Entries tagged with “Tomales Founders Day”.


Tomales was founded in 1850, and almost a thousand people showed up Sunday for the town’s annual Founders’ Day celebration. It was a huge crowd for a town with only 200 or so year-round residents. Attracting all the visitors were both a parade and festivities in the town park.

This year the parade route was shortened to just one long block of the main street, Highway 1.  The reduction allowed the Highway Patrol to reroute traffic onto Dillon Beach Road, Carrie Street, and Second Street instead of having to temporarily stop all vehicles on the highway.

Bystanders clapped as the US Coast Guard honor guard from the Two Rock Training Center marched past in the early going of the parade.

The middle of a long line of motorcycles that rumbled up the main street.

The Redwood Empire Harley Owners Group, affectionately known as HOGS, provided the riders. HOGS is based in Rohnert Park, and among its activities is raising money for Meals on Wheels.

A flowery float.

Hands Full Farm of Valley Ford is run by the truck’s driver, Anna Erickson, a fifth generation rancher. The farm has now gone “big time into eggs and lots of chickens,” she says but adds that she still finds time to make “jams and homemade goodies.” _______________________________________________________________

At the microphone.

From the balcony over Diekmann’s General Store, Bert Crews and Lena Furlong, both of Tomales, were the parade announcers. _______________________________________________________________

The Stair Builders float, a motorized mini go-cart, was entered by George R. Magan, whose business designs, constructs, delivers, and installs handcrafted staircases. The business, which previously operated in Petaluma, has moved into Tomales’ Cerini Garage building.

The Hubbub Club from Graton, Sonoma County, provided upbeat music and some lively dancing.

School spirit.

Tomales High cheerleaders sang out as they marched up the main street.

Dan’s Auto Repair of Tomales again this year entered a clown car that fell apart during the procession and had to be reassembled before continuing.

The Sam Brannan Chapter of E Clampus Vitus is an annual entry in the parade.

The Clampers, a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of Western heritage, has memorialized events in Tomales history. This Napa-based chapter has also contributed greatly to Tomales Community Park’s remodeling project.

District 3 Dairy Princess Francesa (Frankie) Gambonini (right) and first alternate Jessi Peterson are this year’s goodwill ambassadors for the North Bay dairy industry. They are riding in a 2008 Corvette driven by Bill Maestretti of Maestretti and Son Firewood.

Marshall sculptor Jason McLean drove a truck carrying his elaborate creation called “Got Art?” A skateboarder caught a ride by holding onto the rear.

Riding another McLean entry, which has appeared in a number of parades, is Shannon Hobbs.

A doodle, llama, and goat procession.

A 13-year-old llama named Crunch was led by Jeff Etemad of Tunnel Hill Ranch in Tomales. In front of Jeff, his son Cam led a golden doodle named Lucky. They were accompanied by Aidan Black. Following close behind the llama were the Barlas Boer Goats — great for clearing brush — entered by Nancy Barlas of Petaluma.

Rancher Al Poncia of Tomales rides on a 1946 International truck driven by Gary Thornton of the Thornton Ranch. Al’s son Loren was the grand marshal of the parade.

A 1950 Farmall M.

The sexagenarian tractor, which was driven by Johnny Sanchez, pulled a trailer carrying seven Sanchez grandchildren, who ranged in age from 2 to 10. The Sanchez family ranch is located on Fallon Road northeast of town. ________________________________________________________________

A prophet (Beth Koelker of Tomales) carried a “visual alert” that “The End Is Near,” the end of the parade, that is.

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After the parade, most of the crowd repaired to Tomales Community Park where booths sold food, drinks, crafts, and more throughout the afternoon.

Seven women sold tamales to raise funds for the Reading Book Club of Tomales. The private group is comprised of people who enjoy reading books published in Spanish.

Standing at center (from left) are booster club board members Debbie Becera, John Azevedo, and Missy Calvi.

Tomales Booster Club sold t-shirts and sweatshirts to raise money for Tomales High sports. The group, which just put in a new scoreboard at the football field, also raises funds for scholarships and puts on sports banquets.

Festivities in Tomales are always grand fun, and the only serious problem I noticed Sunday was that the park’s two restrooms were about to run out of T.P. Unable to find any park personnel to restock the lavatories, I walked a block to the general store and bought a four-roll package. I then asked the first two people waiting in line for a door to open to each take a couple of rolls in with them. Both were more than pleased to do so.

“Well, I’ve done my good deed for today,” I told a friend from Marshall afterward. “So everything came out all right in the end,” the older man quipped.

Tomales held its annual Founders Day celebration Sunday with a parade up the main street, which is Highway 1 and which was closed to traffic for the duration. The parade, which keeps getting bigger each year, was followed by a picnic in the Tomales town park.

Firetrucks were a major part of the parade. Most were from the Marin County Fire Department although two were from as far away, so to speak, as Bloomfield in Sonoma County. In a booth at the picnic, Marin County firefighters encouraged Tomales-area residents to join the town’s volunteer fire department. The banner refers to the Marin County Household Disaster Preparedness website.

Steve Kinsey, the Marin County supervisor who represents West Marin, rode in a Lamborghini. He had been originally scheduled to ride on a tractor, but it broke down. Bruce Bramson of Tomales got on the phone for three hours and eventually found Kinsey the elite sportscar for his chariot.

Jeff Etamad of Tunnel Hill Ranch in Tomales led his llama in the parade.

Members of the Redwood Empire Harley Owners Group (HOGS) followed a convoy of firetrucks at the beginning of the parade. The group says that by raffling off a Harley Davidson motorcycle each year, it has raised nearly $1.8 million over the past 10 years for the Meals on Wheels program.

Parading in a truck festooned with sunflowers was the Valley Ford Young Farmers Association. Its president, Anna Erickson, described the association as “a group of us in our late twenties-early thirties. We are made of three farms, Hands Full Farm (being mine), True Grass Farms run by Guidio Frosini, and Swallow Valley Farms run by John Gorman. We grow beef, lamb, pork, chicken, eggs, some produce, cheese, preserves — farmy stuff like that.”

Standing on a balcony above the Continental Hotel, Dru Fallon O’Neill (left) and Bert Crews, both of Tomales, were the parade announcers this year as they have been in the past.

A 1931 Ford Model A roadster pickup owned by the Simoni family of Sebastopol, Sonoma County.

Another Norman Rockwell moment in West Marin: two youngsters and two goats were passengers in the bed of a beat-up, old, farm pickup truck with a KWMR community-radio bumper sticker.

The Tomales High cheerleaders stopped along the route to perform as they marched in the parade.

A shack on a trailer promoted Valley Ford bird houses.

Cameraman at work: Kenzmyth Productions is beginning to film a documentary on Loren Poncia of Tomales. Loren’s parents Al and Cathie Poncia for years operated a dairy ranch, which they eventually converted to a beef ranch, beside Stemple Creek. The ranch was established in 1902 by Al’s grandfather, who immigrated to Marin from Garzeno, Italy, in the 1890s. Loren is the fourth generation to operate the ranch.

Dan Norwood of Dan’s Automotive Repair in Tomales again this year entered a car that fell apart during the parade. Clowns jumped out of the vehicle and put it back together, so it could continue. The entry’s motto was: “If we can’t fix it, we won’t!”

A breakdown in literacy: The Marin County Mobile Library, which was helping bring up the rear of the parade, broke down for real along the route and — after some delays and jokes from the parade announcers — had to be towed most of the way.

The Hubbub Club Marching Band from the Graton-Sebastopol area of Sonoma County was a hit of the parade. At the end of the parade they gave a brief performance at Highway 1 and Dillon Beach Road and then moved on to the beer garden at the William Tell House for a full set.

The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus marches past the food and crafts booths set up for the picnic in Tomales Town Park. The Clampers, a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of Western heritage, has memorialized events in Tomales history.

Many picnickers in the park took advantage of a dining tent to escape the heat of the sun.

The band Wagon, whose members hail from Tomales, San Rafael, and Oakland put on a good show for picnickers in the park.

Tomales held its annual Founders Day parade and picnic Sunday. Steve Rosenthal, superintendent of the Shoreline School District and principal of Tomales High, was honored as parade marshal. Bert Crews and Dru Fallon O’Neill, both of Tomales, were the parade announcers.

Seen here passing a lineup of motorcycles at the main intersection in Tomales, a noisy caravan of fire engines led the parade, their sirens drowning out this cell-phone call.

Slide Ranch, which is located between Stinson Beach and Muir Beach, provided a contingent of two goats and a llama.

Indian Valley Carriage from Novato carried a jug band. At the very back sat Ingrid Noyes of Marshall playing an accordion and kazoo.

The Sanchez family in a 1950 McCormick Farmall. Three generations of the family took part in the parade.

Maryann Diaz-Romero, vice president of the board of the Tomales Regional History Center, wearing a pink blouse from its collection, with the Martinelli family and a wagon that promoted the historic dairying exhibit currently at the center.

Antique cars driven by the Traversi and Simoni families, with three generations from each family, were among the highlights of the parade. From front: Myrna and Al Traversi with their grandchildren Matthew and Jacob in a 1928 Model A Ford, Steve and Michelle Traversi in a 1913 Model T, Wayne and Kimberly Simoni in a 1912 Studebaker EMF, and Troy and Mary Ellen Simoni in a 1931 Ford Model A roadster pickup.

Among those riding in the line of antique cars were a family of five who showed up from Dubai. Troy and Mary Ellen Simoni have lived in the United Arab Emirates for the past year and were home on vacation with their children — Olivia, 12, Nathan, 10, and Sophia, “nearly 8.” The children rode with their grandparents, Wayne and Kimberly Simoni of Sebastopol.

The Tomales High cheerleaders drew heavy applause from bystanders.

Anna Erickson, a 5th generation member of a local ranching family, drove the Hands Full Farm float. The farm is in the Valley Ford area.

The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of Western heritage, has memorialized events in Tomales history. As the organization, which is known for pranks, paraded up Highway 1, a Clamper broke away from the group. To bystanders’ amazement, he grabbed a spectator, whose name is Debbie, and gave her a passionate kiss on the lips. When she laughed, so did everyone else. It turned out that the Clamper, Kevin Dixon of Vallejo, is married to Debbie. The kiss, he told me later, was a spur-of-the-moment idea.

An All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) driven by young people pulled the Tomales Elementary School PTA’s float.

Marissa Thornton of Tomales drove a float promoting the Tomales Farm and Flea Market, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 23.

Redwood Empire Harley Owners. The parade contingent said their 300-member group has collected $1 million for the California Council on Aging’s “meals on wheels” program.

Dan Norwood of Dan’s Auto Repair in Tomales drove a wobbly car that kept coming apart only to be reassembled by clown mechanics.

DT Motor Sports of Bodega Bay with Miss Bodega Red, Tia Minto, 11.

The crowd picnicking in Tomales Park enjoyed a variety of fare, as well as beer and wine. Crafts and used books were also on sale. Madam Zublatsky (Roberta Vinck, a marriage and family therapist in Tomales) read palms, with all proceeds going to the park.

The Greg Rocha Band provided entertainment for the picnic. From left: Chick Petersen on guitar, Greg Rocha on drums, Lyn Carpenter-Engelkes on vocals, and Steve Christoffersen on guitar

The Tomales Elementary School PTA raised funds with face painting.