Fort Ross Festival 2015
July 25th, 10am-6:30pm: Fort Ross Festival
$20 per car (includes $8 State Parks fee).
Special event bus fee for small capacity (24 person or fewer) bus: $100.
Special event bus fee for large capacity (greater than 24 person) bus: $225
Food and drink purchased separately. Questions? Email us at email@example.com, call us at 707/847-3437.
Click here for our event poster. Here is the map of the day’s activities and here is the day’s schedule.
California State Parks and Fort Ross Conservancy are pleased to welcome you to Fort Ross Festival, where we celebrate the wonderful diverse international flavors and cultures of Fort Ross. This year’s event, sponsored by Renova Fort Ross Foundation, will highlight the Kashia, Russian, Alaska Native, and California ranch era peoples who have called Fort Ross home over the centuries. We’ll offer costumed historical vignettes, hands-on crafts, militia cannon firings, horse and buggy rides, music & dance from numerous cultures, an international food bazaar — and of course, the Fort Ross Beer Garden!
We are thrilled to welcome the St Petersburg’s Horn Orchestra of Russia. This ensemble successfully revives the traditions of horn music performance from 19th Century Imperial Russia. Today the 18-person orchestra possesses 74 instruments with the range of 4 octaves which are unique because of their form and sound. The band plays pieces from both modern composers as well as the works of old masters. They will hold two performances during the day. Thanks go to Renova Fort Ross Foundation and Russia’s Ministry of Culture for bringing this unique ensemble to our event.
Craftspeople with hands-on crafts
Settlement Ross was one of the first industrial centers of California, and many skilled craftspeople were hard at work here, building California’s first ships, windmill, clay bricks, barrels, and much more. Today you can watch a blacksmith, tinsmith, weaver, spinner, felt maker, laundress, soap maker, carpenter, broom maker and many others busily preparing their wares, perhaps to trade with the Spanish, Mexicans or Bostonians. Several of the crafts allow you to join the fun–learn to make your own rope, mini-basket, or candle.
Russian House Kedry generously brings Fort Ross to life during the festival and each season with interactive celebrations including traditional Russian folk songs, dances, rituals, games, crafts and baking.
East Bay women’s vocal arts ensemble Kitka is inspired by traditional songs and vocal techniques from Eastern Europe. Their exquisite harmonies resonate as if energized by the universe itself. A Kitka trio will perform at this year’s festival.
From 11:30pm – 5:30pm, join us in the historic Call Picnic area for our second annual Beer Garden made possible by generous donations from local breweries Lagunitas Brewing Company of Petaluma, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. of Chico, Anchor Brewing of San Francisco. In honor of the Fort Ross historic orchard, Tilted Shed Ciderworks of Sebastopol has donated cider from their small batch, dry-farmed, organic, Sonoma County made, heritage apples. Enjoy your beer and BBQ while listening to live music. Our sponsors:
International Food Bazaar
Also in the Call Picnic area, enjoy our International Food Bazaar. Choose from a wonderful variety of local vendors, including traditional Russian Borscht, Pelmeny (meat dumplings), Bliny (pancakes) with stuffings, Vinegret (beet root salad) from the brand new Russian House #1 in Jenner, to slow smoked BBQ with fresh coleslaw from BBQ Smokehouse Bistro & Catering, both Californian & European style crepes filled with sweet or savory options from Ultra Crepes, for a taste of India with Curry Sensations, try their Punjabi Style Burritos, Chicken or Butternut Squash Curry Rice plates, or Fried Fish Pakora. For vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options try one of the many choices from Turkish/Mediterranean, Vegeteranean. For a refreshing and healthful treat, have a serving of Juice Runners Red, Gold & Green veggie/fruit juice mixes, or warm up with an organic hot espresso from Julianne’s Espresso Connection. If you have a sweet tooth, choose one of the many absolutely incredible flavors of homemade, award-winning, small batch ice cream from Nimble & Finn’s.
Greens for the Blue Salad Booth
Support the Fort Ross Youth Marine Ecology Program
Every Dollar You Spend Goes to our Marine Ecology Scholarship Fund
Fort Ross Conservancy has launched a Marine Ecology Program (MEP). Our program offers a wonderful opportunity for youth to learn about California Marine Ecology as they hike the coastline of Fort Ross State Historic Park, interact with and observe marine species, and experience camping on the beautiful Sonoma Coast, all while immersed in marine biology and citizen science. Help us bring under-served kids to our program by purchasing a fresh and delicious organic salad at our first-ever MEP Salad Booth. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to our new Marine Ecology Scholarship Fund. Choose between three amazing salad choices generously donated by Whole Foods Sebastopol. FRC’s Marine Ecology Program is underwritten in part by the California Coastal Commission.
Bering Sea Style Beading
At Fort Ross Festival 2015 we welcome beautiful Unangax elder Becky Bendixen to demonstrate headdress beading in the Bering Sea style like the one Becky and her daughter are wearing. FRC Advisor Lauren Peters secured a grant with Aleut Foundationthe Aleut Foundation to bring Becky to join us. Originally from King Cove, Alaska, Becky has dedicated her life to Unangan culture and history. She is also the leader of the dance troupe Sngagim Axasniikangin, which means Dream Dancers because “we are dancing the dream of our people to keep our culture and traditions alive and active.”
Nigilax Demonstration Build
The Kashia Pomo called the Alaskans Underwater People because their boats sat so low in the water it seemed as if they were coming out of the sea. Join us in the fortcompound at Fort Ross Festival to watch Marc Daniels continue to build FRC’s nigilax, or what the Russians called a baidara. Marc’s Make Access Iqyax explores the science and tradition of iqyax building as it relates to contemporary Unangax life, with the goal to inspire new tradition bearers. “Spending time cutting, carving, and shaping parts and pieces is fun enough, but it gets really exciting when all of those parts start being assembled. In no time at all a beautiful vessel takes shape. And of course the ultimate fun will be exploring local waters in a hand-made, community-made nigilax!” –Marc Daniels
Boat building sponsored by Fort Ross Conservancy. Please stop by the Alaska Native crafts area and say hello!
Ranch era Call House Museum Walkthrough
George W. Call built this residence in 1878 as a headquarters for the ranch and shipping operations, and a home for their family, which eventually included nine children. The house museum, first open to visitors in May, 2003, is an excellent example of the Early California Ranch period. Volunteers maintain the historic garden and give guided tours on the first weekend of each month from 1 to 4 PM. Many of the furnishings belonged to the Call family. During Fort Ross Festival the Call House Museum will be open for limited viewing only.
After you exit the Call House, stop by the fire circle, just off the back porch, to visit with members of some of the families who have ranched on this stretch of the Sonoma Coast from as long ago as 1843. Listen to their reminiscences and converse with them about ranch life while enjoying a complimentary cup of tea.
Su Nu Nu Shinal
The Kashia were the first people known to have lived in the area that is now Fort Ross, and they continue to live on these lands today. Su Nu Nu Shinal, which means Huckleberry Heights, are Kashia Pomo and Coast Miwok Indians from California who have been performing traditional dance for over 40 years. They will dance in their traditional dance circle on the ocean terrace outside the fort compound.
Fort Ross Festival Activities Throughout the Day
10:00 to 6:30 Fort Ross Conservancy Bookshop in the Visitor Center offers great Fort Ross items for sale; enjoy the Museum and our 18-minute introductory Fort Ross video.
10:00 to 4:00 Horn Orchestra of Russia, historic crafts, Alaska Native displays, and cooking demonstrations in the fort compound
11:00 to 5:30 International Food Bazaar (Call Picnic Area)
11:30 to 5:30 Beer Garden (Call Picnic Area), also serving coffee & tea
12:30 to 4:30 Horse and Carriage ride (free!) between Windmill and Fort Compound
1:00 to 4:00 Ranch-era Call House walk through, and tea with Ranch-era descendants
4:30 to 5:00 Kedry and Kitka (Marine Terrace)
5:00 to 5:30 Su Nu Nu Shinal (Dance Circle)
Schedule of Events (subject to change)
10:00 Divine Service – St Nicholas Cathedral (Fort Ross Chapel)
10:30 Windmill Presentation
11:00 Russian Orthodox Procession to the cemetery and Panikhida
11:15 Fort Ross History Interpretive Talk, in English (Outside Fort Compound Ocean Gate)
11:15 Storytelling (Apple trees at Rotchev House, Fort Compound)
11:45 Militia drill and cannon firing (Fort Compound)
12:30 Horn Orchestra of Russia (Fort Compound)
1:30 Russian House Kedry & Kitka Women’s Ensemble perform traditional Russian song & dance
2:00 Fort Ross History Interpretive Talk, English–Outside Fort Compound Ocean Gate, Russian–Near Well in Fort Compound
2:00 Storytelling (Apple trees at Rotchev House, Fort Compound)
2:00 Windmill Presentation
2:30 Kitka Women’s Ensemble (trio) (Outside Fur Warehouse)
3:00 Horn Orchestra of Russia (Fort Compound)
3:45 Militia drill & cannon firing (Fort Compound)
4:35 Russian House Kedry Russian song & dance (Marine Terrace outside Fort Compound)
5:00 Su Nu Nu Shinal Kashia dancers (Dance Circle outside Fort Compound)
California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact 707/847-3437. Please leave your dogs at home. Thank you!