Sunol Cowboy Hootenanny (2015)


***This is the 2015 festival information, posted for archival purposes.

For the current year's event, go to the home page at, and then to Special Events or Features.***

Celebrate Sunol Regonal Wilderness’ pioneer and ranching heritage at our annual Hootenanny Festival, a free public event on Saturday, October 24 from 3pm to 7pm.

This year our fun will center on old-timey music. Caller Andy Wilson and his band will lead square-dancing from the start of the festival on into the evening. At 4:30, Banjo-ologist Gordy Ohliger will give a rousing musical presentation and demonstration on the history of the banjo.

Try your hand at squeezing your own fresh lemonade, making a cornhusk doll, and learning the fascinating history of barbed wire in the West. How was rope made? You can make your own rope with the help of an ingenious contraption! How about designing your own fashionable “brandana?” Try your hand at tug-o-war, sack races, stilts, stick and hoop, and other traditional pastimes. These settler games will be played throughout the event, with prizes awarded on the main stage. Barbecue will be available for purchase.

Before it became a public park, the Geary family settled on the land that is now Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness and farmed and ranched here for nearly 100 years. Patrick and Mary Ann Geary were married in the Mission area of Fremont, in the shadow of Mission Peak. In 1865, the couple moved to the Sunol valley– traveling by foot, with their belongings in a cart. The Gearys farmed - and raised their 11 children - at their cabin on Indian Joe Creek.

Geary descendants continued to ranch at Sunol for decades, even after Willis Brinker bought their land and other area homesteads to form the JB Ranch. Brinker, a wealthy industrialist and builder of the original Bay Bridge, died while fighting a fire on the ranch. The land was sold to the Park District, which opened it to the public in 1962.

Join in the festivities on October 24, featuring live music, square dancing, crafts and games. Learn about local pioneer and ranching history, while dancing the night away! Fun for the whole family!

Sunol Regional Wilderness
1895 Geary Road
Sunol, CA 94586

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Fees: free event 
Parking: $5 cash parking fee

Food: BBQ will be available for purchase (cash recommended).

Public Information

1 (888) 327-2757 or visit

Day of event: call the Green Barn Visitor Center at (510) 544-3249.

Event is on rain or shine!

Isa Polt-Jones
(510) 544-2207