Press Releases 2016



August 27 & 28, 2016  16855 Bodega Hwy, Bodega CA 94922
For immediate release:
Contact: Janet Ciel
707 824-8717 (festival phone) 707 529-4484 (cell)


Held on a rugged, rural ranch, a few miles inland from the spectacular Sonoma Coast, the Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival is both sophisticated and down-home. It has garnered the reputation for being one of the premier art, wine/beer and food festivals in California. This annual benefit attracts thousands of foodies, art aficionados, wine and beer connoisseurs and music lovers to picturesque Watts Ranch in the village where Alfred Hitchcock once filmed his classic thriller, “The Birds.”

A bevy of restaurants and catering companies offer a bounty of seafood dishes and other edibles. Options like barbecued oysters, crab cakes, Key Lime calamari, fish tacos, albacore wrapped in bacon, grilled salmon, fish and chips, fresh crab cocktails and crab Louies are just a few delicious items on vendors’ menus. The festival focuses on seafood, but there are plenty of meat, chicken, and vegetarian options to please all pallets, as well as sweet treats, so this is a food lover’s dream event.

The Wine and Microbrewed Beer Tasting is always a huge draw and this year will be the largest tasting yet: with over 35 wineries and 20+ microbreweries. The tasting is a wonderful mix of known companies, as well as many small boutique wineries and up and coming breweries. Previous participants, such as Alexander Valley, Cline Cellars, Jacuzzi Family, Korbel, Frey Vineyards, Lagunitas, North Coast, Bear Republic, Sierra Nevada, and Speakeasy will be joined by many newcomers to our tasting such as Kobler Estate, Kelley & Young, Full Sail Brewing and Founders Brewing, to name a small handful. The tasting is $20 for a commemorative wine or beer glass and 6 tastes. The festival also has a Wine & Microbrew Store where wines and beers sampled in the tasting are available for purchase.

The quality of the art and fine craft is unrivaled in Sonoma County and beyond. This juried show attracts artisans from throughout California and other parts of the country. The festival aims to appeal to a broad range of attendees, by providing a mix of higher end fine art and craft and more moderate ranged craft work. The event producers are artists themselves, and know the ins and outs of doing shows from both sides, having each traveled to do festivals for over 30 years.

3 stage of entertainment give festival goers a full day of musical and non-musical diversion. This year the Main Stage headliners are blues legend, Tommy Castro on Saturday, and Motown rockers Pride & Joy on Sunday. The Waybacks are an exciting addition to the line-up as are the Bootleg Honeys, John Allair, and many more. Non-musical entertainment includes the hilarious Captain Jack Spareribs, Calvin Kai Ku and Merry Mary.

This is a fun family event so there are jumps, slides and rockwall, face painting, as well as ceramic painting for kids. New this year is the giant trampoline-ride Wake Attack. We also have the “color-in giant mural” for all ages. It depicts many favorite photographs shot at the festival over the years which have been converted into black and white images to fill in with washable paints: an art project for all our visitors. Our beneficiary, Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods, have wonderful, interactive, environmental displays for the whole family as well.

A portion of the proceeds from the event supports two vital non-profits — Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, which works in partnership with the California State Parks in the Russian River/Sonoma Coast region, as well as the Bodega Volunteer Fire Department.

Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 27, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 28. Admission is $15 in advance for adults, $20 at the gate. There are discounts for teens, seniors and military, and the festival is free for children less than 12 years of age. Watts Ranch is located at 16855 Bodega Highway in the village of Bodega. For additional information, go to


Press Release: For immediate release
AUGUST 27 & 28, 2016
Contact: Janet Ciel   707 824-8717


Since Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival is 22 years old this August we thought we would share the story behind the creation of the event, as it is a unique beginning to a unique festival.

Michael Ecton and Janet Ciel met in 1991 at the Union Street Art Festival in San Francisco. Michael was selling his photography and Janet was making and selling clothing. Both had been artists traveling all over the country doing shows for many years. Their relationship blossomed into love, and Janet began helping Michael produce an event on the Russian River; the Festival of Art & Wine in Duncans Mills. Michael had been producing the festival for 13 years prior to meeting her, and together they continued this charming arts festival for many years.

They were approached by a ranch owner in Bodega Bay in the fall of 1993 who asked if they would like to produce an event on his ranch. Prior to meeting him they had decided to rent their house out in Sebastopol and go down to Florida to sell at festivals there for 3 months. They contracted with the ranch owner to put on the festival that summer, and then packed their vehicles (one van towing the other) in the winter of 1994 and drove down to Key Largo where they had rented a house. They spent 3 months there and it was in Florida that the idea for a seafood festival was born. While there doing shows they saw several towns had seafood festivals and decided that since the Bodega Bay location was on the coast this made perfect sense, of course adding wine and beer in, given our Sonoma County locale. From Florida they juried the artists, booked the bands and made all the arrangements they could before returning home in April. The first Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival opened in August of 1994.

Their vision was to create an event which showcased the beauty and richness of the area by holding it in a stunning locale and offering excellent quality throughout. Despite it being on a dusty ranch, the festival has always had excellent food, an expansive wine and microbrew tasting, rockin’ entertainment, and a big focus for both of them: a high quality art and craft marketplace. They also wanted to be able to do a benefit for the environment and were excited to team up with Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods, the non-profit working in conjunction with the State Parks in the area.

The festival was successful its first year out, bringing rave reviews from the public and vendors alike. Michael and Janet ran it for 10 years at Chanslor Ranch, each year being a bit more successful than the previous one had been. But during this time their marriage suffered and they ended up getting a divorce. Both loved the festival and it was a primary focus in each of their lives: neither was willing to let the other one take it on by themselves. So despite the pain and challenges of divorce, they continued working together.

The environment proved quite challenging at Chanslor, with high winds, thick, cold fog and the dust and dirt of the horse ranch. After 10 years the opportunity came up to move to a very protected and beautiful ranch in the village of Bodega, 4 miles south and 1 mile inland from the previous site, and they took the chance and moved the festival to the location it is in today: Watts Ranch on Bodega Highway, across from the Bodega Church and the old Schoolhouse. They dropped the “Bay” from the name but kept all the essential components of the show.

Now 22 years old, the festival continues on a path of drawing the best quality food, wines and beers, entertainment and artisans. Although many wine and food events happen throughout the year in Sonoma County none can compare in the quality of all combined, and especially the artisans, many of whom are coming from the east coast or other parts of the country to sell their work here.

Michael and Janet continue to work together as exes, even as Janet has remarried and opened another business with her husband: Sebastopol Bike Center. Their relationship has overcome many obstacles and become a solid friendship, knowing that like raising a child together they will continue to work side by side to make this event the best it can be.

For more information go to

press release bodega seafood festival short lead 2016





Comments are closed