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Petaluma hosts the largest Veterans Day Parade in Northern California, starting at 1 p.m. at Walnut Park on Monday, November 11. Photo: https://www.sonomacounty.com
Petaluma hosts the largest Veterans Day Parade in Northern California, starting at 1 p.m. at Walnut Park on Monday, November 11. Photo: https://www.sonomacounty.com

Largest Veterans Day Parade
in Northern California

Thanksgiving Meal Options
Santa & Mrs. Claus Arrive by Riverboat 
Festival of Trees

Oct 30, 2019
by Houston Porter

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Petaluma hosts the largest Veterans Day Paradein Northern California,  starting at 1 p.m. at Walnut Park  on Monday, November 11, with an after parade program back  the park at roughly 2:45 p.m., which I always find to be a good transition from October’s pumpkin patches, corn mazes and El Dia de los Muertos festivities and into the Thanksgiving and December holiday season. 

Preferred Sonoma Caterers  and Wilibees Wine & Spirits  can do no wrong  when it comes to booze-paired dinners, especially when held under the stain glass dome of the historic Petaluma Library. Just in time to warm your insides for Thanksgiving, thePetaluma Historic Library and Museum holds their 2019 Scotch Pairing Dinner on Thursday, November 21, with tickets being a bargain at $75 for the general public and $60 for members. (With memberships being as little as $20 (seniors, educators and students), $35 (individuals) and $70 (family), this is as good a time as any to join and support the Museum. And if you are looking for a great holiday gift, the $125 “Supporter” level gives you all the basic benefits, like discounts to events such as the Scotch Pairing Dinner, but also, “NARM Benefits - you will receive 2 cards for free or discounted admission to more than 600 museums in the U.S. Some of the top Bay Area participating museums are: Asian Art Museum, Walt Disney Family Museum, de Young Museum, Legion of Honor, CA Historical Society Museum, Charles M. Schulz Museum, Sonoma County Museum.”

You can see a full list of recommendations in my  Petaluma Argus-Courier  article of where you can order your holiday birdor pre-made holiday dinners and which restaurants are opened on Thanksgiving Day, but here is a small appetizer. As far as birds go, Thistle Meats seems to be a local favorite and has the expertise to help advice you on how to cook it. Angelo’s Meats also makes a killer smoked turkey, which is my preferred method of prepping a turkey. Other options are obviously your local grocer, with my preference being  Petaluma Market . And no holiday meal preparation would be complete without a visit to  Sonoma Spice Queen, where they have all the great spices you’ll need to create your feast but also have loads of recipes and advice. And don’t forget the Dungeness crab, which is a Thanksgiving tradition here in Petaluma. We never know if the season will be open in time or not, but fresh local crab always makes for a nice treat at the Thanksgiving table. 

As far as pre-cooked meals, unfortunately, BellyfullDinners  is no longer delivering. This is sad news for the whole year, but especially for the holidays where they really shined. (Anyone interested in purchasing the business, you can find their contact info on their website. We patronized them regularly.) Thankfully,   Petaluma’s stalwarts such aSarah’s Eats & Sweets,   Preferred Sonoma Caterers  and  Petaluma Market   arestill offering to-go pre-made dinners for Thanksgiving.   We have enjoyed all three over the years and so can personally recommend each. And don’t forget to order your holiday pies from Petaluma Pie Company. Check their website for order and pick-up deadlines as well as a schedule of free pie tasting Saturdays coming up throughout the holiday season. For those closer to Penngrove,   Penngrove Market  also has plans in the works. 

For those looking to avoid the cooking and dishes all together, but still want to enjoy time with the family, surrounded by great food, there are actually quite a few great options in Petaluma. It may seem anticlimactic to dine out on such a family holiday, but Petaluma’s restaurants, for the most part, have quite a family vibe to them to begin with so we have actually found them to be a great break from cooking for holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. 

Central MarketCentral Market  usually has a special menu on Thanksgiving and Tolay (at the Sheraton Hotel) is well known for their holiday meals. Other local favorites are theWashoe HouseDinucchi’s (Valley Ford), and Hilltop 1892,  which is in Novato, but we Petalumans always consider Novato to be Baja Petaluma so I’m including them. 

One of our favorites has been  Everest Indian,  which might not sound very Thanksgiving, but is actually quite warm and inviting and the food is as much a comfort food to us as turkey and mash potatoes. 

Another interesting choice would be Fantasy Restaurant. I have been hearing great things about their food recently and with a large Asian menu, including Hong Kong style BBQ, this could be a fun experience for the family. Reservations are strongly recommend at all of these. 

And as an appropriate handing off of the torch from Thanksgiving to the Christmas holiday season, Santa and Mrs. Claus   will arrive by riverboat on Saturday, November 30   at noon at the River Plaza Shopping Center and later that evening, starting at 5:30 p.m., Theater Square will hold their annual tree lighting ceremony. 

Festival of Trees is a wonderful holiday tradition in Petaluma presented by the non profit group, the Fabulous Women of Sonoma County. Photo: facebook.com/FOTPetaluma16

Also not to be missed is the  Festival of Trees,  put on by the Fabulous Women and hosted at theHotel Petaluma on December 6 & 7.  This is a true festival, with music, food, raffles and good cheer, along with falling snow for the kids in the courtyard. I even saw some of the characters from Frozen at last year’s event. More importantly, the Fabulous Women want to let everyone know that deadlines for Grant Applications is November 11. The organization raises funds for local charities and distributes those through the grant process.  Here is the important info: “Organizations applying for grant money must be registered with the State of California as a certified nonprofit. Please email the answer to these three questions: 1) What is the mission of your group? 2) How do you serve our community? 3) How would a grant from us help you with a project that you are currently working on or advance your mission in the community? Please submit your info to:   Thefabulouswomen@gmail.com

 

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