Accordion mayhem and the handcar circus

Sonoma County is pretty darn cool. My last two weekends have been filled with two of my favorite festivals, both in Sonoma County: The Accordion Festival and the Wunderkammer Festival.

Every year my friends Josh and Erik and I (and oftentimes our +1s) make our way to Cotati, CA… a tiny town that explodes every August for their famous festival.

I’ve been meeting them in Cotati for six years now for the festival (see last year’s post), and Josh and Erik are two years ahead of me.  We all talk proudly of our six and eight years at the festival, like it was a true challenge to bring ourselves there every year. But the truth is… accordions rock! I don’t know where else there is such a committedly strange and ecclectic collection of fans than the accordion clan. May you be in your crinoline and dancing shoes to head into the polka tent, throwing quarters into the hat of Accordion Apocalypse punk Skyler Fell, bouncing around to the infectious beat of Tex-Mex border accordion of La Familia Peña-Govea, or raising your pint to the Irish pub songs of Culann’s Hounds, you’re bound to find something that pushes your buttons.

Last weekend I met my family at what was previously called the Handcar Regatta in Santa Rosa, CA for what might be my third or fourth year attending.

The Wunderkammer Festival (formerly the Handcar Regatta) is a steam punk styled event that promotes engineering marvels, eccentric fashion and artistry, and a dash of homesteading and lots ingenuity. In years prior there were fermentation demos, DIY crafty booths, gorgeous turn of the century styled clothing, and incredible machines racing down the abandoned tracks in Santa Rosa.  This year it was a bit smaller, as it seems to be turning over to new folks with a new name. The event is always my favorite excuse to dress up and people watch, and the races will always give you someone to root for as well.  Here’s some shots I took from the event last weekend.

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All in all though, these are two of my favorite festivals (beats the San Diego County Fair, Garlic Festival, and more in my book). There’s something just enthralling about a festival that focuses so intensely on what I always thought was a small subject. But that’s where the real juice is.  That’s where all the most interesting and committed people are. You can check out what happening near you here.

What’s your favorite festival?

6 thoughts on “Accordion mayhem and the handcar circus

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