Answering Your Questions
What are the exact dates and times of the 2023 Festival?
The 6th Annual Sonoma Valley Authors Festival will be held Friday-Sunday, April 28-30, 2023. Start time on Friday, April 28, will be 11:30 am with a complementary lunch served on the front lawn of the hotel. Lectures will begin at 1:00 in the Pavilion, just a few steps from the front lawn, and continue until 5:00 pm. On Saturday, April 29, complimentary breakfast will be served on the lawn at 7:30 am. Lectures will commence at 9:00 am in the Pavilion and continue until 5:00 pm. Complimentary lunch will be served on the lawn at lunchtime. On Sunday, April 30, complimentary breakfast will be served on the lawn at 7:30 am. Lectures will commence at 9:00 am in the Pavilion and continue until 1:00 pm.
How will I know the schedule of speakers for the 6th Annual Sonoma Valley Authors Festival 2023?
Please see the Authors & Speakers for 2023 page of this site for updated information about our speaker line-up. We will continue to update this page and post new authors and speakers. As the date of the Festival gets closer, a speaker’s grid will be posted detailing which speakers are speaking at what time.
What precautions are you taking regarding COVID?
We take the health and safety of our attendees, authors, speakers, and staff very seriously, and all Sonoma County recommended guidelines in place during the Festival weekend will be followed. If required in April 2023, these might include proof of vaccination and/or negative COVID tests, mask-wearing, hand sanitizer dispensers, and any other protocols required by the state or Sonoma County.
Do you have a theme for each Festival?
We do not have specific themes for each Festival as there are so many new books, speakers, and issues that may not conform to preselected categories. Our goal is to bring authors and speakers from all different literary genres and technology, science and medicine to Sonoma. We do our best to have a mix of men and women, ethnic diversity, and perspectives. We look for speakers that not only enlighten our audience, but also make us feel happier, healthier, or more aware. We ask that speakers do not bring political points of view to their talks. Ideally, our audience will leave the weekend uplifted, feeling informed and transformed by what they have heard, and motivated to continue to read and learn.
How much is a Sponsorship? Can I use a Donor Advised Fund for payment?
Over half of each sponsorship is a tax-deductible donation; the balance is for goods and services. Please note that the donation portion of each pass purchase can come from a Donor Advised Fund as we are a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The goods and services portion of each sponsorship may not be paid from a Donor Advised Fund; it must be paid by check or credit card. Passes are non-refundable; in extenuating circumstances, a purchaser may want to give their pass to another person. Festival management should be contacted for prior approval and to facilitate the transfer.
How do I purchase a Sponsorship?
You may use this link become a sponsor and you will see a menu of options for the number of people for whom you want to purchase seats.
Will there be any non-sponsor level passes for purchase for the April 2023 Festival
A limited number of non-sponsor level passes will be sold for $1,250 on March 20, 2023 Check our website then. Non-sponsor passes are non-refundable; in extenuating circumstances, a purchaser may want to give their non-sponsor pass to another person. Festival management should be contacted for prior approval and to facilitate the transfer.
Can I attend Students Day?
No. Security guidelines do not allow non-students in the classrooms, auditoriums, or on the campus.
Are there any places I can hear any of the Authors for free?
Thanks to the generosity of Sonoma residents, Cathy and Chuck Williamson, who have underwritten Authors on the Plaza, anyone can attend it free of charge. Authors on the Plaza will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2023, in the beautiful town square. 350 chairs will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. Most attendees bring blankets or beach chairs so they can sit on the lawn. Many bring picnics. Speakers at Authors on the Sonoma Plaza for 2023 are Abraham Verghese, Ada Limon and Dave Barry.
What is the weather like in Sonoma Valley?
The Sonoma Valley in April has daily high temperatures around 71°F and daily low temperatures around 50°F, yet please check the long-range forecast and plan to bring clothing to layer.
What is the attire for the Sonoma Valley Authors Festival?
The Festival presentations and breakout sessions take place indoors; Friday evening’s Sponsor/Author Dinner takes place indoors. Rooms are temperature controlled, yet not necessarily uniformly.
Book signings are outdoors; Lunches on Friday and Saturday and breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday will be outdoors at tables under umbrellas on the lawn.
Day attire is “smart casual” and comfortable, with an extra layer just in case.
Though the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa has ample parking, how full it will get depends on how many additional events are taking place at the same time as our Festival. When space allows, guests may choose to self-park for free, or at a charge for valet parking. Valet parking may be included in some levels of sponsorship. If the onsite lots are full, guests will be directed to nearby overflow lots, then to remote lots. Vendors, volunteers, and guest overflow will park at a remote lot and be transported by shuttle to the site.
What if I have mobility issues?
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa can accommodate guests with mobility issues. Please note on your registration if you have mobility issues. A golf cart with a driver will be available on the property throughout the weekend.
Is there food available at the Festival?
During the Festival, Pass Holders will enjoy complimentary breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and beverages and the food is very high quality, prepared meticulously in the Sonoma Mission Inn kitchens.
Are there first aid services available at the venue?
The Sonoma Valley Authors’ Festival will have security personnel on site who are trained in first aid. Additionally, the Sonoma Urgent Care and Telehealth on W. Napa St. is two miles / a 7-minute drive from the Sonoma Mission Inn.
How late are wineries open for tasting?
Local wineries and tasting rooms are generally open between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:30 pm, yet many require advance reservations. If you’d like to visit a winery, you should call the venue first to confirm the details. If you are staying at the hotel, the concierge may be able to arrange tastings for you.
Are there any lodging properties that don’t require a two-night minimum?
Most Sonoma Valley properties require a two-night minimum on weekends and during our busy season (April – October). The Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau keeps a list of lodging that will consider a one-night stay. Please call 866-996-1090 for more information or go to Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau.
What are the driving distances to other destinations?
Distances to other destinations (drive time is approximate)
- Healdsburg – 45 mi – 1 hour
- Lake Tahoe (south) – 170 mi – 3.5 hours
- Napa – 16 mi – 30 minutes
- Monterey – 165 mi – 3.5 hours
- Oakland 50 mi – 1.5 hours
- Sacramento – 70 mi – 1.5 hours
- San Francisco – 60 mi – 1.5 hours
- Yosemite National Park – 200 mi – 4.5 hours
May I bring my dog?
For the comfort of all Festival guests, please do not bring your dog to Festival sessions or meals. For guests staying at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, the hotel does have a pet friendly policy, which we suggest be discussed with the hotel concierge. Consider boarding your dogs at Sonoma Dog Camp or Vintage Kennel Club.
Is smoking allowed at the Festival?
Please note that the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is a smoke-free property and smoking is prohibited throughout most of the property.
Can I talk to a human about questions I still have?
Yes! Call our office (707) 282-9028 and Ginny or David will answer the phone. We welcome any questions or comments you have. When we leave the office for any length of time, we forward the land line to a cell phone so we won’t miss any calls. You are not bothering us, and we love talking about the Festival!
Was it necessary to raise the price of sponsorships?
The cost to host Students Day for over 1,400 kids in our community, Authors on the Plaza for over 1,000 residents of Sonoma Valley, the live Festival for 400 attendees, and the Virtual Festival for an infinite number of participants is extensive. To reach break-even, we rely on sponsorships which include a donation. We offer very few non-sponsor passes for that reason.