Tolay Fall Festival Hosts Family Fun on Weekends of Oct. 15-16 and Oct. 22-23

September 29, 2016 in News

Popular event at Tolay Lake Regional Park highlights Sonoma County history, beauty

Boy with pumpkin at Tolay Fall FestivalThe 2016 Tolay Fall Festival presents two weekends of nature-based, old-time fun the weekends of Oct. 15-16 and Oct. 22-23. The festival is an annual celebration connecting visitors with the beauty and history of Sonoma County at Tolay Lake Regional Park in the hills southeast east of Petaluma. Activities are low-key, hands-on, and educational by design. Fall Festival visitors can:

  • Explore the “Nighttime Creatures Barn” with live exhibits of snakes, birds of prey, tide pool animals, and taxidermied wildlife.
  • Venture into the darkened “Creepy Crawly Room,” where tarantulas and scorpions glow under black lights.
  • Take a hayride to a farm field and choose a Halloween pumpkin.
  • Visit a replica of a Native American village with kotchas made of reeds and bark.
  • Try farm crafts like wool-carding, candle-dipping and corn husk doll-making.
  • Join experts in archery and astronomy for hands-on lessons.
  • Compete in pumpkin-seed spitting contests, gunnysack races, and scarecrow building contests.
  • Navigate a straw maze and pet barnyard animals.
  • Sample local foods and desserts or bring a picnic to enjoy at the park. 

Tolay Lake Regional Park is at 5869 Lakeville Highway, at the end of Cannon Lane. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for teens and adults and $3 for children 12 and younger. (Activities inside the festival are free.) Parking is $7. Regional Parks’ members get free, one-time admission for two adults and two children and free parking.

In addition to hosting the general public on weekends, the Tolay Fall Festival will host approximately 7,000 students on field trips Oct. 12-14 and Oct. 20-21.

Tolay Lake Regional Park is a former ranch purchased by the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District in 2005 and transferred to Sonoma County Regional Parks. With community input, Regional Parks is developing a master plan to fully open the park to the public and protect its natural and cultural resources. In the interim, the park is open weekends year-round through a free permit program. The park includes seasonal Tolay Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in Sonoma County and the only one remaining in the San Pablo Bay watershed. It also includes significant Native American artifacts and provides crucial habitat for many bird species, the California red-legged frog, and the western pond turtle.

For more information, visit or call Regional Parks at (707) 565-2041.

For Tolay Fall Festival photos, go to


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