The court and the commoners — Sebastopol’s Renaissance Faire was a fundraiser for the Sebastopol Union School District (SUSD), raising funds for enrichment programs, field trips and supplies for students at Park Side Elementary (K-4) and Brook Haven (5-8). Quaint streets lead to many opportunities for interacting with the local Elizabethan townspeople, siegung a castle with a catapult and bean bag, challenging a friendly foe to a round at Twilzewop or Tug-A-War, and even tossing a rogue ring at a spire. Photos by Krista Sherer
Featuring flowers — A group of flower farmers and florists convened with the public at Front Porch Farm on Sunday Sept. 20 to teach and demonstrate local flowers and offer workshops on boquets, seed saving and more. The group is a collective of flower farmers and floral designers in the North Bay who aim to lean on each other for support and resources to build a flower growers alliance. From left, counter clockwise, Zadie Maness with her face painted, the landscape of Front Porch Farm in Healdsburg, Heather Frye of Venn Floral and Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Farm giving a bouquet demo and Zoe Hitchner of Front Porch Farm. Photos by Tony Landucci
Colorful crowds and happy dancers enjoying Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble band. Photo by Krista Sherer
PLAZA TUNES — Guerneville’s Plaza is full of music, farmer stands and enthusiastic crowds every other Thursday again this summer for the Rockin’ on the River perfromance series spsonsored by Russian River Rotary and local businesses. The next concert is Aug.13, featuring The Beatles tribute band The Sun Kings. - Rollie Atkinson
EDIBLE RAINBOWS — It is full season nowadays at the Sebastopol Farmers’ Market, held every Sunday in the Town Plaza. Blooming flowers, orchard fruit, all kinds of vegetables and some choices of other local farm products are now in season. Market activities also include children’s activities, live music and crafts for sale. This Sunday, Aug. 2, there will be a special tribute to the heirloom Gravenstein apple in advance of next weekend’s Sonoma County Farm Trails’ Gravenstein Apple Fair at Ragle Ranch Regional Park. Photos Krista Sherer
IN MEMORIAM — The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3919, Sebastopol hosted its 69th memorial observance at Sebastopol Memorial Lawn cemetery on Monday, May 25. Pictured left: WWII veteran Fred Bollinger, who will turn 99 years old in October, dances to the music of the Sebastopol Community Band. Bollinger served as a T4 (Technician/radio operator) sergeant in the 3rd Army. - Tony Landucci
ON THE STUMP — The 69th Annual Stumptown Daze Parade & BBQ — Summer of Love, 69 — took place on Saturday, May 16 bringing hundreds of people to downtown Guerneville to celebrate spring and enjoy barbecue provided by the Russian River Volunteer Firefighters Association. — Photos by David Abbott
Apple Blossom weekend WHOA — The Apple Blossom Parade marked the debut of the Sebastopol Slow Down Cat, designed and created by local artist Patrick Amiot., who felt the cat could enhance traffic safety while building goodwill between the community and the police department, according to Police Chief Jeff Weaver. Residents who want the Slow Down Cat to be placed in their neighborhoods should e-mail Weaver at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the police department at 829-4400. David Abbott
CENTENARIAN BOAT — The fishing vessel Acme celebrated 100 years on the waters of the North Coast as the lead boat in the Blessing of the Fleet parade as part of the Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival on Sunday, April 12. The boat, skippered by Frank Blagg, a Vietnam veteran, was built in 1915 by Anderson & Cristofani in San Francisco and has plied coastal waters all the way to Washington. According to local lore, Blagg’s sister was the first female party boat captain to sail out of Bodega Bay.
Photos by David Abbott
FOOLS ON PARADE — The small hamlet of Occidental once again solidified its West County bonafides with the 10th Annual Fool’s Day Parade on Saturday, April 4. Hundreds of people descended on the town and mingled with “Official Fools” — actual parade participants — led by the Hubbub Club, a Graton based, community marching band. - David Abbott
IN THE HUNT — For the second year, the Forestville Fire Protection District hosted the annual Easter egg hunt at the Forestville Academy on Saturday, March 28. Dozens of children and their parents showed up to gather real and plastic eggs and to meet the Easter Bunny. — Photos by David Abbott
JOINING IN — Local bluegrass fans joined in the many impromptu jam sessions last Saturday (March 14) at the 15th Annual Sonoma County Bluegrass and Folk Festival. Several hundred music lovers attended the event for a day of performances and workshops. This year’s lineup featured Bay Area banjo player Bill Evans, the Kathy Kallick Band and newcomers Steep Ravine, among others. --David Abbott
BINGO WITH A HEART — San Diego resident Carolyn Harper gets spanked by one of the Sisters for using her phone during the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence bingo night at the Guerneville Vet’s Hall on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2015. Harper said she was checking in for her flight back home and was therefore willing to take the spanking to complete the action. The event was a fundraiser for Face to Face, a nonprofit dedicated to ending HIV in Sonoma County. Sara Gobets
The Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce hosted its 40th annual Community Awards last Thursday, Feb. 12 at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts to an audience of more than 200 people. There was an abundance of appetizers, desserts by the local students of the Culinary Boot Camp, a silent auction of wonderful donations and some very special awards for the evening. A very humble Buffie Harris of Design Orbit accepted the Citizen of the Year Award. “She has made many contributions to the community over the years since she arrived in Sebastopol, and especially served as a community bridge builder between the many divergent groups in our town,” Chamber Executive Director Teresa Ramondo said. Harris received one of the first newly designed golden apple awards designed after the apple/world brand that the chamber adopted several years ago. The apple was created by local artist Scott Hensey of Anaglyph Sculpture, Inc. in downtown Sebastopol. The Business of the Year, Rialto Cinemas, also received the apple. In addition to the many annual awards there was also a surprise award this year called the “Behind the Scenes” award given to Darrell Ramondo, Doug Buonaccorsi, Russ Ono, Alex Douglas, John Pittman and Patrick Innes. These truly dedicated guys were awarded special certificates for all the many things they have done over the years to make things happen behind the scenes, keeping things running smoothly, with no public recognition, until now. “It was a special night in Sebastopol as it always is, recognizing people and organizations that do so much good throughout the year, expecting nothing in return,” Ramondo said. “The chamber thanks everyone for the contributions they may have made to the success of the event.” — Photos by David Abbott.
JAMMING IN THE SUNLIGHT — Kevin Russell brought the third annual Guitar Festival to the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center last weekend, filling the Community Center with guitar aficionados and the air with the sweet sounds of guitar music. The event featured performances, guitar workshops and plenty of jamming. Pictured (l-r): Sara Winge, Nina Feldman, Mike Hourigan and Lily Hourigan gather in one of the designated “jamming” areas outside the Community Center to harmonize on Saturday, Jan. 31. For more photos, go to www.sonomawest.com. -- Sara Gobets
RING IN THE NEW — Hundreds gathered at the Sebastopol Community Center to watch bands like "It's a Beautiful Day" perform and ring in the New Year last week and to say goodbye to 2014. By Sara Gobets.
SANTA AND HIS HELPERS — Community meals on Christmas Day in Guerneville and Sebastopol fed nearly 1,000 people collectively. Santa Claus, aka Richard Stahl, handed out presents at the community feed, hosted by the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, at the Guerneville Veterans Memorial Hall. Volunteers at the Sebastopol Community Church served nearly 500 guests at the annual Rotary of Sebastopol Sunrise feed. photos by David Abbott
There were plenty of holiday celebrations throughout the West County, from caroling in Sebastopol to Chanukah in Monte Rio and Christmas cookies in Occidental. From left: Mr. Music, aka Jim Corbett, and his merry band of carolers tour The Barlow on Monday, Dec. 22 bringing songs of holiday joy to the community; Members of the Russian River Jewish Community recite a blessing over the newly lit menorah candles on the fourth night of Chanukah at the Monte Rio Community Center on Friday, Dec. 19, and Lily Spangler, 9, carefully selects her cookie at the Union Hotel carolling and cookies event on Monday Dec. 22. Photos by Sara Gobets and Arlene Houghton
HELPING FAMILIES IN NEED — A large contingency of student volunteers from Analy, Brookhaven and Twin Hill schools teamed up with the Sebastopol Rotary Club, local realtors and Sebastopol and Gold Ridge fire departments to deliver Christmas to several local families in need. The group (picured) spent two hours wrapping presents for the Interact Holiday Adopt a Family event at the Sebastopol Fire Department on Saturday, Dec. 13. The food and gifts were then deliverd with the help of Santa and the local fire departments. By Sara Gobets
Dungeness crab wait on the dock for pick up after being unloaded from the "Donna Mia" on Saturday, Nov. 15- the opening day for commercial crabbing. The catch was bound for Spud Point Crab Co. By Sara Gobets
The Sebastopol Community Cultural Center hosted a fundraiser for United Africa Club founder Okili Nguebari on Nov. 7. Nguebari was seized in front of his Santa Rosa home by six Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents five years and transported to a remote, privately owned, immigration detention facility in Arizona where he was held for three months. The community — including Senator Mike Thompson — rallied to help, and now he is trying to raise funds to go back to Africa for the first time in 30 years. UAC, a non-profit 501c3 organization, promotes the unification of African countries and aims to showcase Africa’s positive contributions in the world.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS — Robin Rogers came as the Mad Hatter and Eric Stagerberg as the White Rabbit for the Open Our Hospital Zombie Ball at the Sebastopol Community Center on Friday, Oct. 31. The fundraiser featured music by Gator Nation and the Rhythm Rangers as well as a costume contest for the best zombie, best doctor, best nurse, best patient and best creature. By Sara Gobets
Celebrating the Giants' third win in five years at the Giants World Series Parade on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. Photos by Sara Gobets.
BRAINS — Participants of the Annual Copperfield’s Bookstore Zombie Walk, Dannie Del Secco (left), Jake Espinoza (center), and Dorothy Fast (right) prove zombies can be law abiding citizens too, using the crosswalk during their invasion of downtown Sebastopol on Saturday, Oct. 25. Photos by Sara Gobets.
PANCAKES FOR A GOOD CAUSE — Pictures of the 22nd annual pancake breakfast held at Sebastopol Fire Department on Sunday, Oct. 12. Hundreds of hungry people turned out for the 22nd annual Sebastopol Fire Department Pancake Breakfast, raising thousands of dollars for the community in one sunny Sunday morning. Besides the free, all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, families came out to unleash their children on the bouncy house, a favorite every year, and let them climb around inside the trucks during supervised tours. The Community Emergency Response table gave out free fireman theme swag for the kids while educated their parents on what it takes to be prepared in their neighborhoods. "It's the only fundraiser we do and we have a lot of fun with it," said Fire Chief Bill Braga. In addition to selling Sebastopol Fire Department T-shirts, the department also raffled off several items, including the top prize- a dinner for eight at the fire station, followed by a ride on the fire truck through town. Money raised at the event will be put right back into the community in the form of four $1,000 scholarships awarded to graduating Analy High students, as well as providing funding for public fire prevention education, youth sports leagues and equipment purchased to improve service to the community, like defibrillators and extraction tools. Photos by Sara Gobets.
The Sebastopol Community Cultural Center hosted the sixth North Bay Bellydance Bazaar last weekend, drawing hundreds of bellydance aficionados to Sebastopol. Founder Deborah Bennette said the concept for the event started as a flea market for belly dancers, but it organically evolved into the weekend of dance workshops, Middle Eastern food and talented performances that it is today. Dancers from all over the Bay Area have flocked to the event over the past six years — one year even attracting a dance troupe from Japan. Vendors traveled from as far as Washington to peddle jewelry, richly colored scarves, decorative scimitar swords and other belly dancing accoutrements to approximately 500 people that circulated throughout the Community Center over the weekend. Photos by Sara Gobets.
BLUES WITH A FEELING — Serbian-born Ana Popovic made her second appearance on Sunday at the Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival, shredding for a sellout crowd on Johnson’s Beach. Other high points of Sunday’s show devoted to the blues were Gary Clark Jr.; Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue; Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings; Davina and the Vagabonds and Mitch Woods. Photos by Steven Pedersen.
HEAR YE HEAR YE — The fifth Much Ado About Sebastopol took place at Ives Park last weekend, turning the downtown park into the 16th century shire of Fenford. The event has raised more than $125,000 for Sebastopol schools through the auspices of the Sebastopol Educational Foundation. The funds go for enrichment programs at Park Side, Brook Haven and Analy High School for a variety of programs, including band/music, Spanish language instruction, drama, cheer/dance, sober graduation, educational field trips and more. For more information, go to www.muchadoaboutsebastopol.com. For more photos, go to www.sonomawest.com. — Photos by Monica Garrison and David Abbott
CONNECTIVITY THROUGH PAINT — Volunteers painted murals on McKinley Avenue (looking east) on Sept. 13 and 14 during the 10-day Village Building Convergence, a community-building project that featured several volunteer-led public art projects as well as music, classes and forums. The festival will conclude with a parade at the Barlow from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21 and a Closing Equinox Ritual at the Sebastopol Grange that evening. For more information, go to sebastopolvbc.weebly.com. Photos by Marty Roberts.
BRINGING THE BAYOU TO IVES PARK — There was plenty of food, music, dancing and beverages last weekend at the 19th Annual Cajun Zydeco Festival, hosted by the Rotary Club of Sebastopol Sunrise. — Photos by David Abbott
FAMILY FUN AT IVES — The Peaceroots Alliance held its Family Summer Festival Fundraiser at Ives Park last weekend, bringing about 300 people to Ives Park for music by The Best Witches — a local women's choir — Sylvia Tepper and Phil Lawerence, The Farm Band and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission with Bobbie Bonnickson, Jethro Jeremiah and the Soulmates. Other activities included kite and bracelet making, puppet shows, story time, hula hooping, dancing, vegan food, beer and wine, a silent auction, quilt raffle, booths on radiation detectors and presentations by Dan Sythe from Medcom, Michael O’Gorman of the Farmer Veteran Coalition and Peter Schweitzer of Plenty, an international relief organization. Proceeds from the event will go to projects such as local radiation testing. Peaceroots, a 501(c)3 non-profit, started in Petaluma after the 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center. The non-profit is currently helping Fukushima Response gather data about radiation from the disaster at the nuclear plant in Japan and its effect on the California coastline. For more information, go to peaceroots.org. — Photos by Anita Whipple and David Abbott
ICONIC — The 41st Gravenstein Apple Fair filled its traditional place in Ragle Ranch Regional Park last weekend, bringing thousands of people to Sebastopol for two days of apple-themed entertainment, music, food and fun. Photos by David Abbott
By David Abbott - BIG TIME — The Bodega Volunteer Fire Department held its annual Big Event fundraiser last week, which kicked off with the “Shortest Parade in Sonoma County. The event brings hundreds of people to the small community in the West County and is BVFD’s biggest fundraising event.
Photos by Monica Garrison. COOKIN’ — The 58th Occidental Firefighters Association BBQ Dinner took place last weekend under the redwoods at the Union Hotel Grove, just north of Occidental. The event featured plenty of food, fun, music and entertainment for the kids. All proceeds benefit the Occidental Volunteer Firefighters Association. For more information, cal 874-3800.
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