2021 Events at Fort Ross State Historic Park

Fort Ross First Saturdays is on hold for now.

Wondering when to visit Fort Ross? We suggest Fort Ross First Saturdays!

First Saturdays in 2020: February 1st, March 7th, May 2nd, June 6th, July 4th, August 1st, September 5th, October 3rd, November 7th, December 5th.

While every day at Fort Ross is special, on the first Saturday of each month we offer extra interpretation and more reasons to come visit: a Russian windmill demonstration, Call House Museum tours, and the Fort Ross Talk and Tea!


Windmill Turning - 12:00 p.m.

Our experienced windmill docents will turn the mill into the wind, explain its unique construction, and share with you how the two mills were used during the Russian era. Windmill talk and demonstration takes place only on the first Saturday of each month.

Free with park entrance; donations appreciated!


Call House Tours - 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.


Take a guided tour through the Call House Museum and learn about early-California life on the farm during the American Ranch period. You’ll see how hand-crank telephones work and how the square grand piano found its way from Boston to rural Sonoma coast. The Call House is open both Saturday and Sunday on the first weekend of the month from 1pm to 4pm.

Free with park entrance; donations appreciated!


Fort Ross Compound Walking Tour and Tea with Samovar - 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Hear the behind-the-scenes stories of Fort Ross/Metini by joining us on a guided tour through the fort compound. We’ll venture behind locked doors and outside the compound walls to learn about the surrounding neighborhoods of the Kashia Pomo, Alaska Native, Russian, and Ranch eras.

Following our hour-long tour, let’s sit down at the samovar for a cup of hot tea and treats. Meet at 2:30pm at the Visitor Center. $20/person plus California State Park parking fees apply. Tour led by Fort Ross Conservancy’s bilingual (English and Russian) guide Hank Birnbaum. Limited seating, reservations highly suggested Reserve your spot for Tour & Tea here.




CANCELLED: Help Save an Endangered Species! – March 19, 11:00 a.m.

Viola adunca/Behren’s Silverspot Butterfly Survey Training
Join us for the return of our botanical treasure hunt! We are looking for volunteers to explore the beautiful coastal bluffs of Fort Ross and Salt Point State Parks in search of the tiny flower known as the Western Dog Violet (Viola adunca) and to upload your findings using the “Calflora” app on your smartphone.

The flower is the host plant for the endangered Behren’s Silverspot butterflies found along our coast. Because of the data we’ve collected in previous surveys, California State Parks (CSP) and Fort Ross Conservancy were awarded a Coastal Prairie Restoration Grant of $100,000 to restore our grasslands and save our butterfly friends! We owe our dedicated volunteers for being a huge part of that success!

This year’s surveys will further Fort Ross Conservancy and State Park’s conservation efforts to improve our coastal prairie habitat. Email melissab@fortross.org to participate in the training or simply Register Here




CANCELLED: Earth Day & Spring Celebration – Saturday, April 25


Celebrate and honor Spring and Earth Day on one of the most gorgeous and historically fascinating spots on the Sonoma Coast. Earth Day at Fort Ross offers something for everyone!


Volunteer! Start the day volunteering with Fort Ross Conservancy staff and Sonoma State University students as we tackle invasive species removal on the coast bluffs. 9:30am – 12pm. No charge. Wear comfortable clothes and bring sunscreen, layers, and a hat.

Learn! Learn from expert guest speakers about California’s coastal ecology, and how we can all do our part to lessen the impacts of global climate change. Bring a bag lunch and enjoy the sun with the Pacific Ocean as our classroom. 12pm – 1:30pm. No charge. ; California State Parks entrance fees apply. Call Picnic Area.


Ryan Tucker Jones teaches environmental history at the University of Oregon. He will be talking about the destruction of the sea otter population from Siberia to California, and telling the unknown story of Russia’s desperate attempts to save the species in the 1800s.

Spring Celebration! Join Kedry for “Krasnaya Gorka” (a traditional Slavic folk celebration, the week after Orthodox Easter) in the Fort Compound, 1:30-2:30, for spring calling songs, various circle dances and games.

Tour & Tea! Hear the behind-the-scenes stories of Fort Ross/Metini by joining us on a guided tour through the fort compound. We’ll venture behind locked doors and outside the compound walls to learn about the surrounding neighborhoods of the Kashia Pomo, Alaska Native, Russian, and Ranch eras. Following our hour-long tour, let’s sit down at the samovar for a cup of hot tea, treats and a select few songs by the day’s performers. Tour led by Fort Ross Conservancy’s bilingual (English and Russian) guide Hank Birnbaum. Limited seating, reservations required for the tour and tea. Meet at 2:30pm at the Ocean Gate, Fort Compound. $25/person plus California State Park parking fees.

Concert! End the day with traditional folk songs inspired by the cycles of nature’s elements with Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble and Russian House Kedry $30/person special event fee applies for concert, or $55/person for concert, tour and tea.


Alaska Native Day becomes Biennial


Beginning this year, AND will be an odd-year event opposite Celebration. Celebration is a four-day even-year festival in Juneau to honor Alaska Native culture. This year, tribes from all over Alaska will fly, dance, and paddle into Juneau to perform ceremony from June 10-14, 2020. Follow Celebration at https://www.sealaskaheritage.org/institute/celebration.

Alaska Native Day at Fort Ross will resume on May 15, 2021 and will continue every other year. The Alaskans will be at Fort Ross Festival in July to represent our history at the fort. Join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/673196519411277/to share Alaska Native culture and history at Metini/Ross and beyond.


CANCELLED: Snapshot Cal Coast - Fort Ross State Historic Park BioBlitz

Sunday, June 7, 8:45 am


Register Here

Get your cameras and smartphones ready! Join Fort Ross Conservancy as we come together for the statewide movement led by The California Academy of Sciences to get out to the coast, search for as many creatures as we can find, and share the photos of our discoveries on the website and app, iNaturalist.

We will meet at Fort Ross State Historic Park at 8:45 a.m. to witness as much of the – 1.4 tide at 6:52 a.m. as possible.

Free camping will be available at Salt Point to those who Register Here, so bring your tents, sleeping bags, meals, and s’mores ingredients! We will be camping in groups, first 24 to register only will camp for free.

What to bring – Your smart device or camera, rain boots or other shoes OK with getting wet, warm layers, sun hat, sunscreen, lunch, snacks, water.

Snapshot Cal Coast is a California statewide effort to document our coastal biodiversity and hold a series of BioBlitzes up and down the California Coast, focusing on intertidal zones in marine protected areas (MPAs). We will be working together with the MPA Collaborative Network and other partners to create a “snapshot” in time of where species are located along our coast.

Contact Director of Programs Song K Hunter for more info at songh@fortross.org


What is a BioBlitz?


BioBlitzes bring people together to document biodiversity in one place at one time, recording observations of plants and animals using smartphones or digital cameras and uploading results to the biodiversity recording and social networking platform iNaturalist (www.inaturalist.org). These events connect people of all backgrounds to the outdoors, inspire everyone to protect biodiversity, and at the same time generate invaluable data.

Working together, we can learn a lot more about our coast. We are off to a pretty good start here in the Golden State– click here to explore all of the observations made with iNaturalist along the entire California coast over the past nine years. In a typical grassroots, one-day BioBlitz, together with ~50 volunteers, we make 1500 observations of about 250 species in 3-4 hours. So, over these two weeks in June, we could add 14,000 observations, and generate a coast-wide snapshot of California Coastal biodiversity.


Why BioBlitz?


We have never attempted a coordinated BioBlitz on this scale with specific questions in mind. This series of coastal BioBlitzes and individual observations will:

  • Gather data critical to understanding and managing marine species
  • Build awareness of the biodiversity of the California coast and the MPA Collaborative Network
  • Bring together local community in support of marine stewardship
  • Recruit new volunteers
  • Be really fun

Together we will increase knowledge of California’s ocean and coastal habitats and their wildlife populations. We will foster collaborations among state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and tribes, and engage a broad range of California’s communities in activities that promote coastal conservation and connect us to nature and each other. This series of events will also work to build and expand our community of citizen scientists and stewards who can collectively advance scientific research and protection of California’s marine resources. The resulting data will be invaluable to managers and scientists for determining long-term trends, and we will be the first to use tools such as iNaturalist to monitor California’s MPAs at the same moment in time.

Event brought to you by Fort Ross Conservancy in partnership with California State Parks and The California Academy of Sciences


CANCELLED: Fort Ross Festival – Saturday, July 25



Looking for the perfect way to celebrate Summer in Sonoma County? Join us on July 25th for Fort Ross Festival! Where else can you witness Kashia Pomo ceremonial dancing, listen to folk, gypsy and bluegrass music, learn from Alaska Native craftspeople, and take in traditional Russian performances, all together on the most beautiful stretch of the Sonoma coast? Grab a pint from our Beer Garden and enjoy an amazing day celebrating different cultures. In addition, with fantastic support from California State Parks, we will have cannon firings and militia demonstration!

We will be holding our third Borsch Cook-Off! If you have a recipe you’d like to share, bring a pot of borscht and see how your borscht compares to others in the competition and win some prizes!


California Coastal Cleanup Day – September 26, 2020


9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Join Fort Ross Conservancy and the California Coastal Commission in the statewide movement, Coastal Cleanup Day!

Last year, 72 ocean-loving volunteers came together at Fort Ross to collect and dispose of over 500 pounds of trash found on our beaches! Unfortunately, we covered only a small section of the Fort Ross coastline, so let’s get together on September 26th and continue the amazing work already started getting our beaches back to their pristine condition.

Bring: layers, sturdy shoes (you’ll be scrambling up and down rocks to get down to the beach), water, lunch, a hat, and your camera. All ages welcome!

We will provide: contractor bags for trash, gloves, trash tongs, and light refreshments in the morning.

Questions? Email Song Hunter at songh@fortross.org

Meet at the Visitor Center at 9:30 a.m.

Fort Ross Conservancy, 19005 Coast Highway One, Jenner, CA 95450


CANCELLED: Harvest Festival – Saturday, October 10


Harvest is the time to enjoy autumn’s fresh air with friends and family, acknowledging all that the seasons provide us. Please join us! Harvest Festival is a free event. Please park at the main parking lot and take the shuttle to the orchard. Regular State Parks kiosk fees of $8/car apply.

There will not be food vendors at the park–please bring a picnic.

CANCELLED: Community Holiday Potluck – Saturday, December 12


12 – 3 pm Fort Ross Auditorium

We invite our friends, members, and local community to join us at 12pm for our annual holiday party. FRC will bring a few hearty main dishes to share. Please bring a side, salad, or dessert for the table.

Questions? Email Sarjan Holt at sarjanh@fortross.org or call 707/847-3437.

Click here to see the listing of past events