Around the bay in February 2012

Both birds and people will be flocking to Mare Island in Vallejo to celebrate what has become a special annual ritual each winter: the San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival.

Photo by Eric Hunt

Published: February, 2012

Come Fly with Me

Both birds and people will be flocking to Mare Island in Vallejo to celebrate what has become a special annual ritual each winter: the San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival. The three-day event celebrates the return of over one million shorebirds and hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese and hawks that migrate through or winter in the San Francisco Bay Area. This year the Festival will be held Friday, February 10 through Sunday, February 12 in Building 223, 500 Connolly St. on Mare Island. Admission is free. Festival-goers will be able to choose from hundreds of fun activities, including a Family Wildlife Exploration and Birding Expo with more than 100 exhibitors, guided nature walks including beginning birding outings for families and adults, birding and wild bird demonstrations, and art and photography exhibits. As many as 20 guided outings are planned for Mare Island, along with a self-guided wetland walk to the Bay on the San Pablo Bay Walking Trail. For the fifth year, the festival will feature American Volkswalk Association-sanctioned 5K and 10K walks on a route through the southern island and in the historic and new neighborhoods of the former U.S. Navy shipyard founded in 1854. Mare Island outings will include Sierra Club-guided walks to the Navy’s first ammunition depot in the Pacific founded in 1857 and located on the Island’s south end in the 215-acre Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve. St. Peter’s Chapel, home to the most Tiffany stained-glass windows in a single site in the western United States, will be open for tours Sunday, February 12. A complete schedule of the more than 50 regional outings, as well as Mare Island guided walks and the Wildlife Expo schedule, are available on the festival website,



Fresh Art

The unique talents of the artist members of the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art in Novato will be showcased in the MarinMOCA Main Gallery in the upcoming exhibition, FRESH. The theme encourages artist members to show their most recent work fresh from their studios. In addition, the MarinMOCA Hamilton Gallery will feature the work of MarinMOCA stars—artist members who have demonstrated extraordinary volunteer service to the organization. MarinMOCA artist members work in a variety of media, from acrylic and oil paint on canvas, to watercolor on paper, to encaustic (wax), to photography, to sculpture of all types. There will be something to please, challenge and intrigue any viewer! Robert Vo, associate director of Market Street Gallery in San Francisco, will serve as juror. The exhibit runs through February 26 on Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (415) 506-0137 or visit



Orchid Exposition Turns 60

On February 23-26, the San Francisco Orchid Society’s 60th annual Pacific Orchid Exposition will be held at Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion. The Pacific Orchid Exposition is the largest orchid show in the country and is aptly named for the extraordinary, lush displays of organic beauty that are showcased every year. The event boasts more than 150,000 orchid flowers from all over the world and offers educational exhibits from local, national and international orchid growers. Because of its diverse microclimate, the Bay Area is widely acknowledged as one of the best orchid growing regions and is home to an array of exotic species. Each day, docent tours and cultivation tips are given to visitors as they peruse the chromatic wonderland of orchids. Professional and amateur growers, as well as orchid societies, will be displaying their unique orchids and rare hybrids, allowing any nature lover the chance to purchase a one-of-a-kind treasure. The event opens on Thursday, February 23 with the highly anticipated Gala Benefit Preview night, which offers wine tasting from some of the Bay Area’s premier wineries. The evening includes live music, delicious hors d’oeuvres, and a fabulous silent auction. For more information, visit



Rosie the Riveter Needs You!

The National Park Service seeks a group of volunteer docents to assist with operations at the new Visitor Education Center at Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park, which is scheduled to open in May 2012. This National Park, located in Richmond, preserves and interprets the stories and places of our nation’s home front response to World War II. Park sites include the Ford Assembly Plant, the SS Red Oak Victory, historic Shipyard no. 3, the Rosie the Riveter Memorial in Marina Bay Park, and the Maritime Child Development Center, among others. Prior to starting their volunteer responsibilities, each docent must attend three training sessions (total of 12 hours), and two ranger-led tours of the park. Docents will be encouraged to work at least eight hours per month at the Visitor Center desk after completion of training. Additional first aid/CPR training will be offered at a later date. Periodic continuing education talks by local historians and authors, as well as field trips, will also be scheduled to supplement docents’ knowledge of park history and resources. To reserve your spot in the training program, please contact Lucien Sonder at, or (510) 232-5050 ext. 6622.



Hornet Offers Overnight Mystery Tour

Sleep among the spirits as you spend the night onboard after touring the USS Hornet while she is illuminated in the red lights used for "night ops." Investigate the historic aircraft carrier’s well-known paranormal hot spots exclusively in small groups after hours. Will you be alone in the dark? Book now and find out! The overnight stay begins at 6 p.m. and costs $100 per person ($75 for members). For more information, visit or call (510) 521-8448 ext. 224. Reservations are required.



Chinese New Year Parade

Named one of the world’s top ten parades, Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco is the largest celebration of its kind outside of Asia. Over 100 units will participate in the parade, with many of the floats and specialty units featuring the theme of the Year of the Dragon. Nowhere in the world will you see a lunar New Year parade with more gorgeous floats, elaborate costumes, ferocious lions and exploding firecrackers. Some of the parade highlights include elaborately decorated floats, school marching bands, martial arts groups, stilt walkers, lion dancers, Chinese acrobatics, the newly crowned Miss Chinatown USA and the Golden Dragon. The Golden Dragon is over 201 feet long and is always featured at the end of the parade as the grand finale—it will be accompanied by over 600,000 firecrackers! The Golden Dragon was made in Foshan, a small town in China. The Foshan dragonmasters formerly made all the costumes for the Cantonese opera, and the Golden Dragon bears many operatic touches, such as the rainbow colored pompoms on its six-foot-long head. It is festooned from nose to tail with colored lights, decorated with silver rivets on both scaly sides and trimmed in white rabbit fur. The dragon, made on a skeleton of bamboo and rattan, is in 29 segments. It takes a team of 100 men and women to carry the Golden Dragon. Rain or shine, come watch the parade on Saturday, February 11 from 5:15 to 8 p.m. For more information along with the parade route, visit

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