Nov 25, 2019
by Gino Gaffney
Greetings and Happy Holidays to all who happen to be reading this! I hope that on the whole 2019 has been a good year for everyone and that we roll into 2020 safe, happy & strongly surrounded by community.
As I write this, Coleman Valley Rd. is closed for repairs to the slide just up the hill from town. As I understand it, the County finally gave up on waiting for funds from FEMA for the permanent fix and has moved forward on their own with a more temporary solution. Hopefully this will be stronger than the first time around and will at least get us safely through this winter and beyond. It will certainly be nice to go back to two lanes of traffic and lower the level of concern that the whole road will wash out in the winter storms that are on the way.
Thursday, December 5th is Dining Out For Life, the fundraiser for Food For Thought. Participating restaurants donate a portion of their proceeds from dinner service (a few from the full day) to help fund FFT’s programs. Representatives will be on hand to provide information on the organization and to sell raffle tickets with the chance of winning some awesome prizes. I see that Hazel and Fork are the two closest (and 2 of my overall favorites) participants, but the list is long and county-wide so check it out at www.fftfoodbank.org and go dine out for life.
On December 7th and 8th the Occidental Craft Faire returns for another fun filled weekend of wonderful crafts, sumptuous foods, splendid raffle prizes, local music and Santa sightings. Saturday the faire is open 10 - 5 and on Sunday 10 – 4. Please stop by and support your local vendors and the Occidental Community Council. I know there is a lot going on this time of year and that there are several other faires and festivals that weekend. However, none of them are as close to home and several charge money to attend. We also curate all of our vendors to make sure that they are local artisans selling handmade items.
That same weekend the Occidental Community Choir will be performing across the street from the Craft Faire at the Occidental Center for the Arts. Performances will be Friday & Saturday at 8pm, and a matinee on Sunday at 3. The following weekend there will be a final performance in Occidental on Saturday the 14th at 8pm and a matinee on Sunday at 3pm at the Glaser Center in Santa Rosa.
It sounds to me like you should come to Occidental on the weekend of the 7th and 8th and make a full day and night of it. On Saturday there will be a tie in of Craft Fair and Choir with a community caroling starting at the Community Center at the end of the Craft Faire and making its way up through town for a 2nd annual tree-lighting ceremony in front of the Bohemian Market. Stores will stay open late, there will be live music and Santa will be stopping by so come join in the festivities.
An intriguing item to look forward to for the new year will be the opening of the Altamont General Store, hopefully sometime early in January. They are just waiting for the permits to come through from the County. The Altamont will be an eclectic space with many reasons to draw you in and keep you coming back for more. There will be a cafe with food and beverage service (including beer & wine), and grab and go ready-made food items for lunch on the go or an easy last minute dinner option for home. The General Store will offer items for the kitchen and home, and packaged foods of the highest quality. They will be a showcase for local artists hosting several at a time and on a rotational basis. There will be room for hosting private events, community workshops and more. I hear there is likely to be an in house ceramics studio as well (more on that to come later). They are currently looking for artist and vendors and welcome you contacting Jenay or Andzia at email@example.com
Be well out there, don’t become too much of a hermit during the winter season. Come out to the events around town and engage with your neighbors. Enjoy the winding down of 2019 and look forward to the excitement of a new year. See you out and about my dear Occidentalians!
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