. Event details.

Vampires,Werewolves & Zombies Weekend at Playland-Not-at-the-Beach
Get in the spirit of Halloween and creep over to Playland-Not-at-the Beach for a spooky carnival atmosphere. Dress as a vampire, werewolf, or zombie and win 50 free tickets, good towards prizes. And as always, unlimited pinball and a host of vintage arcade games are included in the admission price. Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. El Cerrito. $15/adult; $10/child. All ages. Event details.

Dan Chan the Magic Man 
Award-winning master magician Dan Chan brings his sophisticated sleight of hand to Alameda. His unique act features illusions, escapes, old-fashioned pick-pocketing and his famous death-defying bullet catch, which has astounded audiences worldwide. Chan’s son, James, age 7, will also appear, performing his own brand new illusions and juggling. Sun., 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Alameda. $15/adults; $10/child. All ages. Event details.

Harding Carnival & Pumpkin Patch 
What is better than a carnival? A carnival with a pumpkin patch! This one features live  entertainment all day from puppeteers, the balloon man, and musicians; tons of carnival games with great prizes; pumpkins that you can win or buy from the mini-patch sponsored by Marvin Gardens. Admission is free if you bring a cake, cookies, or pie (limit one baked good per family). Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. El Cerrito. $5/person; free admission for anyone bringing baked goods; children under 4 are free. All ages. Event details


Brisbane’s Day in the Park & Derby
Head to the City of the Stars for the 29th annual Brisbane Day in the Park. Check out vendor tables, arts & crafts booths, games, music, food, inflatables and other superfun action. The festivities begin with the annual 8 a.m. Derby down San Francisco Street. Sat., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Brisbane. Free. All ages. Event details.

Gamble Garden Free Community Day 
A day packed with everything from flower arranging to firetrucks! Lots of activities (yes, including digging for worms), storytimes and crafts, and Ravioli the Clown Magic Shows. BBQ food truck on site selling grub or bring your own picnic. Story times are at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and magic shows are at 11:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. Bring your mini-green thumbs and enjoy a day at this historic gardens. Sun., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Palo Alto. Free. All ages. Event details.

Roosevelt Elementary’s Chili Cook-Off
Join in for the food and fun at Roosevelt’s biggest event of the year! Get a taste of Burlingame’s finest chilis, listen to local bands, play games, and support a neighborhood school. Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Burlingame. Free. All ages. Event details.

South Bay

13th Annual Walk & Wag
Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) hosts the annual Walk & Wag. Walk one of two scenic routes or run a 5k timed race. Featuring special guest emcees, Mix 106.5 FM’s Pope & Marla, a “Doggie Fun Zone” obstacle course, vendors, crafts for kids, a dog costume contest, food trucks and more! Sat., 8 a.m.-1 p.m. San Jose.  $30/person; free if you join a fundraising team (minimum donation of $250). All ages. Event details.

Shrek Jr.
Enjoy everyone’s favorite green ogre in Stage Kids production of a junior musical based on the hit movie. Fri., 7 p.m., Sat., 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. and Sun., 2 p.m. San Jose. $12/advance, $14/door. All ages. Event details.

Marin County

Broom Busters of Old St. Hilary’s
Join the Broom Busters of Old St. Hilary’s to restore the creek and rare serpentine grasslands on this truly unique preserve by helping to pull out the invasive French Broom on the hill above the Tiburon Peninsula Club. Keep in mind, pulling broom requires strength and stamina, so all ages are welcome but it is probably best suited to ages 4 and up. Dress in layers and in clothes that can get dirty! Sat., 9 a.m.-noon. Tiburon. Free. 4 and up. Event details.

Soul Street Dance
From hip-hop to classical, Michael Jackson to Vivaldi, Soul Street will keep you at the edge of your seat with a history of music and dance. Sun., 3-5 p.m. San Rafael. $20-$45. 6-18. Event details.

Cloud Formations 
San Francisco based Dance Company; The Anata Project is back to performance their Artist-in-Residence piece Cloud Formations, exploring elements of the sky, weather patterns and human nature. Sat., 10:30-11 a.m. Sausalito. Free with admission ($13.95). All ages. Event details.

Visit us on Facebook and Instagram and show us how you and the fam kicked off October! #rockedtheweekend #redtricycle

—Amber Guetebier