Sonoma Sun Event Calendar

Blessing of the animals St. Francis Winery

Sunday October 2nd - 0

More than 200 pet owners and their animals – including dogs, cats, birds, and even a camel – are expected to gather at Francis Winery & Vineyards for its 11th Annual Blessing of the Animals.

The event honors the winery’s namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology, whose feast day is Oct. 4.

This annual event raises funds for the Humane Society of Sonoma County and is free and open to the public. All proceeds from wine-by-the-glass sales and a charity raffle will benefit the Humane Society. More than 200 local pet owners and their animals came in 2010.

Festivities include animal blessings by Father Patrick Leslie of Star of the Valley Church in Oakmont and the popular “Winery Dog of the Year” contest, judged by Director of Winemaking Tom Mackey and other winery staff.

Animal vendors and exhibitors will also be on hand. The Humane Society of Sonoma County will bring adoptable pets, and Lyon Ranch, an animal rescue and animal assisted therapy organization in Sonoma, will bring two of its exotic animals – a baby camel named Keesa and a rare South American Geoffroy’s Cat named Galindo, which resembles a small leopard.

Also participating in the fundraiser is Santa Rosa-based Chicago Style Hot Dogs, which will donate 10 percent of its proceeds to the Humane Society.

Blessings begin at 2 p.m., followed by the Winery Dog of the Year Contest. The contest is limited to the first 50 dogs who register the day of the event. For additional information, visit

The winery is located on Pythian Rd. at the corner of Sonoma Highway.