Entries tagged with “Aztec Dancers”.


Point Reyes Station’s 66th Western Weekend this past Saturday and Sunday continued a colorful tradition that began in 1949 when a women’s group, Companions of the Forest: Circle 1018, held a festival, fashion show, and cake walk in their hall. (The Foresters’ Hall on Mesa Road still survives under private ownership. It’s immediately north of the Old Creamery Building.)

The following year, members of the local Lions Club, many of whom were married to Circle 1018 members, added a parade and a livestock show for 4-H and Future Farmers of America members. The event was called a “junior” livestock show because all those showing animals were 4-H and FFA members.

When I came to town in 1975 and my newspaper called the event Western Weekend, as many people by then did, more than a few oldtimers told me the proper name was the West Marin Junior Livestock Show. “Western Weekend,” they grumbled, was the name of the livestock show in Novato.

Western Weekend queen Graciela Avalos in Sunday’s parade.

Nigel, left, and his cousin Annabelle make contact during the West Marin 4-H Fair on Saturday at Toby’s Feed Barn. Sisters Olivia and Phoebe Blantz of Nicasio brought them as they have in past years, so they are all regulars.

 

Eva Taylor, 6, holds an eight-week old Champagne D’Argent rabbit. The breed was brought to the U.S. from France in the early 1900s. They are known to have been bred since the 17th century, according to Dorothy Drady of Nicasio, who oversaw their care at the fair.

Megan Binford, 14, of Tri-Valley 4-H, shows a four-month old Broken Black Mini-Rex doe named Ribbons, or, as a local rancher quipped, “a Holstein rabbit.”

A float in memory of Dorothy Rocca, who died this past year. She was the longtime owner of the Palace Market. The entry took first place in adult floats.

The exciting music and dance of Ballet Folklorico of Petaluma Paquiyollotzin wowed the crowds all along the parade route.

KWMR Community Radio and The Point Reyes Light marched together in a media section of the parade. The entry took 2nd place among adult floats.

Lynn Axelrod was among the MainStreet Moms calling for people to drink tap water rather than bottled water, which clutters the environment with plastic bottles. Mom Kathryn Callaway created the signs for her sisters.

The Coastal Health Alliance on the march.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is dedicated to eradicating childhood cancer. The organization is named after a child who sold lemonade to raise funds for other kids, leading to a global effort that totaled more than $1 million. Ezequiel  (Ez) Powell and the Porrata-Powell family will hold their own lemonade fundraiser Sunday, June 14, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Town Commons.

Two young ladies took turns singing to the crowd as the Dance Palace Kids Musical Theater proceeded down the main street.

Towtruck driver Tim Bunce (right), who entered a 1953 Farmall Tractor in the parade, photo-bombs Sheriff’s Lt. Doug Pittman’s picture. Bunce took first in the Farm Vehicle division and first in the best-vehicle division.

More of the vibrant Mexican dancing in stunning costumes.

The littlest ones waved and snoozed from their float in the mid-day sun.

The Aztec Dancers took the first-place award for best street show.

Richard Kirschman and Doris Ober promoted the West Marin Fund, which encourages people to spend West Marin currency in West Marin.

Point Reyes-Olema 4-H Club took first place in the kids’ street show awards.

Mexican food was offered and mariachi dancing after the parade continued until about 8 p.m. in the West Marin Commons on the north end of the main street.

A woman draped in the colors of the Mexican flag dances at the Town Commons.

I’m still a bit gimpy as a result of a fall I took three weeks ago (and wrote about here), so my partner Lynn was good enough to fill in, shooting most of the photos for this posting and writing about half the text.

Tomales celebrated its Founders’ Day Sunday with a block-long parade on the main street (Highway 1) followed by a picnic in the town park. The theme of this year’s celebration was Taste of Tomales. Although the number of parade participants was smaller this year than last, the party that followed packed the park.

Parade announcer Dru Fallon O’Neill (at right) welcomes a miniature train complete with adults, kids, and even a dog. The entry drew attention to the West Marin Review. Each year Point Reyes Books plus neighbors and friends — Madeleine Corson (holding the leash), Steve Costa, Doris Ober — publish the Review, a collection of writing and art. The first issue appeared in 2008. In 2010, the Review received a design award from the New York Book Show.

Lynn Axelrod contributed most of the photos used in this posting, including the one above.

This year’s parade marshal, Javier Choperena, is a longtime rancher, whose fine beef is a cross of Angus and Charolais. A Basque immigrant, his name was spelled Txoperena in the old country. “In Spain he was a welder, carpenter and artist,” Dru, the parade announcer, told me, and “he has secretly built replicas of the buildings in the village of Tomales… Not many know this about him.”

On the other hand, one “well-known fact” about Javier, Dru added, is that “he’s a huge supporter of the Athletic Club of Bilbao soccer team from Spain.” Two years ago, the club, which recruits players who learn their skills in Basque Country, had one of the best records in Europe.

John Sanchez at the wheel of his 1950 Farmall tractor pulled a trailer carrying his family in the parade.

A small but enthusiastic contingent of Tomales High cheerleaders took part in Sunday’s parade.

Moe and Monica Boudens from Mass Wiggle used a 1950 San Francisco firetruck to promote vermi compost, tea, and worms.

The ever-popular Ehecatl Aztec Dance Group from Santa Rosa danced to the beat of two drums.

Tomales Presbyterian Church used the parade to publicize its upcoming sesquicentennial anniversary.

Again this year, Jeff Etamad of Tunnel Hill Ranch in Tomales led his llama named Crunch in the parade while his son Cam brought up the rear holding the leash of a Golden Doodle named Lucky.

Wayne and Kim Simoni of Sebastopol entered a 1910 Packard in the parade. Wayne said there are only four of these cars left in the world. Kim noted the car had previously belonged to a man in Pennsylvania and that they had spent years convincing him to sell it to them. They finally got the car two years ago, she said.

Tomales Girl Scouts Troop 10988 showed up in force for the parade.

Shannon Hobbs and Jason McLean of Marshall rode in an octogenarian pickup truck with a stuffed bobcat on its hood.

The sign on Leslie Swallow’s car door said, “Remembering Our Cats.” It wasn’t exactly “Midnight, not a sound from the pavement,” but even without Andrew Lloyd Webber, the parade entry honoring two late cats “let the memory live again.”

A 1949 Ford truck in Sunday’s parade publicized Tomales Farm and Flea Market, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, at John and First streets in Tomales.

To this little girl’s delight, the Hubbub Club Marching Band from the Graton-Sebastopol area of Sonoma County kept on playing for the Founders’ Day crowd after the parade ended.

Tomales Town Park filled up with celebrators after the noontime parade. All manner of food, drinks, produce, and crafts were for sale under a couple of dozen canopies.

Little Organic Farm, which is located on the Tomales-Petaluma Road between town and the Coast Guard Training Center, offered an abundance of heirloom potatoes, along with other vegetables.

“Take our picture,” called out a table full of picnickers. “We’re all Italian.”

Among the crafts for sale were birdhouses, an owl box, and a bat house.

Tomales Volunteer Firefighters, as they do each year, had their own booth for recruiting new volunteers.

When the celebration was over, parade announcer Dru Fallon O’Neill praised the “great variety and show of community pride represented by entries in the parade and at the park.”

Dru (at left) also took note of the “glorious weather” and her “gratitude for the volunteers, especially the traffic-detail/crowd-control crew led by Eddie Byrd with help from townsfolk, Coast Guard volunteers, and local FFA.

“Set-up/cleanup under the auspices of David Judd [was] aided by Walter and Margaret Graham. We could not operate such an event without all of the behind the scenes talent.

“Chalk up another successful event, smoothly paving the way for a grander, seamless celebration next year.”

Saturday was the 65th anniversary of the start of Western Weekend. It began in 1949 with a women’s group, Companions of the Forest Circle 1018, holding a festival, fashion show, and cake walk in their hall on Mesa Road in Point Reyes Station.

The following year, members of the Lions Club, many of whom were married to Circle 1018 members, added a parade and a livestock show for 4-H and Future Farmers of America members. For more than three decades, Western Weekend’s proper name was the West Marin Junior Livestock Show.

Sunday was the parade’s 62nd anniversary. The 1982 and 1983 parades were called off after thousands upon thousands of spectators — a number of them unruly bikers — began showing up for parades. The 4-H Fair, however, continued uninterrupted.

A color guard from the Coast Guard followed by the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse led Sunday’s Western Weekend parade down Point Reyes Station’s main street.

With lights flashing and sirens wailing, a procession of county and volunteer fire department vehicles was near the head of the parade as always.

Western Weekend Queen Summer Cassel will be a senior at Tomales High this fall. She lives in Inverness.

Western Weekend Princess Alyssia Martinez will be a sophomore at Tomales High this fall. She too lives in Inverness.

Grand Marshal of the parade Angelo Sacheli, who retired after 36 years as program manager in West Marin for county Health and Human Services, rode with his wife, Cathy Hall.

The Nave Patrola, as it does every year, spoofed the Italian Army in World War I. The group won 1st place in the Adult Drill Division.

In the early 1970s, an official from the Italian Consulate in San Francisco complained to parade organizers, the West Marin Lions Club, that the patrol disparaged Italians, what with its seemingly confused marchers colliding with each other and going off in all directions. Defenders of the patrol replied that many of the members are of Italian descent.

Inverness Garden Club won 3rd place in the Adult Street Show division. Among the activities of the club, which this year is celebrating its 80th birthday, is maintaining flower beds in public places. The group also provides scholarships for college students from West Marin.

Parade announcer Robert Cardwell (right) with other parade judges sat in the sun at a table on a flatbed truck parked next to Toby’s Feed Barn.

The Point Reyes Light float won 3rd place in the Adult Float division. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod)

Riding on the float once it got rolling were: editor Tess Elliott (middle); reporter Samantha Kimmey (standing at right); board member Jacoba Charles; reporter Christian Peak (at desk); guitarist Ramon Cadiz; a West Marin School student named Hiroki (who lives with his aunts Laurie Monserrat and Tor Taylor in Point Reyes Station); columnist Víctor Reyes (standing); Ingrid Noyes (driving her truck); photographer/office manager David Briggs (in cab) with his and Tess’ son Elliott on his lap; business manager Diana Cameron; ad sales representative Harry Korss; former ad department staffer Lynn Axelrod; and this retired publisher.

We riders threw rolled up newspapers to onlookers, as well as wrapped candy to the kids.

A wearing of the news: Three of The Light’s distaff staff wore dresses adorned with newspapers. From left: Jacoba Charles, a member of the paper’s board of directors; Tess Elliott, editor; and Samantha Kimmey, reporter.

KWMR FM community radio in West Marin won 2nd place in the Adult Float division.

Tending the Wells Fargo stage in front of the bank were branch officers Edith Rojas and Jeff Schrotl.

Point Reyes-Olema 4-H Club members rode on a truck provided by Clover-Stornetta Dairy. The group won 2nd place in the Kids’ Float division.

Onlookers crowded both sides of the three-block-long parade route down the main street.

Halleck Creek Riding Club for handicapped young people, which meets in Nicasio, won 2nd place in the Kids’ Horse division.

The Aztec Dancers are known as much for their colorful headresses as for their dancing to the beat of a drum. The group took 1st place in the Adult Music division.

The Marin County Free Library’s float thanked West Marin residents for helping pass Measure A on Tuesday’s ballot. The measure renews for nine years the parcel tax that provides funding for the library system, and it carried with 77.7 percent of the vote. The entry won 1st place in the Adult Vehicle division.

Mainstreet Moms, a get-out-the-vote group which began here in 2004, is now countrywide. The West Marin group meets in Point Reyes Station. It examines political issues and is fighting fracking. In the foreground are Mary Morgan (left) and Kathy Callaway. The group won 1st place in the Adult Street Show division and won the overall Best Street Show. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod)

Papermill Creek Children’s Corner preschool in Point Reyes Station was formed in 1972. The float won 1st place in the Kids’ Drill division and won for Best Drill overall. _________________________________________________________________

In Saturday’s 4-H Fair, Camilla Taylor of Point Reyes-Olema 4-H exhibited a six-month-old Holstein calf named Kay Kay. Camilla, who lives on Bivalve Ranch, said she showed the calf to get it comfortable with the crowds and noise it will encounter in larger livestock shows this summer. ____________________________________________________________________

Olivia Blantz of Nicasio with two Pygmy goats, Nigel (left) and Annabelle. The latter belongs to Olivia’s sister Phoebe.

Olivia, who is a member of Point Reyes-Olema 4-H Club, said the two goats are cousins and were born the same day in February 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s spelled Rabbits. From left on far side of table: Point Reyes-Olema 4-H Club member Ellierose Jackson from Nicasio exhibited a nine-week-old Angora rabbit named Joey; Tri-Valley 4-H Club member Nicole Casartelli showed a Castor mini-rabbit; and San Rafael 4-H Club member Erin Rose Charlton showed a three-year-old Lionhead named Finnegan.

One of the 4-H leaders laughingly told me that a year ago a kid accidentally left out the “T” in an “American Rabbits” sign, making it appear that some “American Rabbis” were entered in that day’s competition. _____________________________________________________________________

In the judging of 4-H projects Saturday, Ruby Clarke won a gold ribbon and Best in Show for a dress. Ashley Winkelmann won a blue ribbon for a romper made for infants, as did Camilla, Olivia and Phoebe for the rompers they each sewed.

The Blantz girls also took ribbons for: photography (Phoebe) and lettuce (Olivia).

Ashley also won a gold ribbon for a knitted hat and a gold for her cake decoration. Ruby took another Best in Show for her tale, “How the Cat Got its Tail.” Her mom, Rhonda Kutter, called it “a tale of a tail.” ________________________________________________________________

Toby’s Feed Barn hosted a barn dance, as well as the queen coronation, Saturday evening. Providing the music was the band Ingrid Noyes and Friends. _____________________________________________________________________

Meanwhile at the entrance to the Feed Barn (Photo by Lynn Axelrod)

As a benefit for the Aztec Dancers, women on Saturday evening sold Mexican dinners and beverages. I enjoyed a delicious pork tamale and a glass of horchata, with which I was unfamiliar. I’m still not sure what all was in it, only that it was white and tasted of cinnamon and vanilla. All in all, a first-rate discovery.

The 63rd annual Western Weekend, which celebrates West Marin’s agricultural heritage, drew one of its largest crowds in a decade last weekend.  On Saturday, the West Marin 4-H Fair, the Western Weekend queen’s coronation, and a barn dance were all held at Toby’s Feed Barn.

Sunday’s events began with a noontime parade down the three-block-long main street of Point Reyes Station. Despite the short route, the parade lasted more than an hour because street performances frequently stopped the procession. In addition, a few entries upon reaching the end of the route took a side street back to the starting point and made a second pass through town, thereby lengthening the parade.

Following the parade, the Marin County Farm Bureau held a chicken barbecue in Toby’s parking lot while a band played, people danced, and 4-H members sold pastries.

4-H Fair — Olivia Blantz of Point Reyes-Olema 4-H (left) and Emily Charlton of San Rafael 4-H cradle their poultry prior to the judging in Toby’s Feed Barn. Olivia’s hen won Best in Show.

Emily’s sister Erin Rose Charlton won the Showmanship award in the Junior category for her hen.

Goats — Olivia Tyrnauer’s goat Cinnamon (right) won first place in  Senior Showmanship. Olivia is a member of Mill Valley 4-H.

A Pigmy goat named Sylvester, which is owned by Megan Sintef of Nicasio 4-H, won a first place award in Junior Showmanship.

Altogether five goats were entered for judging in the 4-H Fair.

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Rabbits — Amelia Paulsey, 6, from San Rafael 4-H with her bunny Butterfly is questioned by her mother Kari Paulsey, who happened to be one of the judges.

For the first time in memory, no large animals such as cows and horses were entered in the 4-H Fair. As Allison Keaney, Marin County 4-H program representative, explained: “The fair in general has been running the risk of just not happening. With the alterations of the school schedules over the years, the first weekend in June [became] hard for folks.

“Our fair only had 36 members enter, representing only 25 families. That is actually up from last year. We only had two large-animal entries in 2010 and 2011 and therefore scratched the competition.

“Also, the demographic of our county enrollment has changed. The average age of our members has dropped a lot. We have lots of little members, which is exciting for the future, but members can’t do a large-animal project until they are nine years old.”

Western Weekend Queen Brenda Rico of Point Reyes Station riding in Sunday’s parade.

Parade Grand Marshal Michael Mery of Point Reyes Station.

Marin County Sheriff Bob Doyle (right) rides on a buckboard in Sunday’s parade.

Last hurrah — Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) takes a last ride in a Western Weekend parade as a congresswoman before she retires from the US House of Representatives.

Incumbent Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey of Forest Knolls (center) does some last-minute campaigning during the Western Weekend parade in advance of this week’s election.

Congressional candidate Norman Solomon (D-Inverness Park) and his wife Cheryl Higgins led a large contingent of supporters in the Western Weekend parade.

The Aztec Dancers of Santa Rosa, traditional Western Weekend parade favorites, stopped periodically during the procession to dance to the beat of a drum. The dancers took third place in Adult Street Shows. They also won the parade’s Grand Prize.

KWMR community radio, 90.5 FM in Point Reyes Station and 89.9 FM in Bolinas, was represented by numerous marchers and an elaborate float. The entry won 2nd place among Adult Drill Teams.

Youngsters took advantage of the main street’s curb in order to have front-row seating for the parade — as well as to grab candies thrown from floats.

Adult spectators took whatever seating they could find, which for Gary Martin (left) and Bill Barrett was a spot on the front of the judges’ stand.

The Nave Patrola annually spoofs the World War I Italian Army, with the patrol’s soldiers marching chaotically and sometimes pausing to anachronistically shout, “Il Duce!” The group won the Best Adult Drill Team award, as well as the overall Best Drill Team award.

In the early 1970s, an official from the Italian Consulate in San Francisco complained to parade organizers, the West Marin Lions Club, that the patrol disparaged Italians, what with its seemingly confused marchers colliding with each other and going off in all directions. Defenders of the patrol replied that many of the members are of Italian descent.

The seventh and eighth grade rock band from West Marin School were highlights of the parade. Here the eighth grade performs some rock’n roll classics. The West Marin Kids Who Rock band won first place in Kids’ Music plus the overall Best Music award.

Papermill Creek Children’s Corner preschool in Point Reyes Station took 1st place among Kids’ Drill Teams.

The Wedding Party with Carol Rossi and pugs won first in Adult Animals. Possibly influencing the judges’ decision was their being given the top layer of the wedding cake.

Blazing Saddle — Jason McLean of Point Reyes Station (left) sits astride one of two metal deer he built, with his deer shooting fire out its rear end. McLean’s entry took 1st place among Adult Vehicles.

West Marin Community Services — which sponsors among other things the Food Pantry, the Thrift Store in Point Reyes Station, and the Tomales Bay Waterdogs swimming classes for youths — took 1st place among Kids’ Floats.

A 1920s buggy driven by Ethan McNamara took 1st among Kids’ Horses and won the Best Horse award.

West Marin Pharmacy joined the parade for the first time this year and won 1st place in Adult Music.

Halleck Creek Ranch in Nicasio, which operates a riding club for disabled children, took 1st in Kids’ Animals and the Best Animal award.

West Marin’s own tap dancers, the Fab-U-Taps, provided a street performance called Women of the World for Peace. The group took 1st place among Adult Street Shows, as well as the overall Best Street Show award.

Following Sunday’s parade, the West Marin Lions Club held a chicken barbecue in the parking lot of Toby’s Feed Barn. Members of Point Reyes-Olema 4-H sold pastries, and the Doc Kraft Dance Band inspired people to get up and dance.