Some of the finest artisan cheesemakers in the state will be gathering in Petaluma in March for the Seventh Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival.

The event, scheduled for March 22-24, is bringing together more than 50 California artisan cheesemakers, restaurants, breweries and wineries for a celebration of all things cheese. And although the very popular farm tours on Friday are sold out, tickets are still available for Friday’s inaugural Meet the Cheesemaker event, along with many of the seminars throughout the day on Saturday, the Grand Tasting on Saturday night and Brunch and Marketplace on Sunday.

Some of the participating cheesemakers include Bellwether Farms in Petaluma, Bleating Heart Cheese in Sebastopol, Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station and Laura Chenel’s Chevre in Sonoma.

All the events are priced separately so attendees can pick and choose which might interest them the most. Many are being held at the Festival’s host hotel, the Sheraton Sonoma County in Petaluma.

This is the seventh year for the event and festival organizers said they hope to increase cheese appreciation, all while educating consumers about artisan cheeses. The festival began in 2007 as the first-ever weekend-long celebration and exploration of handcrafted cheeses, along with food, wine and beer from local producers and beyond.

10 percent of all ticket sales are donated to several local agencies, including the Sonoma Land Trust, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Petaluma Future Farmers of America, California Artisan Cheese Guild and Redwood Empire Food Bank.

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