Entries tagged with “Western Weekend”.


Western Weekend, West Marin’s annual salute to its agricultural heritage, was held Saturday and Sunday in Point Reyes Station with a parade and 4-H animal competition.

Pete Tomasetti and his wife riding a 1941 Farmall Tractor followed by a 1938 Allis Chalmers tractor driven by Ben Wright together took first place in the parade’s Farm Vehicle category. _____________________________________________________________

The Point Reyes-Olema 4-H Club’s animal show in Toby’s Feed Barn Saturday. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod)

Hugo Stedwell Hill of Inverness holds an American blue rabbit, which is a heritage breed.

Dorothy Drady of Nicasio, who was watching over the exhibit, gave this account of the rabbit’s evolution:

The American blue was originally bred in Pasadena in 1917 and became the most popular breed in the country because of demand for its fur and meat.

By the 1970s and 80s, the breed was almost extinct. In the 1990s, the American Livestock Breed Conservancy placed the American blue rabbit on its “endangered” list. Nonetheless, there are now fewer than 500 worldwide.

The animal show was smaller than in previous years because some 4-H members who usually take part will instead compete in the Tri-Valley 4-H Fair Sunday, June 9, from 9 a.m. to noon. It will be held at the Pomi Ranch on the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road near Union School.

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4-H Club members taking part in the animal show included, front row from left: Ashley Winkelmann, Nicole Casartelli, Ellie Rose Jackson, Phoebe Blantz, Rachel Stevenson, Eva Taylor, Katie Stevenson. Onstage from left: Ruby Clarke, Willow Wallof, Brinlee Stevens, Nina von Raesfeld, Point Reyes-Olema 4-H Club president Audrey von Raesfeld (with clipboard), Olivia Blantz,  Camille Taylor, Caroline von Raesfeld, Marlowe Ural, Gabriel Ural, Stran Stevens, and Max Muncy. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod) _____________________________________________________________

4-H member Olivia Blantz won a top poultry award for her Mille Fleurs type hen of the Belgian d’Uccle Bantam breed.

Mille Fleurs, which is French for 1,000 flowers, refers to the many white spots of feathers.

(Photo by Lynn Axelrod)

 

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Point Reyes Station’s main street was lined with almost 2,000 parade watchers by starting time at noon Sunday. For the hundreds of children on hand, it was a grand party. _____________________________________________________________

Elise Haley Clark sang the National Anthem acapella just before the parade began. Despite her youth, she sang with poise and drew warm applause from the crowd. _____________________________________________________________

The Marin County Sheriff’s Posse had one of three color guards in the parade, along with the Coast Guard and the National Park Service. ____________________________________________________________

A procession of county and Inverness fire engines followed the color guards at the start of Sunday’s parade. _____________________________________________________________

Western Weekend Queen Sara Tanner, 16, a sophomore at Tomales High, earned her crown by selling the most Western Weekend raffle tickets. ____________________________________________________________

Western Weekend Princess Camille Loring of Marshall, is a senior at Tomales High. She was the runnerup in ticket sales. _____________________________________________________________

The entry from “Return to the Forbidden Planet, Shakespeare’s Forgotten Rock ‘N Roll Musical,” took first place in the parade’s Adult Music category. Singer Phillip Percy Williams (standing with microphone) wowed the crowd with his cover of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap’s song “Young Girl.” The musical is scheduled from June 20 to 30 in Tamalpais High’s Caldwell Theater. _____________________________________________________________

The Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Western Weekend Parade was Jim Patterson, who is retired after having been principal at different times of West Marin School and Tomales High. ____________________________________________________________

Papermill Creek Children’s Corner marched and rode down the parade route to publicize the preschool’s upcoming summer camp. ___________________________________________________________

Main Street Moms, who each year have a political entry in the parade, this year called on California Governor Jerry Brown to join the fight against fracking. Fracking, which uses water under pressure to force petroleum and natural gas from underground rock formations, has been blamed for polluting groundwater. _____________________________________________________________

The Nave Patrola, which spoofs the Italian army in World War I, as always was a hit of the Western Weekend Parade. This year the bumbling marchers took second place in the Adult Drill category. _____________________________________________________________

Drakes Bay Oyster Farm, which is fighting a court battle to renew its permit to operate in the Point Reyes National Seashore, entered a large float that carried company workers followed by a band. As the National Academy of Sciences and others have shown, the Park Service has repeatedly faked scientific data in trying to make a case for evicting the more than 80-year-old company.

A man at center in the foreground holds up “Want a Sign?” — inviting parade watchers to join the entry and carry a “Save Our Drakes Bay Oyster Farm” sign. _____________________________________________________________

(Photo by Lynn Axelrod)

Having supported the oyster company’s cause for several years, I decided I ought to carry a sign.

All went well as we marched semi-rhythmically down the main street to the beat of the band. When we reached the finish of the parade, however, I personally had a bit of excitement.

I was handing my sign to someone sitting on the lowboy behind Lunny’s stopped truck when the truck slowly started up and one of the trailer’s wheels rolled onto the outside edge of my right shoe.

Lowboys are designed to carry heavy equipment, so the weight was substantial. For a couple of moments, I couldn’t move my shoe, but although the wheel was pinching my foot, I didn’t feel any great pain. As it turned out, I had somehow managed to squeeze my toes to the other side of my shoe.

The truck continued to slowly roll forward and soon freed my foot. Nancy Lunny, wife of oyster farm operator Kevin Lunny, saw what had happened and hurried over. “Are you all right?” she asked anxiously. In fact, I was exhilarated from having survived the close call unscathed and told her with a laugh, “I’m perfectly okay.”  ____________________________________________________________

A the conclusion of the parade, the Marin County Farm Bureau put on a well-attended barbecue outside of Toby’s Feed Barn. The Doc Kraft Band (under the blue canopy at right) performed country rock ‘n roll music.

Later that afternoon while thinking back to the parade, it occurred to me that my experience with the trailer wheel  just might be a metaphor for the oyster company’s fight for survival. The Lunnys may be getting squeezed, but they’re not going to be crushed.

 

 

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.

Western Weekend got off to a wet start Saturday, which contributed to the large-animal livestock show being canceled. Because only three cows were entered this year, people didn’t have much incentive to show up in the rain for the judging, one of the organizers told me.

In the 1970s and 80s, 4-H members would show dozens of cows and horses outside Point Reyes Station’s Red Barn, which has now been painted green. Back then, the building (which had been the engine house for the narrow-gauge railroad) was owned by the West Marin Lions Club and the center of many community events. No more.

Talking to rancher Sharon Doughty, I lamented how few cows and horses have been entered in the 4-H Fair in recent years. “Well, look what’s happened to the ranching community,” was her response. It’s true. The number of ranches in West Marin has dropped drastically as a result of economics, residential development, and the continuing expansion of federal parkland.

Nowadays rabbits and chickens are the main animals shown at the 4-H Fair.

Nor is the coronation ball as large as it was when it was held in the cavernous Red Barn. Back then it was a boisterous affair, with a bar and dancing plus illicit gambling. The crowds were huge, and there were often fights in the parking lot.

Nowadays, the coronation “ball” is a smaller, less rowdy barn dance in Toby’s Feed Barn. This year a bluegrass band and caller kept the crowd on its feet with square and line dances.

After being crowned queen of Western Weekend, Alyssa Tanner, 17, led off the second half of the evening, dancing to the Queen’s Waltz.

The winner is chosen based on how many Western Weekend raffle tickets she sells.

Alyssa sold $7,391 worth of tickets, the most in the 62-year history of Western Weekend.

Runnerup Jessica Arndt sold $4,870, which is well above average.

She will be the Princess of Western Weekend and have her own car to ride in during Sunday’s parade down the main street of Point Reyes Station.

The parade will begin at noon, and those planning to attend are hoping that the rain which has been predicted holds off.

In the history of Western Weekend, it has never rained on the parade. Some years it rained right up to starting time but then quit. In other years, winds have been so strong they blew floats apart.

Jessica’s sister Ashley was last year’s Western Weekend queen. Here Ashley is at the far left, with Jessica standing next to her.

In recent years, the judging of small animals, as well as 4-H crafts projects, has been held at the Dance Palace.

Erin Rose Charlton, 12, of Lucas Valley with her rabbit Sir Blue, which the 4-H Fair judges named Best in Show.

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Brinlee Stevens, 5, of Point Reyes Station won a blue ribbon in the Sewing Division for her red-and-white apron at right. In addition, she won a gold ribbon for her pin cushion.

Phoebe Blantz of Nicasio, who won a second-place ribbon in poultry competition, entered a white Old English rooster named Chief and a brown Old English game hen named Princess.