As the city starts rolling out the orange and black colors of Halloween, Golden Gate Park is not to be outdone with activities and events centered on the holiday. Not only can you find something for the whole family to enjoy for the festive observance, but there are other opportunities to experience culture, art, and nature with a variety of October 2012 events in Golden Gate Park.

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The First Sketch-a-saurus!Conservatory of Flowers – Oct 4 

The Conservatory of Flowers will stay open a little later on Thursdays (until 7 p.m.) for the run of its current event, Plantosaurus Rex so that you can enjoy an event that allows you to sketch your very own prehistoric pet. Pencils and paper will be provided. This opportunity is offered starting at 4:30 p.m. and is free with admission to the Conservatory. Keep in mind that the last ticket will be sold at 6:30 p.m.


Sharktoberfest at California Academy of Sciences – Oct 4 

A celebration centered on sharks and beer will delight visitors to the California Academy of Sciences, who come to enjoy the first Thursday Nightlife of October. The African Hall will transform into a beer garden, featuring local brews from the likes of Lagunitas Brewing Company, Pacific Brewing Laboratory, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, and Almanac Beer Co. Robotic sharks and shark specimens will join the party. Shark experts Dave Ebert and David McGuire will introduce you to a newly discovered shark species.

As always, Nightlife events start at 6 p.m. and end at 10 p.m. This is an event for the 21 and over crowd. Cocktails and edibles will be available. The cost is $12 to gain admission.

Other Nightlife events at the California Academy of Sciences include:

  • • Oct 11 – “Treasure Island NightLife” – Rare gems and minerals from the Academy collections and the Gemological Institute of America are the highlight of the event.
  • • Oct 18 – “Makers’ NightLife” – A puppet show, original Maker Faire projects on display, and a live digital performance in the planetarium by multimedia artist J-Walt.
  • • Oct 25 – “Zombie NightLife” – To celebrate Halloween, enjoy a zombie drag show and costume contest.


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass – Oct 5, 6 & 7

October is the month where one of the largest music festivals comes to San Francisco with six stages (such as the Star, Arrow, Banjo and Rooster) filling with the talent of more than 350 musicians. This year’s schedule includes the likes of Pickwick, The Lumineers, The Chieftains, Dirty Three, The Milk Carton Kids, and Lucero. On Friday, the Banjo Stage will host Elvis Costello at 5:45 p.m. On Saturday, the Star Stage is where you will find the Cowboy Junkies at 3:45 p.m. On Sunday, the Towers of Gold Stage is sure to attract crowds that gather to see Dwight Yoakum at 3:10 p.m. Following Yoakum’s performance is Patti Smith and her band at 5 p.m. on the same stage.

Event times for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass extravaganza include:

  • Friday – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information, visit the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass website.


13th World Veg Festival in San Francisco – SF County Fair Building – Oct 6 & 7

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to appreciate the World Veg Festival, which comes to the San Francisco County Fair Building for two days – from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some of the events and activities to look forward to include lectures and workshops, food samples, new products to buy, raw food demonstrations, cooking demos, and a corner just for the kiddies. Live entertainment will amuse as you browse the sights of the festival. You might even get a chance to meet Ms. Celery 2012. The entrance fee costs $10 with children under 12 years old, seniors over 65, and students with an ID entering for free. For more information, check out


WVF Special Raw Food Dinner – SF Botanical Garden – Oct 6

In conjunction with the World Veg Festival, the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum will host a special raw food dinner at 6:45 p.m. Cherie Soria of Living Light Culinary Institute will cater and present a “Raw Tour of the Middle East,” which will feature menu items, such as Creamy Chipotle Soup, Arugula and Anjou Pear Salad, Capers and Caramelized Onions, Hibiscus Coolers, and tiramisu.


Golden Gate Park Band Grand Finale – Music Concourse Bandshell – Oct 7

As the cooler weather comes to San Francisco, the Golden Gate Park Band will conclude their 2012 season with a grand finale at Spreckles Temple of Music at the Music Concourse Bandshell. Come with your favorite tunes because this is an all-request opportunity – from patriotic tunes to old standbys. The performance will begin at 1 p.m.


Native American Poetry Series – de Young Museum – Oct 19 

Head for Koret Auditorium for a session of the Native American Poetry Series (a Friday Nights at the de Young feature) that starts at 7 p.m. Some of the talent scheduled to share includes Naomi Quiñonez, Mica Valdez, Luke Warm Water, and Shuck. You do not need to place a reservation for this event, but keep in mind that it is first come, first seated. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m.


SF Mad Dash – Polo Field – Oct 27 

If you’re looking for a chance to wear your Halloween costume a bit earlier or your kids can’t wait to dress up, Polo Field is hosting the SF Mad Dash (the Helluva Halloween & 5K Costume Run), where you can run, walk or simply mingle while wearing your costume. This event (from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.) welcomes participants of all ages. There is something for everyone – from a beer and wine garden, live music, cash raffle, and kid-friendly activities. Entry fees are $30 before October 27 or $35 on race day. If you wish to register online or need more information – check out


Pet Pride Day – Sharon Meadow – Oct 28

Celebrate the furry or feathered friend in your life by gathering at Sharon Meadow for Pet Pride Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pet owners will have a chance to show off their companions, as well as take the opportunity to possible adopt a new friend. This free event will include a Working Animal Demonstration, DiscDoGG (talented flying dogs), and onsite SF Animal Care & Control veterinarians offering rabies vaccinations for $10. Free microchips for all licensed dogs in San Francisco will also take place. Other events and activities to look forward to includes kid-friendly fun, pet costumes, pet tricks, food, onsite adoptions, and a parade. If you have any questions, you can check out this website.