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2018 Wild Willits Festival

October 19, 2018 @ 3:00 pm - October 20, 2018 @ 5:00 pm


The event kicks off in the morning of October 20 from Recreation Grove in Willits. The course winds through the glorious Little Lake Valley. Runners and walkers will be in touch with the land with every step they take and can expect Mother Nature to show off her brilliant fall colors and smells. Along the route, markers will point out various points of interests and unique activities.

See local farms and ranches. Meet a farmer. Take part in a Pomo dance. Experience the flora and fauna of the Little Lake Valley. Return to a festival of local food, art, and wellness.

Post-run, the Rec Grove will be alive with live music, delicious local food, artist booths, activities for kids, booths featuring body workers, masseuses, herbalists, nutritionists, and performance experts to help runners and non-runners achieve optimal body wellness.

Get in touch with the land by running or walking, smelling, and feeling it. Nourish yourself with food and herbs grown from it. And connect with local wellness experts to get in sync with your own body.

And yes, although this is not another booze fest, there will be a beer garden featuring Mendocino County breweries and wineries as another way for guests to enjoy the bounty of the season.

  • Taste of Harvest: this is a local food competition that will include 8 chefs, caterers and local farms who will cook up 150 small bites of food, that food will be judged by attendees and voted on for ‘best of’. This is the only paid portion of the Festival and the $25 ticket will get the attendee a wristband for the entry that includes a complimentary glass of local wine or beer and samples of the small bites as well as access to a VIP area of seating with a great view of the stage and festival. It will be held under the pavilion and beautifully decorated. The competition will run from 1-4 PM and we are looking at awards ideas including maybe seeing if Word of Mouth could do a feature on the winner. A PR release was sent out last week and we are still booking the chefs over the coming weeks. 
  • Harvest Dinners: After the Wild Willits Fest two different farms will be hosting Farm to Table dinners off-site from Rec Grove. It will be $75 if you do the Taste of Harvest AND a Harvest Dinner – the deal of a lifetime! Green Uprising will be hosting theirs at their farm as well as the School of Adaptive Agriculture will be hosting theirs at the Grange. More details to come and tickets will be on sale at WildWillitsFest.com or the day of the Festival. 
  • 5k/10k/half-marathon: The race will begin at 10:00 am with Joey D DJing and run out into the valley. We have posted the run on several race sites and are beginning to get registrants every day, although it’s still fairly low (very common for road races of this size). In addition to registering for the race, we are also offering packages for purchase that will bundle race registration with entry to Taste of Harvest and Harvest Dinners with a discount. 
  • Kids Zone: In the area next to the playground we are looking to set up lots of kids activities. We are in the early stages of finalizing details on this, but we’re reaching out to a face painter (this will be a vendor who will charge at the booth, not a free service) and the boy scouts. I would love to hear from other members of the board ideas for this area. 
  • Music: In addition to Joey D DJ’ing at the run as well as between bands, we will have 3 different bands playing beginning at 11:00 – 5:00 PM. The bands are Debbie Genue (spelling?), Dennis Crisp and the Eclectic Coyote’s, and Fat Chance Band will close us out. Harry Kaufman is helping us with the sound equipment. We also thought it would be fun to have Zumba in-between one band to get people up and moving! We’ll also have a band playing from 3-7 PM on Friday night at the Art Center for race packet pick-up. 
  • Fitness area: We are setting up an area by the Lions Club building where local fitness trainers (yoga, CrossFit, Zumba) will host short classes on the top of every hour for free for attendees. 
  • Vendors: We will be organizing vendors in a perimeter around the band-shell and interspersing different types of vendors from brewery’s to artists to the high school to wellness to demonstrate the diversity of involvement. Once we have the full layout completed we will share with you. 
  • Ticket sales: The octagon-shaped building that is usually used for cooking with the Lions Club will be an area where we will be selling drink tickets as well as pouring the donated beer and wine. I hope by next Friday I can share with you the total amount of beer and wine donations that have been made and by whom. We expect this to be a great revenue stream for us.

Friday, October 19th

3:00 pm: Set-up (Packet pick-up, music, snacks, vendors)

4:00 – 7:00 PM: Packet Pickup + Art Center Event

Saturday, October 20th

8:00 – 10:00 am: Vendor set-up + Volunteer huddle + aid station prep

9:00 – 11:30 am: DJ playing jams

8:45 – 9:45 am: Packet pick-up + same day registration

10:00 am: half marathon start

10:30 am: 5k/10k start

10:30 – 5:00 pm: Festival in Rec Grove Park

  • Live bands at the bandshell: Noon – 5:00 PM
  • Food competition: Noon – 3:00 PM
  • Taste of… Awards: 4:00 PM


Lodging Recommendations:

  1. Baechtel Creek Inn (707) 459 – 9063
    • 10% Off – Please mention code: Runners2018
    • Discount Available via Phone only
    • Runners Breakfast & 2 Bottles of water per room
  2. The Old West Inn (707) 459 – 4201
    • 10% Off – Please mention code: Runners2018
    • Discount Available via Phone only
    • 2 Bottles of water per room


Press Release


October 19, 2018 @ 3:00 pm
October 20, 2018 @ 5:00 pm


Hayley S


Recreation Grove
Willits, CA 95490 United States
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