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Positively Petaluma by Wayne Dunbar - October 2015


Positively Petaluma by Wayne Dunbar - October 2015

Third Annual Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival By Contributor Ashley Collingwood

While Petaluma and Sonoma County have been known worldwide for wines and dairy products for many years, they are now building up a reputation for artisanal breweries as well.

The third annual Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival was held on September 12 along the Petaluma waterfront in historic downtown Petaluma to celebrate this growing culture. Patrons of the event strolled along Water Street, tasting various beers, ciders, and foods while viewing the river and listening to local bands Randy and the Special Agents and Sugar Moon.

 Throughout the event, 20 local breweries showed off their fine brews, as well as a few cider, mead, and kombucha producers. To accompany all the delicious drinks, local food companies and restaurants brought everything from mac and cheese to tacos to pizza. For a list of participating vendors go to their website

 Festival goers may have noticed the signs of autumn approaching in the slight winds and the chill in the air, but it certainly didn’t stop them from enjoy the festivities. Member of the Petaluma Valley Rotary Club and 2014 Citizen of the Year, Libby Fitzgerald noticed the general cheer of the event and said, “I’m having such a good time just watching everybody … It’s a mellow crowd, I love it. Everybody’s having such a good time. I think that’s my joy.”

The festival was put on by the Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Petaluma Valley and was run by volunteers, allowing all proceeds from to go back to the community, river projects, and local non-profits. The event’s sponsors were Basin Street Properties, Morris Distributing, Petaluma Market, Wilibees Wine and Spirits, and Petaluma Creamery.

For video and photos of this event go

A Message of Hope in Difficult Times – The National Heirloom Exposition Continues to Inspire 

By Positively Petaluma Contributor Christopher Fisher

Seedsman Jere Gettle and his Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company crew have pulled off another of their annual paeans to heirloom produce and the food movement, as the fifth National Heirloom Exposition took over the Sonoma County fairgrounds in Santa Rosa for three straight days beginning September 8. For three days the fairgrounds were transformed, taking on the look and leisurely pace of a rural country fair that belied its locale amid a city of 172,000.

A display of old farm vehicles and equipment lined the grass as I arrived at the fairgrounds, and suddenly fiddlers seemed to spontaneously proliferate on the music stage, popping up like a bunch of alfalfa sprouts reaching for the sun.

The Heirloom Expo’s more than a country fair though. It’s also a trade show for heirloom and specialty seed folk, growers and family farmers of all kinds, a livestock show for those who raise them, a three-day seminar for horticulturists and rally for sustainable food and agriculture advocates. Ted-x for the dirt-in-their-nails crowd. It’s all these and more.

Farmers, ranchers, gardeners, chefs, and foodies abounded. As is the case every year, they roamed the exhibit halls with deliberation, their frequent “oohs” and “ahhhs” of wonder drifting up to the rafters at the taste of an heirloom tomato or the sight of a massive tower of cucurbits or a 1,725 pound pumpkin. That was Mr. Westervelt’s grand prize winner in the Giant Pumpkin Contest.

The highlight of this year’s Heirloom Expo was undoubtedly the repeated focus of so many speakers, vendors and exhibitors on regenerative agricultural solutions. Organic Consumers’ Ronnie Cummins suggested we circumvent some folks’ resistance to the word “revolution” and call it “regeneration.”

9 Sonoma County Woman – 1 Canoe – 26 Miles By Wayne Dunbar, Editor

Nine Sonoma County women (some from Petaluma) will be traveled to Maui and competed in the Pailolo Challenge 26 mile Outrigger Canoe Race from Maui to Molokai on Saturday September 19th. They represented Lokahi Outrigger Canoe Club in Petaluma during our time in Maui.

These woman are joined forces to compete in one of the premiere outrigger canoe races in the world – The Pailolo Challenge.  These woman practice out of the Petaluma River to the San Francisco bay working out in the big waves to prepare for this grueling challenge.  This group is also going to take the opportunity to learn and experience the Hawaiian culture and stories of the islands.  When we know the final results we will report them in the near future.

Don’t Miss These Upcoming Petaluma Events in October. For more information go to the Petaluma Visitors Center Website

10/3:           Fandango at the Petaluma Adobe

10/3:           El Dia de los Muertos Artist Reception

10/3:           Annual Bill Soberanes Memorial Whiskerino

10/17:         Annual Cemetery Walk at Cypress Hill

10/31:         Downtown Trick or Treat Trail