Grab your boots and get ready to kick off October with some totally awesome activities. Get in the spirit of the season at a green costume swap, dress up your doggies for a good cause, or set sail in the blue waters of our beautiful bay. From bluegrass and books to carnivals and consignment sales, this weekend’s events will have your entire family stomping their feet with glee.


San Francisco

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
Bring your little pickers and your grinners out for the 13th 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 Chris Isaak, Emmylou Harris, Calexico, Ralph Stanley, and Conor Oberst. MC Hammer performs Friday for the entire SFUSD’s middle school classes, which anyone can attend. Food and drink vendors abound. Check out this article for tips on navigating the festival with the kiddos.  Fri., Sat., & Sun. 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. San Francisco. Free. All Ages. Event details.

SF SPCA’s 145th Anniversary Carnival
The ultimate kid and dog (and cat!) friendly shindig, the San Francisco SPCA is throwing a carnival to celebrate 145 years of pet adoptions and tender loving care for your furry friends. With a pet costume contest, carnival games, live performers, an Old West photo booth, and even a tour of the pet hospital for your aspiring veterinarians, this benefit event will have your whole family barking with joy. Sat. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. San Francisco. Free. All Ages. Event details.

The Global Cardboard Challenge at the Children’s Creativity Museum
Cereal-box skyscrapers and paper towel roll capers! It’s the Global Cardboard Challenge, where kids are encouraged to think outside the box and join this worldwide day of play. Bring your imagination and crafty skills, materials provided are cardboard and other recycled materials. Register in advance. Sat. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. San Francisco. $11/person. All Ages. Event details.

East Bay

North Richmond Shoreline Festival
Birds, fish, pony rides, free burritos, live music, and more. Bring the whole family out the natural beauty of the shoreline and its many trails. Don’t forget helmets if you want to bike the trails. Sat. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Richmond. Free. All Ages. Event details.

Indigenous Peoples Pow Wow and Indian Market
The 21st Annual Indigenous Peoples Day will include all day dancing and music, featuring Native California dancers. Try out Native American Foods and buy crafts at the market and don’t forget to bring traditional drums to join the festivities. Sat. 10 a.m – 6 p.m. Oakland. Free. All Ages. Event details.

Free Sailboat Ride
Ahoy! It’s time to set sail with the Cal Sailing Club with a free sail on the bay. Head to the Berkeley Marina for a quick intro to sailing then hop aboard and hit the open water. Bring a change of clothes and get ready to have fun! Sun. Berkeley. 1-4 p.m. Free. All Ages. Event details.

South Bay/Peninsula

American Consignment Company Kid Sale
Shop this Bay Area Kids Consignment Sale and find quality, new and gently used kids clothes, toys, games, books, DVDs, baby gear, maternity wear and more at 50-90% off retail. Early arrivals on Saturday will find the best deals. Sunday shoppers will find many items are half price. Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Los Gatos.  Free. All ages. Event details.

Star Wars Reads Day
Grab your lightsabers and head to a Star Wars themed day of stories and activities at this annual bookstore event. Volunteers from the 501st Golden Gate Garrison will be ready for photo-ops in their film-quality costumes. Costumes encouraged. Sat. 3-6 p.m. San Jose. Free. All Ages. Event details.

Marin County

Mountain School Apple Faire
Join the Mountain School for its very first annual Apple Faire! There will be many fun games, crafts, face painting, a cupcake walk, a treat shop, a book and toy shop and lots of fun for families. The Puppet Trixters will be giving special performances at 11:00 am and Noon. Admission to the faire is free, tokens can be purchased to play games, and tickets can be purchased for the puppet show. Whether you decide to go fishing in the “pond”, dig in the sandbox for treasure, or go through the maze of the Gnome and Fairy Cave, your little ones will have a wonderful time. Sat. 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. Corte Madera. Free. Ages 3-7. Event details.

Fall Family Fun Night by the Lake
Come enjoy a cool fall evening on the lawn at Stafford Lake for Family Fun Night! Featuring a family movie, popcorn, bouncy house for the kids, and more! Feel free to picnic and BBQ too. Movie begins 15 minutes after sunset. Fri. 5:30- 8:30 p.m. $10 park entrance. All Ages. Event details.

Green Halloween Costume Swap
Bring a costume, get a costume: stop by Marin Country Mart Farmers’ Market to trade in a gently used costume and swap it for a new one! With the goal of reducing children’s exposure to food dyes, preservatives, and other yucky stuff, EcoMom Alliance of Marin has come together to host a fun-filled day and a healthy celebration for the Halloween season. Sat. 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Larkspur. All Ages. Event details.

Where are you taking the kiddos this weekend?

— Amber Guetebier

photo credit: Nicole Bratt via creative commons